Ricardo Villagrán is an Argentine comic artist, best known for his work for American comic books and the South-American series 'Nippur de Lagash'. Born in the small northern city of Corrientes, Argentina in 1938, Ricardo is the oldest of the three Villagrán brothers. After finishing high school, he enrolled at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aries. While still in school, Ricardo started accepting freelance work for various advertising companies, printers and comic publishers. He also continued to take freelance assignments during his compulsory service in the Argentine Army.
In 1969, Ricardo returned to the field of comics. He worked for international publishers like Editorial Columba (Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Lima, Caracas, Asuncion, Montevideo, Santiago) Codex Ediciones, Guisa (Spain), Eura (Rome) and Fleetway (London). He illustrated numerous covers and stories covering every subject from barbarians, romance, westerns to science fiction.
Together with his brothers Enrique and Carlos and scriptwriter Robin Wood, he founded the Nippur IV studios in 1974. At one time the studio employed 20 artists and assistants, producing work for comic publishers in Argentina and Europe. The studios produced stories for serials like 'Mark', 'Nippur de Lagash', 'Or Grund', 'Ronstad', 'Los Aventureros', 'Brigada Madeleine', 'Ronstad y Argón', and for the American titles 'Atari Force' and 'Star Trek'.
In 1982, Ricardo came to the United States, where he started working for DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Archie Comics, Dark Horse Comics and many others. He has inked comics like 'Evangeline', 'Atari Force', 'Star Trek' and 'Conan'. During the 1980s he worked with Judith Hunt through her Off the Wall Studios in Media, Pennsylvania. Nowadays, he spends most of his time painting.
n 1982, Villagran traveled to the United States, to establish contacts in the comics publishing industry to obtain work for his studio. His contacts brought him work from American comic publishers such as DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Archie Comics, Comico Comics, First Comics, and Dark Horse Comics. In 1983 he met Chuck Dixon at a convention, which brought Villagran to eventually ink the Evangeline comic. Villagran also acted as a liaison for other artists from his home country and introduced Dixon and illustrator/comic artist Judith Hunt to fellow Argentinian Jorge Zaffino. Between 1984–1987 Villagran and his studio worked with Hunt on various comic and commercial art projects; also joining her art studio, Off the Wall Studios, located in Media, Pennsylvania, for a short time. When Hunt discontinued illustrating comics and representing artists to pursue her own career in children's publishing and license character development, Villagran continued to work in American comics with Mike Manley, a former cartoonist employed by Off the Wall Studios.