Last week the Art World and the Indy Toy Scene suffered a huge loss. Ralph Niese passed away, and judging by the outpouring of love for dude he touched a LOT of lives. Seriously so so so many Indy Toy cats had Ralph do work for them at some point. Add in the artists and art fans his incredible style touched over the years, and the world as a whole suffered a massive blow. I was lucky enough to have talked to Ralph many times over the years. Whether it was on FB, October Toys, or any number of message boards across the web. I was even luckier to have commissioned Ralph to do two pieces for me in the near decade I knew the guy. So I really wanted to open the archives, and get some of that stuff on here for the world to see, and to stay as a monument to this man’s genius…

The first piece I ever had Ralph do was way back in 2013 for the 1 year anniversary of Doomkick (back when this was a simple toy review blog..ancient history. Simpler times.) I didn’t even know what I wanted, but I knew after seeing Ralph’s killer Glyos art that I wanted a piece of this guy’s art for my own. We had struck up a friendship over on the OT Glyos forums, and I hit him up seeing what it would cost. Ralph being the guy he was traded me this piece for some American Mass Market toys…the only one I really remember was a Mattel Zur-En-Arrh Batman figure…probably because that figure was so ridiculous…Anyway shipping a box of toys from the store to Germany from the US is certainly worth some good art…much less art from a true talent like Ralph. Not knowing what I wanted Ralph and I kicked back and forth a few ideas, until he asked me to name a few of my favorite toys and characters, and disappeared for a few days. When he came back he dropped this absolute beauty on me, and it has remained the DK FB Banner to this day…despite no longer having ANYTHING to do with the site.

The second piece Ralph did was the Algor v Cultists picture done earlier this year. I had long wanted to get Ralph on some TEWOJ Art, but working on so many projects didn’t leave a ton of budget to pay Ralph’s (totally justified and amazing value) prices. However early in 2020 I had a little extra gas in that TEWOJ Budget tank , and I hit Ralph up with a request for the cover of TEWOJ Comics Issue #3. Algor fighting some Cultists in a castle as direction. Once again a few days later Ralph came back with the above sketch. It blew my mind. Exactly the vibe I was looking for which is why I wanted Ralph to begin with…dude was a expert at nailing the vibe of a project… I told him as much, and how it was about damn time I got him on some TEWOJ shit. His response? ” All you had to do was ask”, and that was the thing about Ralph, this man didn’t see himself as the god among men he clearly was…he was just Ralph, and no matter how long had passed or what the topic was he always that good old boy you loved talking to. We talked about how we now both wanted some cultists figs, and how hard it would be to get him one of the upcoming ROTU Algor with Mount sets, and I told him for him not at all hard…hell id trade him a few sets for some more art, and that was it. Never in a million years would I have thought that would be the last conversation I’d have with a dude who was a couple years younger than myself, but I guess that’s 2020 for you. Had I known it would be the last time we talked there is a lot more I’d of said to him (A recurring feeling this year unfortunately), but we can never know so I’ll have to settle for celebrating the amazing talent dude had any chance I can get, and I know if there is anything after this life Ralph sits at the table with Kirby, Frazetta, Moebius, and the rest of history’s best artists. Enjoy some WIP shots of the Amazing TEWOJ piece below, and the finished cover to issue #3. Do yourself a favor, and go find any of this man’s art you can, and soak your eyeballs in the glory of it. While the world lost a bright talent we’re all better for having witnessed it. Ralph Niese 1983-Infinty a true legend.

2 thoughts on “Remembering Ralph Niese 1983-Infinity

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