Rick first appeared in 1954 featuring in issue 37 of the pocket digest series, Super Detective Library. His first adventure was called 'Crime Rides The Spaceways', a pulp sci-fi tale which involved a mysterious gloved serial killer loose aboard the space passenger ship, 'Stellar'.
With the growing popularity of comic book space heroes like Dan Dare in the glossy Eagle , and Captain Condor in the less ambitious Lion comic ,Edward Holmes, the editor of Super Detective Library needed to create a space hero that fitted into his crime themed title.
So Rick Random was born. A cigarette smoking space detective working for the Interplanetary Bureau of Investigation during the 2040's. The tone was set by Edward Holmes and Conrad Frost, with art by Bill Lacey and Reg Bunn.
However, the series was at it's best when Holmes used writers Harry Harrison and Canadian Bob Kesten, along with the master of science fiction imagery, artist Ron Turner. (Strangely, although Ron illustrated many Rick Random comic strips he only did one cover - The Case of The Space Bubble,)
Ron's bold chiaroscuro style of using stark black and white contrasts gave the strip that film noir look, and his incredible imagination made for fantastic images.
Rick's adventures continued until 1959. His final story for Super Detective Library was issue 163: The Kidnapped Planet.
In Kidnapped Planet, Rick resigns from the Interplanetary Bureau of Investigation, but, naturally all is not what it seems.
The final panel of The Kidnapped Planet. The I.B.I. wants Rick back to work, but Rick is looking forward to a nice long vacation.
Over the next few years Rick got his fair share of reprints in various publication, sometimes with a change of name. Here he is in a Valiant Picture Library digest book as Nick Martin -Space Detective. This was actually a reprint with a different cover of Rick Random's Perilous Mission.
In 1978, a 2000A.D. comic Sci-Fi Special reprinted the Rick Random story S..O.S. From Space.
It must have been well received, as in May 1979, 2000 A.D.did a brand new six part story featuring Rick Random, with five of the instalments being illustrated by original artist, Ron Turner.
Rick Random and The Riddle of The Astral Assassin is the last story to feature the space detective, bringing the total Rick Random stories to 28. This script was written by Steve Moore, and as I said previously, Ron Turner did the art for the first five instalments, with the final part drawn by Carlos Ezquerra using the pen name L.J.Silver.
Also worth a mention is this book of 10 Rick Random reprints from Super Detective Library edited by Steve Holland which was released in 2008. It does feature the first story, retitled 'Killer in Space', as well as the final SDL story 'Kidnapped Planet'. For anyone who wants to get the flavour of the worlds of Rick Random, this is the place to start.