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    Rangeland Love 01 Rangeland Love 02 Romances of the West 01 Romances of the West 02

    Western Life Romances 01 Western Life Romances 02

     

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Cowboy Romances #1-3 (Oct 1949 - March 1950).

Cowgirl Romances #28 (Jan. 1950) continued from Jeanie Comics.

Love Trails #1 (Dec. 1949).

Rangeland Love #1-2 (Dec. 1949 - March 1950).

Romances of the West #1-2 (Nov. 1949 - March 1950).

Western Life Romances #1-2 (Dec. 1949 - March 1950).Rangeland Love #2

Russ Heath (born September 29, 1926) is an American artist best known for his comic book work - particularly his DC Comics war stories for several decades and his 1960s art for Playboy magazine's Little Annie Fanny featurettes - and for his commercial art, two pieces of which, depicting Roman and Revolutionary War battle scenes for toy soldier sets, became familiar bits of Americana after gracing the back covers of countless comic books from the early 1960s to early 1970s. Heath's drawing of a fighter jet being blown up, in DC Comics' All American Men of War #89 (Feb. 1962), was the basis for pop artist Roy Lichtenstein's 1963 oil painting Whaam!.

Heath was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2009.

Raised in New Jersey as an only child, Russ Heath at an early age became interested in drawing. "My father used to be a cowboy, so as a little kid I was influenced by Western artists of the time. Will James was one, an artist-writer—I had most of his books. Charlie Russell was my favorite because his work was absolutely authentic, because he drew what he lived..." Largely self-taught, Heath began freelancing for comics during summers while he was in high school, inking the naval feature "Hammerhead Hawley," drawn by penciler Charles Quinlan in Holyoke Publishing' Captain Aero Comics.

While spending several weeks arranging appointments with artists for an assistant's job, Heath was hired as an office "gofer" for the large Manhattan advertising agency Benton & Bowles, earning $35 weekly. He continued looking for work as an artist on his lunch hour, and in 1947, landed a $75-a-week staff position at Timely Comics, the 1940s predecessor of Marvel Comics. Initially working in the Timely offices, Heath, like some of the other staffers, soon found it more efficient to work at home. The artist said in 2004 he believed his first work for Timely was a Western story featuring the Two-Gun Kid. Historians have tentatively identified a Kid Colt story in the omnibus series Wild Western #4 (Nov. 1948); the second Two-Gun Kid story in Two-Gun Kid #5 (Dec. 1948), "Guns Blast in Thunder Pass;" and the Two-Gun Kid story in Wild Western #5 (Dec. 1948), while confirming Heath art on the Kid Colt story that same issue. Heath's first superhero story is tentatively identified as the seven-page Witness story, "Fate Fixed a Fight," in Captain America Comics #71 (March 1949).

Russ HeathTimely let virtually its entire staff goes in 1948 because of an industry downturn. By then, Heath had gone freelance, doing art both for Timely and for advertising agencies.

Heath drew a corral-full of Western stories for such Timely comics as Wild Western, All Western Winners, Arizona Kid, Black Rider, Western Outlaws, and Reno Browne, Hollywood's Greatest Cowgirl. As Timely evolved into Marvel's 1950s iteration, known as Atlas Comics, Heath expanded into other genres. He drew the December 1950 premiere of the two-issue superhero series Marvel Boy, as well as scattered science fiction anthology stories (in Venus, Journey Into Unknown Worlds, and Men's Adventures); crime drama (Justice); horror stories and covers (Adventures into Terror, Marvel Tales, Menace, Mystic, Spellbound, Strange Tales, Uncanny Tales, the cover of Journey into Mystery #1), satiric humor (Wild, Mad), and war stories.

Heath produced combat stories both for the wide line of Timely war titles and the first issue (Aug. 1951) of EC Comics' celebrated Frontline Combat. Heath later did the first of many decades' worth of war work for DC Comics, with Our Army at War #23 and Star Spangled War Stories #22, both cover-dated June 1954.

Other 1950s work includes an issue of 3-D Comics from St. John Publications and "The Return of the Human Torch" (minus the opening page, drawn by character-creator Carl Burgos) in Young Men #24 (Dec. 1953), the flagship of Atlas' ill-fated effort to revive superheroes, which had fallen out of fashion in the post-war U.S.Western Life Romances #2

Russ Heath co-created with writer-editor Robert Kanigher the feature "The Haunted Tank", which headlined many issues of DC Comics' G.I. Combat. Also with Kanigher, Heath co-created and drew the first issues of DC's Sea Devils, about a team of scuba-diving adventurers. Heath's drawing of a fighter jet being blown up, in DC Comics' All American Men of War #89 (Feb. 1962), was the basis for pop artist Roy Lichtenstein's 1962 oil paintings Whaam and Blam. Sometime in the 1960s, Heath drew two pieces of commercial art that became familiar bits of Americana after gracing the back covers of countless comic books through the early 1970s. Advertisements for toy soldier sets, they depicted Roman and Revolutionary War battle scenes. As Heath described in a 2000s interview:"I got fifty bucks for those two separate pages. ... A lot of people didn't know I did them because [the client] didn't want them signed. I did have a small "RH" on the lower left-hand corner of the Revolutionary soldiers and I don't remember about the Roman soldiers. Then [customers] would blame me [when the actual toys were not as depicted]; I'd never seen the damned things, because they're like a bas relief or whatever they call it. They're not fully formed, not three dimensional. It would be flat things that were shaped a little and the kids felt gypped and they figured that it was my fault".

Heath was one of the artists who sometimes assisted Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder on their regular Playboy strip "Little Annie Fanny". Writer Mark Evanier described Heath making the most of one such assignment: "One time when deadlines were nearing meltdown, Harvey Kurtzman called Heath in to assist in a marathon work session at the Playboy Mansion in Chicago. Russ flew in and was given a room there, and spent many days aiding Kurtzman and artist Will Elder in getting one installment done of the strip. When it was completed, Kurtzman and Elder left...but Heath just stayed. And stayed. And stayed some more. He had a free room as well as free meals whenever he wanted them from Hef's 24-hour kitchen. He also had access to whatever young ladies were lounging about...so he thought, 'Why leave?' He decided to live there until someone told him to get out...and for months, no one did. Everyone just kind of assumed he belonged there. It took quite a while before someone realized he didn't and threw him and his drawing table out".

Heath has provided cover art for comic-book publisher Aardvark-Vanaheim's glamourpuss #11-13 (Jan.-May 2010).

Cowboy Romances #2