Brick Bradford was a science fiction comic strip created by writer William Ritt, a journalist based in Cleveland, and artist Clarence Gray. It was first distributed in 1933 by Central Press Association, a subsidiary of King Features Syndicate which specialized in producing material for small-town newspapers.
Ritt grew tired of Brick Bradford in the mid-1940s, and by 1948 he had turned over first the daily and then the Sunday to Gray, who did the strip by himself until his health problems increased. In 1952, Paul Norris (who had been working on King’s Jungle Jim) took over the daily. When Gray died in 1956, Norris took over the Sunday strip. Norris retired in 1987, and the strip was retired as well with the daily ending April 25, 1987 and the Sundays two weeks later.
“Brick Bradford” achieved its greatest popularity outside the United States. “Brick Bradford” was carried by both newspapers and comic books in Australia and New Zealand. In France, the strip was known as “Luc Bradefer” (Luke Ironarm), and was published in many newspapers. The strip was also widely published in Italy.
The titular hero, Brick, was a redheaded aviator who continually encountered fantastic situations. Initially, the strip was focused on Earth-bound, aviation-focused adventures, in a similar manner to Skyroads. However, as the strip developed, Brick Bradford increasingly featured fantastic elements in the manner of Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. Ritt was an admirer of science fiction writers H. G. Wells, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Abraham Merritt, and drew on some of their ideas when writing “Brick Bradford”. Brick Bradford now became more of a space opera/adventure story, with its tales of dinosaurs, lost civilizations, intergalactic villains, robots and subatomic worlds. By 1935, Brick Bradford’s popularity had greatly increased, and it arrived in the Sunday comics sections of major newspapers in 1933, followed by a weekend edition that began November 24, 1934. In the daily strips Brick kept company with his friend, Sandy Sanderson, scientist Kalla Kopak, and June Salisbury, Brick’s girlfriend and daughter of his ally, Van Atta Salisbury. The Sunday strips featured completely different characters and plots. Here Brick was often accompanied on his adventures by Professor Horatio Southern and his daughter April, who was Brick’s love interest . Brick’s enemies included Dr. Franz Ego, a spy; Avil Blue, inventor of a giant robot; and the “Assassins”, descendants of the Middle Eastern sect of the same name.
On April 20, 1935, the strip added a time machine, the Time Top, that traveled to both past and future, presaging Doc Wonmug’s device in Alley Oop four years later.
Brick Bradford was reprinted in comic-book form as King Features began to expand into that genre, including King Comics (published by David McKay Publications), starting from April 1936 (along with Barney Google, Henry, Popeye and Bringing Up Father among others), as well as in Ace Comics from 1947 to 1949. As the old comics were reprinted, a new series starring Brick was published by Standard Comics, but the series was soon canceled after 4 issues.
Brick Bradford reappeared by 1966 in original comics published by King Comics. Brick Bradford stories appeared as back-up strips in The Phantom #26, 28 and Mandrake the Magician #5–7, 9, 10.
In the 1970s, the Pacific Comics Club reprinted several Brick Bradford stories in book form. Numerous Brick Bradford stories were reprinted in Italian and French booklets.
The strip also had a movie based on it, as well as a book series produced by Whitman Publishing’s Big Little Books.
Brick Bradford, a 12-chapter serial starring Kane Richmond, was produced by Columbia Pictures in 1947.
Brick Bradford was referenced in The Dick Van Dyke Show episode Uhny Uftz when Rob believe he has seen a flying saucer with the “Brick Bradford insignia” on it, which he describes as being like a lightning bolt.
080 pages/strips Brick Bradford – D051 – The Search for Doctor Eastland
103 pages/strips Brick Bradford – D052 – Man on the Moon
090 pages/strips Brick Bradford – D053 – The Sound
078 pages/strips Brick Bradford – D055 – Steppingstone
132 pages/strips Brick Bradford – D059 – Botanical Warfare
023 pages/strips Brick Bradford – D060 – Adventure in the Aqua-Mole
033 pages/strips Brick Bradford – D061 – The Proxima Centauri Run
D001 – In the City Beneath the Sea
D002 – With Brocco the Buccaneer
D003 – On the Isles Beyond the Ice
D004 – Brick Bradford and the Lord of Doom
D006 – In the Fortress of Fear
D007 – Brick Bradford and the Metal Monster
D008 – Brick Bradford Seeks the Diamond Doll
D040 – The Case of the Vicious Vines
D041 – Stowaway
D042 – Something Borrowed, Something Blue
D044 – Return of Paul Bunyan
D045 – The Search For Kris Kreg
D046 – Time-Top Trials!
D054 – Mission to Maga
D071 – The Agrarians
D072 – Strange Sargasso
D073 – Search for a Samaritan
D074 – Destination Laza
D075 – The Radiant Ruins of Ramdan
D076 – Ardun’s Ark
D077 – Flight of Fantasy
D104 – Lore
D105 – Search for Succor
D106 – Rescue
D107 – Stronger Force
D108 – Holiday on Hokuku!
D109 – Sea of Secrets
D110 – The Folly of Petro Leur
D111 – Lore Revisited
D112 – Beyond Bucala
D113 – The Way Home
D114 – Eye Spy
D115 – Rescue
D116 – Dead End
D117 – Lost
D118 – Dolphins of Dahgara
D119 – Wild Wet World
D120 – Space Trace
D121 – Emigres’ Reversion
D122 – Web of Life
D123 – Two, Too Many
D124 – Runagate
D125 – Loose Ends
D126 – Iona Incursion
D127 – Solar Power Play
D128 – Time Trials
D129 – The Realm of Ram
D130 – Jeopardy
D131 – Search for Saturn Sadie
D132 – Prekarius Plot
D133 – Topaz
D134 – Beyond the Limits
D135 – The Penny Black
D136 – Burawa Bondage
D137 – Aggression at Agwon
D138 – The Save of Saturn Sadie
D139 – What Next
D140 – Mind Over Matter
D141 – Flight Tests
Brick Bradford Adrift in an atom