Saturday, April 11, 2009
Russ Heath and Atlas Comics
Atlas-Timely Comics (the name of the publisher changed from one to the other) was/were the precursor of Marvel Comics before the superhero boom of the 1960s took hold. During the 1950s, Atlas published the gamut of genres -- westerns, war, horror, crime, romance, humor, you name it.
Among the many great artists who appeared in these books was Russ Heath. He would really make his mark in DC's war comics during the 1960s -- particularly with The Haunted Tank series -- and with the Sea Devils comic. A few years back, he inked a Shadow graphic novel published by Marvel, 1941: Hitler's Astrologer.
Heath has a remarkable style that combines clean lines, realism, and the expressionist traits of Joe Kubert. This is particular evident in his war comics, but one can see traces in his great western work for Atlas-Timely as well.
The Golden Age Comic Book Stories blog recently featured a scan of a Russ Heath-drawn cover for Frontier Western (Issue No. 5, October 1956). It's followed by stories drawn by the great Reed Crandall, Jack Davis, and covers by Joe Maneely.
You'll find the Russ Heath cover heading the rest of the items in the post here: