Friday, July 25, 2014

Number 1609: Russ Heath,“The Executioner”

“The Executioner” has beautiful artwork, and a real feeling of the setting and time, Chicago, 1928. Russ Heath drew this violent crime tale.

The most jarring aspect of the tale is that it was published in Creepy magazine. Not that a stone killer isn’t creepy in his own right, but we expect more of the supernatural from that magazine. I assume Russ’s bona fides as one of the premier comic artists in the industry had something to do with its inclusion. Heath is credited with the story, although either he or the editor didn’t feel he was up to the task of dialogue, because they handed that to Cary Bates.

From Creepy #92 (1977):

Pappy’s enters its ninth year

July 26, 2006 was the day I launched this blog, and as I’ve said before, I did not intend for it to go on this long. The reason it does is because I can still find things that inspire me to share. I guess as long as that is the case, or until I cannot physically do it any longer, I believe I will keep doing what I have been doing.

I was told when I was a kid that I did not have the patience to complete projects, and my critics were right. I guess I grew out of that short attention span (and got on good meds). I managed to hold down the same job for 32 1/2 years before I retired, and I’ve been blogging on a regular schedule for a few years, so to all those people who said I could not do it, HAH! What a burner on you, huh? (Quoting Clark Bent to Lois Pain, from Mad #4.)

When I’ve had some time, I have been going back to my early posts to get rid of the connection I had to Photobucket in the early years. Blogger did not offer much free bandwidth in those days, and I figured I could make up for it by also using Photobucket. But I see there are some links that don’t work because I exceeded the space Photobucket made available to me. It has been a slow process re-doing the old posts, and for a time I was re-editing them. That is an advantage when using the Internet, where unlike print I can go back and change something that now embarrasses me. But after a few of those I thought why do it? If it is an egregious error I can fix it, but the everyday things I said back when this blog was young, embarrassing or not, are part of the record. Besides, I got lazy; it was too much trouble to fix it. Re-doing the old posts is a time consuming task, and I will work on it when I can, but for now if you encounter a dead link, just wait a couple of years. I might get around to fixing it.

A tip of the Pap cap to those readers who have stuck with me so far. Thank you!


Martin OHearn said...

In 1975 Heath had a war story in Atlas/Seaboard's b&w Thrilling Adventure Stories 1 and a crime story in issue 2. This could have been meant for number 3, but of course Atlas didn't last that long.

Brian Barnes said...

It's not unexpected for Warren at that moment. Creepy (and Eerie, and Vampirella) started out as straight EC style horror with a little sci-fi and sword and sorcery, but by the time we were at Creepy 92 it had gotten really experimental.

Eerie was full of very Marvel-ish horror superheroes, I think Warren even advertised them as "our heroes can die!" or something like that, showing their continuing but limited nature. There was a lot more sci-fi and a lot of really densely artistic tales.

That time in Warren is interesting. A lot of great but work cheap foreign artists, some with interesting styles, and a lot of different stories. It's really a grab bag, though, as the results can be great or downright puzzling.

The art is just gorgeous. He also did some great work for Atlas.

Keir said...

Even though you knew where the story was going from the first page, still an engaging effort. Cheers for sharing

Pappy said...

Brian, I must've picked up this issue of Creepy for some reason; I wasn't a regular buyer. It might be because it had Severin, Corben and Heath, but it also has some nice work by Luis Bermejo and Leo Duranona. But there could be another reason.

In 1977 when this came out I was working part-time at a large full-service book store which had a comic book section. It was my job to grade, price and do the ads for The Buyer's Guide for Comics Fandom for the back issues and the Golden Age comics. Occasionally when my coworkers were busy I straightened up the magazine and comic racks. We sold underground comix and the guys on the cash registers knew not to sell those to kids, but Creepy and Eerie and Vampirella, eh. What the hell, sell 'em to anyone! Looking through this issue I see bare boobs, and this might have been the issue a mad mom had in her hand when she stormed at me for "selling pornography to children." Apparently her junior high-age son had bought an evil Creepy from us and she found it. I gave her money back and it might be that's why I own it now. I remembered pulling $1.75 out of my pocket and giving it to her. I knew the guys in front would just tell her to scram and I didn't want her going off and finding a cop to bust us all.

Hah. Days in the comic book trade.

Pappy said...

Martin, thanks. Your explanation sounds logical and reasonable.

rnigma said...

I recall that Heath and Bates collaborated on the revival of the Lone Ranger newspaper strip that tied in with the 1980 movie (which, poor as it was, was better than that thing with Johnny Depp).

Pappy said...

rnigma, I don't recall the Lone Ranger comic strip; it wasn't carried in my local daily.

I avoid Lone Ranger movies. I am set in my ways. "My" Lone Ranger was and always will be Clayton Moore. I also give credit to Jay Silverheels for giving some dignity to Tonto, despite his mangled English.

Mike Britt said...

Gorgeous art is absolutely correct! Heath is so precise and confident in his art that you hardly see any white-out corrections in the originals. I am pleased to say that I do own a Heath original, a single page from the Rocketeer movie adaptation comic.

The Sanity Inspector said...

I do miss Creepy, Eerie and the other Warren comics from my spacey adolescence.