From the age of 16, Ralph Reese assisted Wallace Wood on a number of projects, including the DC series 'Superboy' and a series of Topps trading cards. He also attended the High School of Art and Design in New York, before he began freelancing for many publications during the 1970s. He drew for magazines like National Lampoon and Esquire, as well as underground comix like Bijou Funnies, Conspiracy Capers, Doomsday Comix #1 and Drool #1, often in collaboration with Larry Hama. Between 1972 and 1977, Reese worked with Neal Adams' Continuity studios, where he and Hama worked on among others the Children's Television Workshop.
Reese also drew for comic books by Acclaim, Byron Preiss, DC, Eclipse, Marvel, Skywald and Warren Publishing. He was a regular contributor to Web of Horror, and he did an adaptation of Thomas Disch's 'The Roaches' in Marvel's 'Monsters Unleashed'. In 1982, he worked on a comic adaptation of the movie 'Blade Runner' with Al Williamson, Dan Green and Carlos Garzon. He also drew for Bantam Books' 'Choose Your Own Adventure' series. In 1991, he worked on the 'Flash Gordon' comic strip, and from 1992 to 1997, did considerable work for 'Magnus Robot Fighter' and other Valiant Comics.