Don Rico

Donato Francisco Rico II (September 26, 1912 – March 27, 1985)[2][3] was an American paperback novelist, screenwriter, wood engraver and comic book writer-artist, who co-created the Marvel Comics characters Jann of the Jungle with artist Arthur Peddy, Leopard Girl with artist Al Hartley, and Lorna the Jungle Girl with an artist generally considered to be Werner Roth. His pen names include Dan Rico, Donella St. Michaels, Donna Richards, Joseph Milton, and N. Korok.

Don Rico
Don Rico circa 1942
Don Rico circa 1942
BornDonato Francisco Rico II
September 26, 1912[1]
Rochester, New York
DiedMarch 27, 1985 (aged 72)
Los Angeles
Area(s)Writer, Penciller
Pseudonym(s)Dan Rico
Donella St. Michaels
Donna Richards
Joseph Milton
N. Korok
Notable works
Jann of the Jungle
Lorna the Jungle Queen
Daredevil (1940s)


Early life and career

Don Rico was born in Rochester, New York, the eldest of nine children. His parents were emigrants from Italy: Father Alessandro was a shoe designer from Celano, Abruzzi, and mother Josephine was from the Basilicata region. At age 12, Rico received a scholarship to study drawing at the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester. The following year, his family moved to The Bronx, New York City.[4]

At 16, under artist H. J. Glintenkamp, Rico learned to make wood engravings. Prints of his engravings of Depression-era life for the W.P.A. Federal Art Project in the mid-to-late 1930s, under the supervision of Lynd Ward would eventually become part of the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, and elsewhere.[4]

He began his comics career in 1939, during the period fans and historians call the Golden Age of Comic Books, beginning at Victor A. Fox's Fox Publications. There he penciled and inked the six-page "Flick Falcon" feature in Fantastic Comics #1 (Dec. 1939). He continued on that feature through issue #8 (July 1940 ), by which time the hero's name and the feature's title had been changed to "Flip Falcon". He drew the features "Blast Bennett" and "Sorceress of Zoom" for Fox's Weird Comics, and did stories for Fiction House's Planet Comics and Fight Comics.[5] Beginning with Silver Streak Comics #11 (June 1941), he worked on some of the earliest stories of Lev Gleason Publications' 1940s superhero Daredevil[5] (unrelated to Marvel Comics' Daredevil), helping lay the foundation for a character that would go on to a celebrated run in his own title under Charles Biro.

Leopard Girl, created by Rico and artist Al Hartley, for Atlas Comics, the 1950s forerunner of Marvel Comics. Cover detail, Jungle Action #2 (Dec. 1954), art by Joe Maneely.

His first story for Timely Comics, a forerunner of Marvel Comics, was an eight-page backup feature starring a hero called the Secret Stamp in Captain America Comics #13 (April 1942); another, uncredited adventure of the Secret Stamp was published in U.S.A. Comics #7 (Feb. 1943). Other early work for the company included a story of the superhero the Terror and co-creating, with an unknown writer, the obscure Jekyll-and-Hyde-like feature "Gary Gaunt", both in Mystic Comics #9 (May 1942). After inking Al Avison on a Captain America story in All Winners Comics #5 (Summer 1942), Rico soon became one of the regular pencilers for that cornerstone hero of the publisher's, starting with the 16-page "The Mikado's Super Shell" in Captain America Comics #18 (Sept. 1942). By the following year, Rico was variously writing/drawing stories featuring such characters as the Human Torch, the Whizzer, the Destroyer, the Blonde Phantom, Venus, and the Young Allies.[5]

Timely artist Allen Bellman recalled in 2005, "Don and some of the other artists didn't bother with [artist] Syd Shores, who was the unofficial bullpen director. Rico was the ringleader of this 'ignore Shores' group. He was always causing small problems in the office and publisher [Martin] Goodman knew this, and hence the name 'Rat Rico' he referred to Don with."[6] Artist Gil Kane recalled that, "Timely was my second job after MLJ. ... Stan [Lee] was the editor at 19 years old but all the day-to-day managing of the work was done by Don Rico, who also did most of the hiring and firing."[7]

Other credits during the 1940s include Fawcett Publications' America's Greatest Comics and Bulletman; MLJ's Black Hood Comics and the dual-hero Shield-Wizard Comics; Lev Gleason's Captain Battle and Captain Battle Junior; Quality Comics' National Comics, and Smash Comics; and Et-Es-Go Magazines' Terrific Comics. From 1946 to 1948, he worked primarily for Novelty Press, on that publisher's Blue Bolt Comics and Target Comics.[5]


In 1949, Rico began working again for Timely Comics as a writer-editor as the company was transitioning to become Marvel's 1950s predecessor, Atlas Comics. Around this time, he became one of at least five staff writers (officially titled editors) there under editor-in-chief Stan Lee, along with Hank Chapman, Ernie Hart, Paul S. Newman, Carl Wessler, and, doing teen-humor comics, future Mad cartoonist Al Jaffee. Among the Atlas titles for which Rico wrote are the horror comics series Adventures into Terror, Astonishing, Marvel Tales, Suspense and Strange Tales. He co-created Jann of the Jungle with artist Jay Scott Pike in Jungle Tales #1 (Sept. 1954), and co-created Leopard Girl with artist Al Hartley in Jungle Action #1 (Oct. 1954), and wrote virtually every story and feature in those two titles. Marvel Comics reprinted several of his jungle stories in the 1970s. Rico briefly returned to comic art as an illustrator on the Atlas series Bible Tales for Young Folk.[8] His last published story for Atlas was the four-page anthological Western tale "The Bushwhacker", with artist Angelo Torres, in Rawhide Kid #16 (Sept. 1957).[5]

In 1958, Rico moved to Los Angeles, where he began writing for film and television.[4]

Splash page, Tales of Suspense #53 (Jan. 1964), scripted by Rico as "N. Korok"


In California, Rico began writing paperback novels, eventually penning more than 60 for a variety of publishers including Lancer Books and Paperback Library. His pseudonyms included Donna Richards, Joseph Milton, and Donella St. Michaels.

Rico wrote only thrice for Marvel during the Silver Age of Comics in the 1960s, with a Doctor Strange story in Strange Tales #129 (Feb. 1965), and scripting two Iron Man plots by Stan Lee in Tales of Suspense #52–53 (April–May 1964), the former introducing the Black Widow.[5] On both, he used the pseudonym N. Korok, later explaining he hadn't wanted his paperback-book publisher to know he was taking on lower-paying comic-book work.[9]

Later career

Rico co-wrote, with Don Henderson, the story basis for the bisexual-vampiress horror movie Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary (U.S.-Mexico, 1975), by director Juan Lopez Moctezuma and scripter Malcolm Marmorstein. He also drew movie and television production illustrations, including two years at Hanna-Barbera Productions drawing storyboards for TV shows.[4]

In 1977, Rico, Sergio Aragones, and television and comic-book writer Mark Evanier co-founded the Comic Art Professional Society (CAPS).[3][10] Rico also worked with Aragones as scripter for the artist-plotter's female-detective strip "T.C. Mars" in Joe Kubert's magazine Sojourn.[11] Also in 1977, Rico drew a six-page chapter starring Captain America in the World War II-superhero flashback series The Invaders Annual #1.[5] In 1979, Rico drew the cover and wrote an introduction for a 128-page anthology of black-and-white reprints, The Magnificent Superheroes of Comics [sic] Golden Age #1 (Vintage Features).

During the mid-1970, Rico taught a college course on comic books at UCLA,[12] titled "The Theory, History and Technique of Comic Books".[4] In the early 1980s, he taught drawing at Cal State Northridge.[4]


Rico lived in Los Angeles at the time of his death in 1985. He was survived by his second wife, Michele Hart-Rico; his son, Donato "Buz" Rico III; and his daughter, Dianne Marie Rico Tran (1933–2007).[13]


Paperback novels

  • Nikki (Midwood Books, 1963)
  • The Unmarried Ones (Beacon Signal Sixty, 1964)
  • The Sad Gay Life (Lancer Books imprint Domino Books, 1964; under pseudonym Donna Richards)
  • The Odd World (Domino Books, 1965; under pseudonym Donna Richards)
  • The Last of the Breed (Lancer/Magnum, 1965)
  • The Big Blue Death (Lancer Books, 1965; under publishing-house pseudonym Joseph Milton)
  • Lorelei (Belmont Books, 1966)
  • The Prisoner (Lancer Books, 1966; under pseudonym Donella St. Michaels)
  • The Girls of Sunset (Lancer Books, 1966)
  • Counterspy (Lancer Books, 1966)
  • Nightmare of Eyes (Lancer Books, 1967)
  • The Man From Pansy (Lancer Books, 1967; Buzz Cardigan series)
  • The Daisy Dilemma (Lancer Books, 1967; Buzz Cardigan series)
  • The Passion Flower Puzzle (Lancer Books, 1968, Buzz Cardigan series)
  • Casey Grant Caper #1: The Ring-A-Ding Girl (Paperback Library, 1969)
  • Casey Grant Caper #2: the Swinging Virgin (Paperback Library, 1969)
  • Casey Grant Caper #3: So Sweet, So Deadly (Paperback Library, 1970)
  • The House of Girls (New English Library, 1969)


  • Copyright: How to Register Your Copyright and Introduction to New and Historical Copyright Law by Walter E. Hurst, illustrated by Don Rico (Seven Arts Press, 1977)


  1. ^ "United States Social Security Death Index," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed March 2, 2013), Donato Rico, March 1985.
  2. ^ Donato Rico at the Social Security Death Index. Archived from the original on March 3, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Donato Rico". (obituary), Associated Press via The New York Times. April 20, 1985. Archived from the original on July 24, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Hart-Rico, Michele; et al. "Don Rico / 1912–1985: Biographical Material". Don Rico official site. Archived from the original on January 17, 2011. Retrieved January 17, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Don Rico at the Grand Comics Database
  6. ^ Vassallo, Michael J. (2005). "A Timely Talk with Allen Bellman". , Archived from the original on November 25, 2009.
  7. ^ "Gil Kane on Jack Kirby" (excerpt, Jack Kirby Collector #21 (October 1998))
  8. ^ Vassallo, Michael J. "Esoteric Atlas: Bible Tales for Young Folk", Comicartville Library, 2002, n.d. WebCitation archive.
  9. ^ Evanier, Mark (April 14, 2008). "Why did some artists working for Marvel in the sixties use phony names?". P.O.V. Online (column). Archived from the original on November 25, 2009. Retrieved July 28, 2008.
  10. ^ Evanier, Mark (October 22, 2006). "Mad Men". P.O.V. Online (column). Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. (Archive link requires scrolldown) "Go Read It!". December 25, 2009. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011.
  11. ^ Aragones in Thompson, Kim (February 19, 2011). "Doodle King: An Interview with Sergio Aragones". The Comics Journal. p. 3. Archived from the original on July 11, 2011. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
  12. ^ "Stan Lee's Soapbox" (column), by Stan Lee: Howard the Duck #3 (May 1976), and other Marvel Comics published that month
  13. ^ Home page Archived November 19, 2008, at the Wayback Machine and "Diane M. Tran" at Don Rico official site. Latter page Archived November 19, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.

External links


5.0 is the sixth major label studio album by Nelly. It was released through Universal Motown Records (Universal Music Group) and Derrty (Universal Music Group) on November 12, 2010. The album features guest appearances from Kelly Rowland, Keri Hilson, DJ Khaled, Baby, Sophie Greene, Ali, Plies, Chris Brown, T.I., Yo Gotti, T-Pain, Akon, Talib Kweli, Avery Storm, Murphy Lee, Dirty Money and Sean Paul while production was handled by Infamous, Dr. Luke, Mr. Bangladesh, Jim Jonsin, Multiman, Polow da Don, Rico Love and The Runners, among others. 5.0 is predominately a hip hop and pop music album with subtle influences of R&B.

The album debuted at #10 on the US Billboard 200, selling over 65,000 copies in its 1st week in the United States. The album's 1st single "Just a Dream" which became the 1st song from 5.0 to garner UK and US airplay and has impacted on charts around the world. Released on August 17, 2010, it is Nelly's most successful single in 5 years (since "Grillz"), peaking at #3 in the United States.

All-Winners Squad

The All-Winners Squad is a fictional superhero team appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The company's first such team, it first appeared in All Winners Comics #19 (Fall 1946), published by Marvel predecessor Timely Comics during the period fans and historians call the Golden Age of Comic Books.

While the comic-book title has no hyphen, Marvel, on its website version of the company's The Official Handbook Of The Marvel Universe: Teams 2005, spells the team name "All-Winners Squad" with a hyphen, as do independent sources.

Black Widow (Marvel Comics)

Black Widow is the name of several fictional characters appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Most of these versions exist in Marvel's main shared universe, known as the Marvel Universe.

Black Widow (Natasha Romanova)

Natalia Alianovna Romanova (Russian: Наталья Альяновна "Наташа" Романова; alias: Natasha Romanoff; Russian: Наташа Романофф), colloquial: Black Widow (Russian: Чёрная Вдова; transliterated Chyornaya Vdova) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by editor and plotter Stan Lee, scripter Don Rico, and artist Don Heck, the character debuted in Tales of Suspense #52 (April 1964). The character was introduced as a Russian spy, an antagonist of the superhero Iron Man. She later defected to the United States, becoming an agent of the fictional spy agency S.H.I.E.L.D., and a member of the superhero team the Avengers.

Scarlett Johansson portrays the character Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff) in films Iron Man 2, The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Johansson will also star in her own Black Widow film.

Captain Battle

Captain Battle is a fictional hero and one of the features in Lev Gleason's Silver Streak Comics, from the period known as "Golden Age of Comic Books."

Daredevil (Lev Gleason Publications)

Daredevil is a fictional character, an American comic book superhero that starred in comics from Lev Gleason Publications during the 1930s–1940s period historians and fans call the Golden Age of comic books. The character is a separate entity and unrelated to Marvel Comics' Daredevil.

Frank Z. Temerson

Frank Z. Temerson (1890–1963) was a comic book publisher from the Golden Age of Comic Books. Temerson imprints included Ultem Publications, Helnit Publishing, Et-Es-Go Magazines, and Continental Magazines.

Notable titles published by Temerson included Captain Aero Comics, Cat-Man Comics, and Suspense Comics; notable characters included Cat-Man and Kitten and Miss Victory. L. B. Cole worked as an art director for many of Temerson's earliest comics; other notable creators associated with Temerson included Tony DiPreta, Irwin Hasen, Gil Kane, Don Rico, and Charles M. Quinlan.

Temerson often used the names of family members and associates as proxies for companies which he actually owned and operated.

Funnies Inc.

Funnies, Inc. is an American comic book packager of the 1930s to 1940s period collectors and historians call the Golden Age of Comic Books. Founded by Lloyd Jacquet, it supplied the contents of early comics, including that of Marvel Comics #1 (cover-dated Oct. 1939), the first publication of what would become the multimedia corporation Marvel Comics.

Jana of the Jungle

Jana of the Jungle is a 30-minute Saturday morning animated series created by Doug Wildey and produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions which aired on NBC from September 9, 1978, to December 2, 1978. It was originally broadcast as a half-hour segment of The Godzilla Power Hour (1978) and its later expanded form The Godzilla Super 90 (1978–79).

Jann of the Jungle

Jann of the Jungle (Jane Hastings) is a fictional comic book jungle girl protagonist from Atlas Comics.

Jungle Tales

Jungle Tales was an American comic book title published by Atlas Comics, the 1950s predecessor to Marvel Comics. It was an anthology title of stories set in an African jungle.

List of Marvel Comics people

Marvel Comics is an American comic book company. These are some of the people (artists, editors, executives, writers) who have been associated with the company in its history, as Marvel and its predecessors, Timely Comics and Atlas Comics.

Little Star (TV series)

Little Star is a Philippine television drama musical series broadcast by GMA Network. Directed by Maryo J. de los Reyes, it stars Nicki Castro in the title role, Jennylyn Mercado, Mark Anthony Fernandez, Lovi Poe and Paolo Contis. It premiered on October 25, 2010 on the network's Haponalo line up replacing Trudis Liit and worldwide on October 28, 2010 on GMA Pinoy TV. The series concluded on February 11, 2011 with a total of 80 episodes. It was replaced by Nita Negrita in its timeslot.

Lorna the Jungle Girl

Lorna the Jungle Girl, initially called Lorna the Jungle Queen, is a comic book jungle girl protagonist created by writer Don Rico and artist Werner Roth. She debuted in Lorna the Jungle Queen #1 (July 1953), published by Marvel Comics' 1950s predecessor, Atlas Comics.

Novelty Press

Novelty Press (a.k.a. Premium Service Co., Inc.; a.k.a. Novelty Publications; a.k.a. Premier Group) was an American Golden Age comic-book publisher that operated from 1940–1949. It was the comic book imprint of Curtis Publishing Company, publisher of The Saturday Evening Post. Among Novelty's best-known and longest-running titles were Blue Bolt and Target Comics.

During its nine-year run, Novelty had a roster of creators that included Al Avison, Dan Barry, Carl Burgos, L.B. Cole, Bill Everett, Al Gabriele, Joe Gill, Tom Gill, Jack Kirby, Tarpé Mills, Al Plastino, Don Rico, Joe Simon, Mickey Spillane, and Basil Wolverton.Although published in Philadelphia, Novelty Press's editorial offices were in New York City.

Silver Streak (comics)

Silver Streak is a fictional superhero character created by Joe Simon that first appeared in Silver Streak Comics #3 (cover-dated March 1940), from Lev Gleason Publications. He is believed to be the second-ever comic book superhero whose primary power is speed; All-American Publications' The Flash preceded him by two months. However, Silver Streak beat out National Allied Publications' Johnny Quick (who debuted in 1941) as the first superhero whose two powers were speed and flight. Silver Streak has a kid sidekick called "Mercury" (soon changed to "Meteor"); he is also assisted by a hawk named "Whiz".

Tales of Suspense

Tales of Suspense is the name of an American comic book anthology series and two one-shot comics published by Marvel Comics. The first, which ran from 1959 to 1968, began as a science-fiction anthology that served as a showcase for such artists as Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and Don Heck, then featured superheroes Captain America and Iron Man during the Silver Age of Comic Books before changing its title to Captain America with issue #100 (cover-dated April 1968). Its sister title was Tales to Astonish. Following the launch of Marvel Legacy in 2017, Tales of Suspense was once again resurrected at issue #100, featuring The Winter Soldier and Hawkeye in a story called "The Red Ledger".

Wood engraving

Wood engraving is a printmaking and letterpress printing technique, in which an artist works an image or matrix of images into a block of wood. Functionally a variety of woodcut, it uses relief printing, where the artist applies ink to the face of the block and prints using relatively low pressure. By contrast, ordinary engraving, like etching, uses a metal plate for the matrix, and is printed by the intaglio method, where the ink fills the valleys, the removed areas. As a result, wood engravings deteriorate less quickly than copper-plate engravings, and have a distinctive white-on-black character.

Thomas Bewick developed the wood engraving technique at the end of the 18th century. His work differed from earlier woodcuts in two key ways. First, rather than using woodcarving tools such as knives, Bewick used an engraver's burin (graver). With this, he could create thin delicate lines, often creating large dark areas in the composition. Second, wood engraving traditionally uses the wood's end grain—while the older technique used the softer side grain. The resulting increased hardness and durability facilitated more detailed images.

Wood-engraved blocks could be used on conventional printing presses, which were going through rapid mechanical improvements during the first quarter of the 19th century. The blocks were made the same height as, and composited alongside, movable type in page layouts—so printers could produce thousands of copies of illustrated pages with almost no deterioration. The combination of this new wood engraving method and mechanized printing drove a rapid expansion of illustrations in the 19th century. Further, advances in stereotype let wood-engravings be reproduced onto metal, where they could be mass-produced for sale to printers.

By the mid-19th century, many wood engravings rivaled copperplate engravings. Wood engraving was used to great effect by 19th-century artists such as Edward Calvert, and its heyday lasted until the early and mid-20th century when remarkable achievements were made by Eric Gill, Eric Ravilious and others. Though less used now, the technique is still prized in the early 21st century as a high-quality specialist technique of book illustration, and is promoted, for example, by the Society of Wood Engravers, who hold an annual exhibition in London and other British venues.

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