Friday, January 01, 2010

If You Can't Stand The Heath, Stay Out Of The Blog

Friday Comic Book Day.

Last week, one of my visitors commented on the Russ Heath story included in my Stan Lee post. If you only know Heath from his war stories for DC or his later work for other publishers, you know onlypart of the story. After doing mostly western work for Stan Lee at Timely in the late forties, he found his style in the early fifties and went on to do loads of terrific work for their horror and war titles. Like most artists he was pushed to make his work slicker (with the effect of making it duller). But at Timely all artists were allowed to find their own identity, just as they were at EC. Only Stan Lee was first. When all bullpen artists were sent home in 1950, the old system where artists and inkers were automaticly seperated, was abandonned and artists were allowed to ink their own work. Not all did and some of them still had their pencils inked by inkers of the editor's choice. Others hired their own inkers. But more than a few inked their own and showed their brilliance all through the fifties. Russ Heath was one of them. His earlier work was looser than his later work at DC, mostly because he didn't rely that much on photo realism, but also because his inkline was a lot more lively than it would become. Add to that the fact that the coloring in this period of Timely/Atlas' history was terrific and the stories (especially the war stories) were a lot more rough around the edges, allowing Heath to do some impressive character work.

I have compiled a few samples, but there is a ot more. After all, Russ Heath was one of the most prolific of all Timely/Atlas' artists. If you go to the Atlas Tales website, you'll see that he did a huge amount of pages every month as well as deliver some of the most inpressive covers. The horror covers were especially good, with their little vignetees on the side (that Heath had to do on his own, using only the story titles as a starting point). I talked to Mr. Heath about those horror covers when I visited him three years ago and I wil devote a special ost to that at a later point.

I am starting with a few covers, none of which would have been used at DC. The third one is a bit dull, until you notice the flame thrower. This is when war was still fun, you know. The last story is from a book I have been looking for for a couple of years. It is one of the most silly and rare Timely books, an effort to try and do something different. Single copies start at $50, if you can find them. So inagine my surprise when I ran across a scanned copy, even though some pages (including the ones used here) were less than pristine.

Russ Heath did some of his most remarkable work for some of the Mad magazine imitations of the late fifties (including Stan Lee's Snafu). I hope to finish my histery of hte Mad comic imitations with an equal part bout the magazines and when I do, there will be lot's of rarely see art to go with it.

Apache Kid #11:

Battlefield #8:

Man Comics #15:

Marines in Battle #1:

Frontier Western #5:

Man Comics #21:

Man Comics #18:

Man Comics #17:

Battle #14:

World Greatest Songs Illustrated #1:

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