From the 5th Grade, Doug Rice was determined to become a comic-book artist in the worst way – by teaching himself to draw.  Years later, after a tour in the Air Force (ours), a year or three at UICC, taking up space at SF convention art shows and scribbling in fanzines, Doug had become just enough of a dilettante to land of job in 1982 on the staff of a fledgling Chicago-based company, First Comics, working for editor Mike Gold and supervised by art director Joe Staton.  After some months at First, Kismet slapped Doug across the chops with the opportunity to submit an idea for a science-fiction 8-page back-up feature for the innovative-but-fading comic series, MARS.  The idea was for DYNAMO JOE – an American ‘giant-robot’ series inspired by the Japanimation and manga he‘d been fanning over for years.

After due consideration (and nothing else on the table), the managing staff at First rolled their collective eyes and gave DYNAMO JOE the go-ahead with a re-sounding, “Oh, what the Hell…do it…just have John Ostrander scripting.”  The rest, as they say, is Comics History…well, more like a foot-note, really.  In 1984, Doug Rice was voted San Diego Comic Con’s “Russ Manning Most-Promising Newcomer” award……at the tender age of 33.

After his fifteen-issue run on the DYNAMO JOE series, Doug left First to freelance for Comico (STARBLAZERS), DC (MANHUNTER, PLASTIC MAN mini-series), Marvel (WHAT THE–?!, TOXIC AVENGER), Dark Horse (CLASSICS DESECRATED), Image (STUPID), and Disney Comics (ROGER RABBIT, MICKEY MOUSE, and LITTLE MERMAID).  And with each new assignment, Doug wore whatever hat the job required – penciller, co-writer, inker, lay-outs, scripter, gag-man, thumb-nailer, re-writer, editor, or paper-weight.  During this time Doug worked with such industry luminaries as John Ostrander, Phil Foglio and Hilary Barta…all of whom still speak to him.  He also had the privilege of working with such stellar talents as the late Kim Yale and Tom Artis, two colleagues who are greatly missed.

Then one sunny day in 1993, the Bat-phone rang and Doug had a new career in TV animation with a Chicago south suburban studio, Startoons International.  Here again, being a dilettante was enough for him to find a niche in Startoons’ story-board and layout output, mostly for the Warner Bros. shows “ANIMANIACS”, “PINKY & THE BRAIN”, “ROAD ROVERS” and “HISTERIA!”…and Doug received one of six Emmy Award certificates in 1996 for the studio’s work on “Steven Spielberg presents The ANIMANIACS.”  Who knew?

Other Startoons projects Doug worked on include the “BROOD 13” series proposal, DUDLEY THE DINOSAUR public-service spots for the ADA, the “LITTLE DOGS ON THE PRAIRIE” video-series, and the in-house animation “DEFIANT!” (written and directed by John Griffon).  On his own, Rice soloed on the 30-second animation, “DAS MASCHINEN – AVATAR”, and did the proposals for two animation shows: “DOC SAVAGE ADVENTURES”, and “THE POE ZONE”.

Just before Startoons closed its doors in 2001, Doug was loaned out to do the pre-production storyboards for “TOWN DIARY” – giving him his first screen-credit on a feature film.  Now freelancing again, he has done the penciled art for Mirage Press’ “TALES OF THE TMNT” #16, and worked on layouts and scripting for the Grey Phoenix graphic-novel, “MONTANA BRIGGS”…as well as the screenplay treatment for an epic Western feature film based on it.

In other film-related activity Rice has contributed articles published in Michael Stein’s FANTASTIC FILMS and FILMFAX magazines, given the first presentations on ‘Anime’ to both the Chicago Film Society and the Psychotronic Film Society, has been a guest lecturer on “The History of Japanese Animation” at Chicago’s Columbia School of Art, and lectured twice on “Comic Art and Animation” at Northern Illinois University.

Doug still resides in south suburban Homewood, doing artwork for the publication of his rip-roaring adventure novel, SQUADRON, and a re-launch of DYNAMO JOE.  His outside interests include Japanese food, Italian Westerns, British mysteries, German Expressionism, Scottish culture, Spanish guitar, Russian neo-classical music, Norwegian fusion jazz, Belgian “Asterix” books, American women, and the occasional French fry.