Cartoonist, caricaturist, artist, writer, editor, publisher, politician: Dick Kulpa’s been around the horn and back more than a few times. Kulpa first achieved local standing for his pro-Nixon, pro-Vietnam-War and patriotic cartoon viewpoints back in his 1970-71 school newspaper days. Maintaining political cartoon outlets, Dick held political office in city and county positions from 1977-1988, simultaneously wreaking political havoc with his editorial cartoons. On several occasions Kulpa teamed up with officials to produce cartoon campaigns and booklets for solid causes, and Dick won prestigious “Best Newspaper (or Magazine) Advertising Awards” in 1978 and again 1n 1991.
During the 1980s he achieved national syndication with the Bruce Lee and Star Trek newspaper comic strips, and produced weekly cartoon commentaries for the Chicago Bear Report newspaper for 12 years, beginning in 1987. Joining supermarket tabloid Weekly World News as a freelance illustrator, Dick landed a full time position with the cult newspaper a year later (1988), and served as senior editor, art director, and eventually, editor. Dick is credited with creating the iconic “Bat Boy” character for the paper, and designed hundreds of front pages seen by anyone who shopped in a supermarket from 1990-2003. In the mid 90s, Kulpa simultaneously drew the daily syndicated newspaper strip “Ghost Story Club” for Tribune Media Services, Inc.
In 2000 Kulpa was named as editor of the humor satire CRACKED Magazine, “acquiring” the property outright within the year. After a yet-unexplained series of events crippled the magazine in January 2001, (“Even our distribution records mysteriously vanished from computers,” he says,) Dick would fight to publish CRACKED intermittently for the next four years. “I knew that, without help, we were bankrupt in January of 2001,” he revealed. “I took this on well aware that bankruptcy was always an (awful) option, as this was very much a gamble. On paper, things looked good, and a major magazine expert even agreed that my expectations were realistic. But when things happened as they did — outside the realm of the norm — I refused to play” he adds. “In retrospect, I’m reminded of scripted wrestling matches. But I held onto that property for four f-ing years, and of that, I am proud.”
“CRACKED is not over yet,” he adds, “I’d describe that situation as in a legal conundrum.”
Since those days Dick Kulpa has worked on a number of publications and websites, and currently maintains a number of them, including a news satire site, caricature site, comic strip website and an events site. Simultaneously, Dick has achieved fame throughout South Florida as “Captain Cartoon,” caricature artist, having drawn well over 30,000 faces since he began caricaturing “in earnest” in 2005. Dick continues to maintain outlets for creative and political expression through his websites, and has returned to political cartooning as a result of the ongoing economic meltdown. Dick says recent activities have sparked a renaissance of sorts in his illustration outlook.