Tony Millionaire was born Scott Richardson in 1956. He was born in Boston, but grew up in Gloucester, the seaside town made famous by the film, THE PERFECT STORM.
His father was a commercial illustrator and his mother and grandparents were painters. The whole family encouraged Millionaire to draw from an early age. His grandfather was a friend of the cartoonist Roy Crane, and had a large collection of old Sunday comics, from which Millionaire exacted enormous inspiration. He drew his first comic strip, "about an egg-shaped superhero who flew around talking about how great he was and then crashing into a cliff," when he was nine. During high school, Millionaire continued to amuse himself drawing comic strips.
Millionaire majored in painting at the Massachusetts College of Art, but left without graduating. After college, he moved around a bit, living in California, Florida and Italy, before settling in Berlin for five years. Returning to the US in the early '90s, he moved to Brooklyn. There, he began drawing a regular comic strip, MEDEA’S WEEKEND for the newsweekly WATERFRONT WEEK.
Then one night at a local bar, Millionaire drew a cartoon about a little bird that drank liquor and blew his brains out on a napkin. That bird became his best known character, Drinky Crow. The bartender encouraged him, offering him a free beer for each new cartoon he completed. After doing a number of these cocktail napkin drawings, Millionaire began drawing more finished versions for publication in various magazines, including HAPPYLAND, NINNY and MURTAUGH along with Al Goldstein’s controversial tabloid, SCREW. Eventually the NEW YORK PRESS asked him to draw a weekly strip, and in 1994 MAAKIES made its debut, eventually moving on to THE VILLAGE VOICE.
Millionaire is also the writer and artist of SOCK MONKEY, a series of comics and picture books. He has also occasionally contributed to anthologies including BIZARRO COMICS, STAR WARS TALES, DIRTY STORIES and LEGAL ACTION COMICS. One can also find his illustrations in many leading venues including THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, THE NEW YORK TIMES and THE NEW YORKER.
In 2006, Fantagraphics published his graphic novel, BILLY HAZELNUTS and he is currently working on a children's book to be published by Hyperion Press.
The seaside settings of much of Millionaire's work draw inspiration from his childhood memories of his grandparents' nautical artwork and his home as well as the novels of Patrick O’Brian. As far as artistic influences go, many of Millionaire's fans see a similarity in his pen & inks to the work of E.C. Segar.
When asked why he uses a pseudonym, Millionaire maintains that he doesn’t, and that "Tony Millionaire" is his true legal name. He has claims that his surname is an Old French word meaning "a person who owns a thousand serfs." Skeptics trace the origin of the name "Tony Millionaire" to a character in an episode of the television program, “I Dream of Jeannie.”