Sparky Moore was an American artist, who has worked extensively on comic books based on licensed properties for companies like Western Publishing and The Walt Disney Company. He has worked on both realistic western stories and funny animal features.
He was born as Richard Moore in Denver, Colorado, and grew up in Philadelphia, where he developed a passion for both drawing and horses. During World War II, he served with the US Navy and the Merchant Marines as a radio operator, where he got his nickname "Sparky". He studied at the University of New Mexico and at Art Central in Los Angeles, and began his professional career in the late 1940s. He began his long association with Western Publishing in 1951, when he started to draw for the Dell line of movie/TV tie-in comic and activity books. He continued to work for the company's later Gold Key and Whitman lines until 1975.
A passionate horseman - he raised and bred horses for much of his adult life - Moore became a productive artist for the company's western features. He worked on titles related to TV shows like 'Buck Jones', 'Rin Tin Tin', 'Buckskin', 'The Real McCoys' and 'The Range Rider', Fred Harman's newspaper comic character 'Little Beaver', and the western actors Rex Allen, Roy Rogers and Johnny Mack Brown. He later also worked for the comic books based on comedy group The Three Stooges, the science fiction TV series 'The Mighty Mightor' (1968-1969) and 'Korak', the son of Edgar Rice Burroughs' jungle hero 'Tarzan'.
Moore was furthermore a prominent artist in Dell's Disney publications. He provided the artwork for stories based on Disney's live-action TV series like 'Elfego Baca' (1960), 'Spin & Marty' (1960) and 'Texas John Slaughter' (1960), and also for comic book adaptations of the Disney western movies 'Ten Who Dared' (1960) and 'Wild Dog of the North' (1961). In the 1970s he mainly worked on funny animal stories with movie characters like 'Robin Hood' and 'The Aristokittens'.
From the mid 1960s until the early 1980s, Sparky Moore was additionally a productive artist for the story production of The Walt Disney Company aimed directly at the foreign market. He illustated many 'Zorro' stories written by Homer Brightman between 1964 and 1970, and was an artist on many stories with 'The Big Bad Wolf' during the 1970s. During the 1970s and 1980s, he was also an artist for the Disney newspaper strips. He began working on the daily 'Scamp' strip in August 1973, and continued it with writer Bill Berg and inker Manuel Gonzalez until June 1978. He was then assigned to draw the 'Winnie the Pooh' newspaper comic.
He made the daily comic from scripts by Don Ferguson and in cooperation with inker Larry Mayer from 1978 until December 1983, and continued working on the Sunday page until June 1984. Between 1976 and 1987, he was one of the artist of the Sunday feature 'Walt Disney's Treasury of Classic Tales', for which he drew adaptations of Disney films like 'Freaky Friday', 'The Rescuers', The Fox and the Hound', 'Tron', 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' and several more. He also illustrated the later newspaper comic adaptations of 'Beauty and the Beast' (1992) and 'The Lion King' (1994), and the comic book adaptations of 'White Fang' (1990) and 'The Lion King' (1994).
He additionally created war stories for the DC title 'Our Army At War' in the 1970s, drew for a Chuck Norris comic book by Elsewhere Productions in 1987, and also some horror comics for Hamilton in the early 1990s.
From the late 1950s until the early 1970s, Sparky Moore was also active as a layout artist for the animation industry. He worked mainly on Hanna-Barbera productions like 'Huckleberry Hound', 'Space Ghost', 'Johnny Quest', 'Shazzan' and 'Mightor', but also on Grant-Ray Lawrance's superhero series 'Captain America' and 'Spider-Man', and on productions like 'Clutch Cargo' (Cambria Productions), 'Hot Wheels' and 'Sky Hawks' (both Pantomine Pictures).
Richard Moore passed away in his sleep at his home in Templeton, California, on 7 September 2016.