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solid writing
exceptional art
historical bonus 2
total score 7
E.Z. Wolf Comics _ e.z. wolf
Astral Outhouse
E.Z. Wolf
E.Z. Wolf Comics

1976-1977 / Last Gasp - Rip Off Press
Ted Richards is probably better known for his Dopin' Dan character and is more infamous for his association with the Air Pirates collective, but some of his finest work appeared in the Forty Year Old Hippie and E.Z. Wolf comics produced in the mid '70s while Richards was majoring in creative writing at San Francisco State University. The E.Z. Wolf comics are a unique blend of slapstick humor, folksy wisdom and morality tales set somewhere in the deep South. Richards reports that the characters and stories in the E.Z. Wolf books reflect "my southern experience in and around North Carolina, and Eufala, Alabama, my mother's hometown."

E.Z. Wolf comics take place in fictional Chitterland County, near the lonely-sounding town of Terminus. The lead character, E.Z Wolf, is part of a community that includes regular folk like Slick Fox and Brer Bill Goat. They mix it up with the obscenely rich (P.J. Pigman), corrupt lawmen (Sheriff George C. Alabama), slimy politicians (Jimmy Otter), and slick mass-media types (Walter J. Weasel). The cultural bend is sympathetic to the common man, common sense and mainstream beliefs, but it never feels like preaching because Richards takes delight in bringing down the pompous and the pretentious.

It would have been interesting to see what Richards might've done if he kept producing comics, but you can't really blame him for moving on. He left cartooning in 1981 to pursue a creative career in technology (he worked for Atari), computers and eventually web design.
In 1996, he was named vice president and creative director for Audio Highway (sort of an early iTunes), and later became creative director for DNA Sciences, which promoted a genetic sample recruitment program. Richards has a web site that promotes his web development and commercial design services.

Richards is still known to tinker with cartooning and sells CDs of his Forty Year Old Hippie and Mellow Cat comics on his site. I don't believe he ever tapped the full potential of the rich cast of characters he developed for E.Z. Wolf, but it's not likely he ever will, so enjoy what he did 35 years ago and imagine what might have been.