How I Got My Marvel Comics Nickname

When Stan Lee wrote the credits for the comics, he became Stan “The Man” Lee, and Jack Kirby became Jack “The King” Kirby.

One of the cool things about Marvel in those days was that the people who worked there would acquire nicknames.

Soon all the editors, writers and artists were giving each other names. There was “Rascally” Roy Thomas, “Happy” Herb Trimpe, “Marvelous” Marv Wolfman, “Jaunty” Jim Salicrup, “Fabulous” Flo Steinberg….and in time, the people in the Marvel Bullpen followed suit and gave each other names, as well.

But they weren’t nearly so cool.

My boss, Danny Crespi, who had been with the company for many years and had acceded to the job of Production Manager, was “The Old Fart” and occasionally “Mongo 1” as opposed to his nephew who handled paste-ups and was was known as “Mongo 2”. The guy who pasted up the letter columns, a Japanese/American was affectionately known as “The Old Fool”, “Moishe” (his real name was Morrie)…or depending who was addressing him, simply, “Jap”.  

After I went back to work there I also acquired a nom de plume.

One day, while my boss was at lunch, I saw a clothing catalog from a department store on the filing cabinet outside his office.

On a whim, I took a brush and some Doc Marten’s Dye and colored someone’s face red. I was amazed at how “realistic” it looked–almost as if it had been printed that way.

Emboldened, I added some blood dripping down the legs of one of the bathing suit models. A few pages later two children who had just built a snowman, had left bloody handprints all over it and a trail of blood in the snow.

I placed the catalog on my boss’s desk.

Later, he emerged from his office and asked, “Who left this here…?”

Everyone looked at me.

Whereupon he exclaimed, “You know what, Rick–you’re Sick…!” and immediately, one of my coworkers said, “Yeah—-! He’s Ricko th’ Sicko”.

The name stuck.

Fortunately, most people dropped the end part and I became known simply as “Ricko”.

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