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BLAM : Original Source

Original Artist: Russ Heath


Russell Heath was born in New York in 1926, and did his first comic work on 'Hammerhead Hawley' at the age of sixteen. In 1946, he was employed by Timely, where he began drawing for several different genres of strips. His best work was on Westerns, especially 'Arizona Kid' and 'Kid Colt Outlaw', which stood out for their realistic artwork and details. Other genres Russ Heath drew were love stories, science-fiction and adventure, such as 'Mad' and 'Frontline Combat' for EC Comics. In 1950, he joined National, where he worked on the full range of comic book features, among which were 'Silent Knight', 'Sgt. Rock', 'Sea Devils' and 'Golden Gladiator'.Apart from his own comic work, Heath assisted other artists, such as George Wunder on 'Terry and the Pirates', Dan Barry on 'Flash Gordon' and Kurtzman and Elder on 'Little Annie Fanny'. In 1981, Heath did his first newspaper strip, a revived version of 'The Lone Ranger' for the New York Times Syndicate. After this folded in 1984, Russ Heath devoted most of his time to animated cartoons.


Mark Evanier put it well:

When Lichtenstein replicated a Russ Heath comic book panel, he was selling a visual that Heath conceived and transferred to paper, but doing so with neither credit nor payment to Heath. That Lichtenstein's work has a standalone merit is not, I think, in dispute. Though I suspect his popularity was based more on a transitory fad than on substance. People did buy his work and cram into galleries to view it. Apparently, they still do, so I wouldn't question that he did make people look at something from a new perspective.I just feel he crossed the line between taking inspiration from an existing source and passing someone else's work off as his own.

Art Historian David Barsalou even put out an exhibit of the original panels Roy copied ,albeit digitally converted to mimic the sizes R.L reproduced his canvases at!

Russell Heath, Jr. (born September 29, 1926, New York City, New York) 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 highly familiar bits of Americana after gracing the back covers of countless comic books from the early 1960s to early '70s.


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 painting Blam.


Russell Heath, Jr. (born September 29, 1926, New York City, New York) 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 highly familiar bits of Americana after gracing the back covers of countless comic books from the early 1960s to early '70s.



Early life and career

One version of Russ Heath's famous Roman Soldiers ad that appeared for years on the backs of comic books in the 1960s and '70s

One version of Russ Heath's famous "Roman Soldiers" ad that appeared for years on the backs of comic books in the 1960s and '70s


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 &mdash: I had most of his books. Charlie Russell was my favorite because his work was absolutely authentic, because he drew what he lived...."[1] Largely self-taught, Heath began freelancing for comics during one or two summers while he was in high school, inking the naval feature "Hammerhead Hawley", drawn by penciler Charles Quinlan in Holyoke Publications' Captain Aero Comics.


It is unclear if Heath, anxious to fight in World War II, graduated high school; in a 2004 interview, he recalls going "into the Air Force in my senior year of high school, in 1945," after having been "put in an accelerated class so I could get through with high school. I almost made it, but then the Air Force called me and in I went".[2] He served stateside for nine months, drawing cartoons for his camp newspaper, but due to a clerical error, he said, he was on neither the military payroll nor any official duty roster for a significant portion of his time. Upon his discharge, he lived at home on a one-year military stipend of $20 a week before working as a lifeguard at a swim club, where he met his future wife.


While spending several weeks arranging appointments with artists, seeking 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 artist work on his lunch hour, and in 1947, landed a $75 a week staff position at Timely Comics, the 1940s predecessor of Marvel Comics. While initially working in the Timely offices, Heath, like some of the other staffers, soon found it more efficient to work at home. He and his new wife had been living at his parents' home, and continued to do so for two more years while saving money for their own house; by the mid-1960s, however, they'd had children and were divorced.[3]


The artist said in 2004[3] he believed his initial 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).[4]


Timely let virtually all of its staff go in 1948 during an industry downtown. By then or before, Heath had gone freelance, doing art both for Timely and for ad agencies.


[edit] The 1950s

Heath's cover of Uncanny Tales #48 (Oct. 1956), with duplicate images and saturated color unusual for the time and medium.

Heath's cover of Uncanny Tales #48 (Oct. 1956), with duplicate images and saturated color unusual for the time and medium.


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), and — ironically given his short stateside military service — the genre that would become his specialty, war stories.


Heath produced a plethora of combat stories both for the wide line of Timely war titles but also for 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 story "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 postwar U.S.


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.


Russ Heath was among the recipients of Comic-Con International's Inkpot Award in 1997.

Howard Chaykin on Heath: " of the gods of comics".[5]

* World Talk Radio: Comic Zone (Oct. 18, 2005): Russ Heath



1. ^ The Pulse (April 27, 2005): "Comic Giants: The Russ Heath Interview

2. ^ Russ Heath interview, Alter Ego Vol. 3, #40 (Sept. 2004), p. 3

3. ^ a b Alter Ego, Ibid., p. 23

4. ^ The Grand Comics Database: Russ Heath (chronological search results)

5. ^ Pop Culture Shock (May 26, 2006): "Addicted to Comics" (column) #7: "Howard Chaykin Speaks on Legend and Russ Heath", by Jim Salicrup




* Lambiek Comiclopedia: Russ Heath

* Russ Heath interview (excerpted online), Comic Book Artist Special


Retrieved from ""


Categories: American comics artists | Golden Age comics creators | 1


All The Code You Never Gave Me

deconstructing art

Thursday, February 8, 2007, 01:50 PM - Copyfight


Boston News published a comment on the looping issue of Lichtenstein's use of foreign artwork, mostly comic artwork from DC Comics. It is called Lichtenstein, creator or copycat?:

Art teacher David Barsalou has an interesting avocation. He has found and catalog ed almost every comic book panel later blown up and sold for megabucks by 1960s POP Art icon Roy Lichtenstein. So far, Barsalou has about 140. You will see a sample on this page, or go to his website, Deconstructing Roy Lichtenstein.


Color me naive, but I never thought Lichtenstein's work was a direct copy of scenes from comic books. I assumed that he stylized certain scenes suggested by the comic vernacular of the 1950s and 1960s. ``He tried to make it seem as though he was making major compositional changes in his work, but he wasn't," says Barsalou, who teaches at the High School of Commerce in Springfield. ``The critics are of one mind that he made major changes, but if you look at the work , he copied them almost verbatim. Only a few were original."

"Barsalou is boring to us," comments Jack Cowart, executive director of the Lichtenstein Foundation. He contests the notion that Lichtenstein was a mere copyist: "Roy's work was a wonderment of the graphic formulae and the codification of sentiment that had been worked out by others. Barsalou's thesis notwithstanding, the panels were changed in scale, color, treatment, and in their implications. There is no exact copy."

There is no exact copy. Eddie Campbell also writes a handsome post where he expains, among other things, the value of the actual process in the art production:

Showing them side by side like this is useful for an understanding of the iconographic connections, but it does miss the essence of the exercise, that is that Lichtenstein took a tiny picture, smaller than the palm of the hand, printed in four color inks on newsprint and blew it up to the conventional size at which 'art' is made and exhibited and finished it in paint on canvas. In theory it was like painting a view of a building, or a vase. He worked through a long series of the same kind of thing before applying the particular treatments he had devised, such as the mechanical dots, to other kinds of images, ultimately including abstract images as in the brushstroke series. I find his whole project quite astonishing and invigorating. It was good for art. Hell, it was even good for the comic book medium, setting a precedent for it to be taken seriously. Cambell's post is stuffed with interesting sideviews, including a suggestion from his comment system, Historically, copying the Masters was considered to be a part of the painter’s training, not the final product . . .


Russ Heath

Interview with the Artist on His DC War Comics Duty

Conducted by Jon B. Cooke

Transcribed by Jon B. Knutson


From Comic Book Artist Special Edition


It is legend that in the early '70s, when a new job would arrive at the DC offices from Russ' Chicago studio, all work would stop, and the bullpen would wait in nervous anticipation as the package was unwrapped, so they could be the first to see the latest opus from a master.


In a comic con program book, renowned writer/editor Archie Goodwin wrote in his tribute to Russ: "Artist's artist. That's something you read somewhere. I haven't heard anyone in comics actually say it. What I do hear said is: 'You see what that crazy bastard Heath did this month?' And everyone stops and looks at the new 'Sgt. Rock' and shakes their head. Then they go back to their drawing boards or their typewriters or wherever, and maybe they work a little longer, try a little harder. And maybe it has nothing to do with a crazy bastard like Russ Heath. But maybe it does."


After over 50 years in the industry, Russ is still hard at work producing glorious work, and he continues to be our inspiration. Look for a special tribute issue in the coming year. The artist was interviewed on July 22, 1999, and he copyedited the transcript.


COMIC BOOK ARTIST: While you worked for Timely/Atlas with Stan Lee, were you looking to get a gig at DC?


RUSS HEATH: Well, the business in those days, it used to be up one year and down the next, and so on - sometimes a lot worse, and sometimes not so bad - but there was a big break around 1950, somewhere in there, and I ended up doing some of Joe Kubert's 3-D book, Tor. And then I went over to DC and showed my stuff to Bob Kanigher, and he gave me a war story to draw.


CBA: How did you get hooked up with Kubert? Was it through Joe, or his partner, Norm Maurer?


RUSS: Well, they were working together at St. John's offices, and I was going everywhere - I had a list of 15 places to go - and I went over there, and I talked to Norm first. As I'm about to open my portfolio, Kubert walks in and says, "He doesn't have to show that. He's okay." Which was very flattering!


CBA: Was "Golden Gladiator" [from The Brave and the Bold] your first DC work?


RUSS: The first was a war story, I think it was a winter story about ice and then, when I finished that one, I got another one. . . I'm not sure of the order of when the "Golden Gladiator" thing. . .


CBA: Were stories being tailored to you? Did you have particular strengths that Bob Kanigher saw?


RUSS: Well, they'd start you on a feature. I did some "Robin Hood," and some "Golden Gladiator." It's like, "All right, you've done the 'Golden Gladiator,' and we've got this stuff on hand, so we'll give you some 'Robin Hood.'"


CBA: As part of Bob's group of artists, were you exclusively on his books?


RUSS: It wasn't by design; you were just working for him, and someone else was working for Julie Schwartz.


CBA: Did you hang out at all with any of the other Kanigher regulars, like Mort Drucker or Gene Colan?


RUSS: Mort was so tied up with MAD magazine. I did hang around with Ross Andru, and we became good friends. I had lunch with Ross about once a week - sometimes his wife would come along - I was usually with a girlfriend, and the four of us would go.


CBA: Were Ross' pencils something to marvel at? Were you particularly a fan of his stuff? Because I always hear artists raving about Ross Andru's pencils.


RUSS: I liked some of the things that they did, but I was more of an illustrator than a cartoonist. Someone like Shelley Moldoff always had a comic approach - like [Fawcett's] Captain Marvel - whereas I was trying to be an illustrator. I read that Moldoff interview in The Comics Journal [#214] and I realized that he was saying the way they drew Batman in the old days, was better than the guys who are doing it now for animation - it was a better take on the character, because it was a comic approach.


CBA: In the late '50s, for a long period of time in their war books, DC was doing basically short stories, and then they started to do series. I think they started with "Sgt. Rock."


RUSS: "The Haunted Tank" started somewhere in there, too.


CBA: Exactly. Were you looking to do a regular strip, or did it just fall in your lap?


RUSS: I didn't like "The Haunted Tank" [in G.I. Combat] as much, although I probably didn't say so - it wasn't good business policy to be negative about anything. You don't know what it does if the writer hears that, and he doesn't want to write for you anymore. You kept your mouth shut. "The Haunted Tank" I liked less because there was always the same four characters - J.E.B. Stuart plus his three buddies - virtually the same story every issue: He'd be talking to this ghost, over and over again. I couldn't believe kids kept wanting to look at it.


CBA: You did hundreds of pages of "The Haunted Tank," didn't you?


RUSS: Yeah, it was probably the longest thing I did.


CBA: And you did that strip for 10 years?


RUSS: I don't know, I have no idea of the years. In those days, in the early days, and before that, it was like "That was my job," and the guy who lives next door is a butcher, and you go off to work, and you worked fast. It wasn't like having a career; it was what you did. And you had a little control over your wages by how many pages you could turn out. A lot of the guys tried to turn it out as fast as possible, and did, but I felt they became hack artists, and I was afraid I'd become a hack, and I wouldn't be able to do good stuff. So, I decided I wasn't going to go for the gold.


CBA: What was your dream at the time? Was it you wanted to remain good, and just didn't want to be like so many other artists who'd churn out pages and maximize their productivity? What were you holding out for?


RUSS: It's like that time I did that story for Blazing Combat, "Give and Take." [For a detailed interview on Heath's Warren work, see CBA #4.] All the guys working on that book who were my peers were doing excellent work. I knew I had to work to the best of my ability against that quality. So, I worked my ass off on that one story in particular, which turned out to be what many people think is the best story in that issue. It's ironic, and I guess it was just happenstance, but everybody turned in a great job on that issue [#4].


CBA: You said in an earlier interview that while you were doing Sea Devils you spent time with a young lady who was going to art school, and she influenced you?


RUSS: She'd been to three art schools, and she moved in with me. I had gotten sick of going over and getting her clothes, and I said, "Why the hell don't you just bring all your clothes over here?" So we set up dual drawing boards. She had no experience, and her work leaned more towards fashion, but she was good at it. She wasn't into comics. But if you go to art school, and you learn some of the rules, like negative space....


CBA: That rubbed off onto you?


RUSS: Yeah, I had no concept of negative space. Once I realized what it was, I could tell what was wrong with my stuff. Before, it was accidental. This panel worked, that one didn't, and I didn't know why.


CBA: Did you do an enormous amount of research before that?


RUSS: Well, from the time I was a kid, my father used to take me to all these Western movies. On Saturday mornings, they'd have these serials, like Tom Mix, and my father, having been a cowboy, would point things out to me and say, "Oh, no cowboy in his right mind would wear a boot with a heel like that," or "The spurs are on wrong." So, I felt I should try to convince the readers that I knew what I was drawing. And I'd better get it right! Of course, illustrators use a lot of photo research, and of course, you have to know how to interpret the photo; you can't just copy it.


CBA: How did Sea Devils develop? Was that Bob Kanigher's book?


RUSS: Yeah. I guess I was there from the first issue. It started in Showcase, then it got its own book, and I guess I did about 10 or 12 covers and interiors. Whether the covers exactly paralleled the interiors, or what, I can't recall.


CBA: Did you feel you were going to town with the covers? Because they certainly looked it.


RUSS: Yeah, I was trying. I'm paying for it now in doing re-creations! That one with the sunken ship, you know, and some of them were so complicated... almost painted. I just finished a complicated one - it's fun doing them right, like the way the should have been done, and the way they should have been colored, because I didn't have control of the coloring when I initially did the covers. In 98% of all the work I did, I had no color input at all. Color is so important. The colorists weren't artists, and didn't appreciate lighting, using white. They were afraid if they brought it in and something was white, it was like you were lazy and not coloring the whole thing.


CBA: If memory serves, there was some interesting processes used on a number of your covers.


RUSS: The gray tones? Yeah, well, they found it was too expensive to do full-color separations, and they wanted to head in that direction, so they felt if they added tone, they could do it that way. It wasn't such a great idea. You mix gray with a color, and you get mud. It was terribly dull....


Possibly Russ's epitome as one of DC's finest war artists: The double-page splash to "Easy's First Tiger," Our Army at War #244. This also features a very rare turn of Russ as writer. Courtesy of the artist. ©1999 DC Comics, Inc.


CBA: Did you enjoy working on Sea Devils?


RUSS: Well, there were positives and negatives; it certainly was a lot better because of the background - or lack thereof. Underwater, everything could be... you know, you can't make a lump of coral too big or too small, it was whatever you drew it as. Whereas if you're drawing a goddamn building, you know, you'd go crazy. One thing I didn't want to do was stories based in Manhattan. So, with Westerns, the buildings were rough-hewn and didn't have to have all the straight lines, because the more they wiggled, the more authentic they looked. So, it was very good in that sense. But, the four people in Sea Devils would drive you nuts, because you can't draw four people in every panel, or you can't do an arm reaching into the panel to represent two of them, and then draw two of them. I mean, it was a real dumb thing, and of course, if you divide your heroes by four, each one only has one-fourth of the value - it waters it down. So, when you have a single or perhaps two people, you can do more effective storytelling. I think that's why such things as Terry and the Pirates would go on for a year-and-a-half with just Terry, or a year- and-a-half with just Pat... some with both of them, just because it's so hard to do a story about a herd of people. I had taught SCUBA-diving, I got compliments about the attitudes of the bodies and so forth. It was fairly convincing, having done it myself. I knew what a swimmer looked like.


CBA: And there were good sales from the war stories, that got him to make an attempt adding Pterodactyls and other dinosaurs?


RUSS: Yeah, all that kind of crazy stuff. What was really something else was that they passed these edicts down, and you haven't been there in two weeks, and "Oh, did you hear about the new rule? All the GI's are supposed to have stubble beards." And you'd go in two weeks later, and "Oh, did you hear the new rule? No more stubble beards." So I figured, they don't know what they want, I'm just going to draw it the way I want to. Nobody ever said anything. Sometimes in the Kanigher stories, he'd have a lot of things like the tank hidden in a hay-stack, and throwing the grenade down the muzzle of the tank, and stuff like that which appeared multiple times in different stories. I would - maybe to get more room if it didn't conflict with the storyline - ignore the redundant scenes and spread it out focusing on something else, and get more room. He either didn't care, or didn't realize I was doing that.


CBA: You took liberties with Bob's scripts, eh?


RUSS: I don't know how he'll take the news.


CBA: He had a notorious reputation with a number of people as being quite an angry guy.


RUSS: We originally - way, way back, you know, before '50 - cartoonists came to work in a short-sleeved sportshirt and dress slacks. One day I went in and he's telling one artist that he's not getting the feeling of this thing, and he makes the guy get down on the floor to get the feeling right.


CBA: To get him to pose?


RUSS: To get him rolling around on the floor and I thought, "Dammit, I'm not going to do that!" So I started wearing a suit and tie. I think Gil Kane picked that up, and everybody wore a suit for a while there.


CBA: So they wouldn't have to roll on the floor?


RUSS: "I'll be damned if I'm going to get down on the floor in my good suit!"


CBA: Were some of you scared to death about working with certain editors?


RUSS: We weren't scared to death, but some of us were more religious about following rules than others, and of course, it depended on how much demand the artist was in. If a guy had a couple of weak pages, he'd be nervous. There weren't too many changes made to my stuff, and I think the better you got, if you had any intelligence, you started anticipating what an editor was going to change, so you did it the way he wanted it in the first place. To me, the most successful editor is one who hardly ever changes anything, because he's explained what he wanted so well to the artist, and the artist is bringing him what he wants.


CBA: During this same time, you were becoming a dominant war artist, along with Joe Kubert. Did you hang out with Joe at all?


RUSS: Yeah, I went out to his house a few times, and we went to a health club or something or other. And we'd go to lunch. He'd always marvel that when we'd go somewhere to have a hamburger, and I'd have a vodka tonic, a martini or something with my hamburger, and he'd have a glass of milk. "You know how much you paid? Your lunch is twice as expensive as mine." I think he thought this was idiotic - but we became good friends.


When I went to Chicago, I was working by mail, it was a different time, and a different age, and I spent almost every evening going out in my sandals and my bellbottoms, going into bars and partying, and bringing people along to party, and carrying on and so forth. That's what was going on in those days, part of the '60s. I started being late with my deadlines, and Kubert would get very justifiably angry, and I remember one time he got so mad he said, "If I had you here in New York, I'd punch you right in the face!" And I didn't blame him! In fact, that's one of the things where I started improving my stuff a lot. I was trying to make up for being late, I wanted to dazzle... if they're distracted by how neat it looked, they're not going to come down so hard on me for being late - or so I thought. Later on, they wised up, and started making longer deadlines. All that pressure disappeared, because if they knew you were usually late, they'd give you a deadline two weeks before they really needed it. Finally, I heard - I didn't realize this - but apparently, because of the lateness, I didn't get a call back... it very well could be true. But Joe and I remained good friends.


CBA: Do you remember how you got "Sgt. Rock"?


RUSS: I don't really know the facts... I'm guessing that Joe wanted to do less of it, or wanted to do more of something else. I remember the first story I did, I tried to ape his style a little bit, so there wouldn't be a sudden shock to the reader; you can see it in the first story I did. I'd do my version of his explosions. Years later, somebody said, "How does it feel to be known for not just your work, but known for 'Russ Heath explosions'?" and I thought that was kind of neat.


CBA: Marv Wolfman told of opening up a job from you and just being floored. Mark Hanerfeld remembers vividly opening up your "Easy's First Tiger" [Our Army at War #244] story, Neal Adams hovering over him, dying to look at the work.


RUSS: They'd gather around the office to see what I'd done. Archie Goodwin wrote a flattering piece about that in a convention program.


CBA: With your strength as a renderer of the female form, were you ever interested in doing a regular heroine adventure strip, like "Black Canary"? Skintight costumes look awfully good.


RUSS: Not back in those days, because most of the stuff was censored even if it happened to just look sexy. When did Wonder Woman ever look sexy? Not until the TV show.


CBA: Man, you would've done one bodacious Wonder Woman!


RUSS: They wouldn't have allowed it; if I'd drawn it like I wanted to, they wouldn't have accepted it. I stuck some stuff in the war stories here and there, like a nurse....


CBA: What would you call your high point working at DC? What was the most memorable, pleasant experience you had?


RUSS: Oh, I think when I look through the "Sgt. Rock" stories. Each one had a special deal. As much as they were alike, they were all different. I liked to interject something to make the stories more interesting, like snow... there was a story we did about blood, by having it on top of the snow, it made it different. I'd make one a rainy thing, to establish weather, instead of just hanging back in limbo, make it winter, and get a chance to draw different clothes and there was the snow effect, too. There was a "Sgt. Rock" job where he gets his voicebox temporarily cut, which was a neat winter story... there were a couple of good winter war stories.


These are just excerpts from Russ Heath's interview.


I liked how Roy Lichtenstein drew from the style of comics and made it something else, but what I realized was that the original tiny panels he was ripping off are marvelous on their own without needing to be elevated to fine art paintings! Check out Deconstructing Roy Lichtenstein to see some gorgeous panels from mid 20th century comics blown up so you can really get a look at them and their printing process. There's just something bout seeing the delicate and cheap balance of all the halftones mixtures and registration in your face like that that makes me feel the same way I do about a great, sloppy punk band live.

Posted by Leyland "Lee" DeVito at 9:25 AM

Labels: illustration


Deconstructing Lichtenstein original comic book source images of pop artist Roy Lichtenstein!"

Check it out! It's really cool. But the page will take some time to load... (lots of examples!) (via Papel Continuo)


Home > Art > Lichtenstein

Deconstructing Roy Lichtenstein © 2000



In Z*ppa we trust :: Kunst, Comics, Comic-Kunst,100,-kunst-comics-comi...




Beiträge: 1589

Wohnort: Meenz

Beitrag Verfasst am: 12 Dez 2007 9:11 Titel: Kunst, Comics, Comic-Kunst Nachricht

Hier ein neuer Thread für den ewigen Streit über den Status der Comics im Bereich der Kunst.


Auf dieser Seite werden die Bilder von Roy Lichtenstein mit den original Panels verglichen, die er als Vorlage benutzte...


Jeder kann da seine eigene Meinung haben, aber ich hätte lieber die Originale in Übergröße im Rahmen hängen, als Roys Simplifizierungen...


Eindeutig ausmachen konnte ich bei den Zeichnern der Panel-Vorlagen bisher nur John Romita Sr. und Joe Kubert... wer mehr erkennt, darf das hier gerne posten...


Deconstructing Roy Lichtenstein

This Flickr stream comparing the original comics panel Roy Lichtenstein “deconstructed” with his high art verions may just be the best such page we’ve yet seen. And where is Tony Abruzzo now, we wonder? The assembler, David Barsalou, sent us a few more links: His own Lichtenstein Project page A blog post looking at the project An article taking [...]

Deconstructing Roy Lichtenstein: Lichtenstein's pop art paintings next to the comic book originals.


posted by johannes, Friday, October 29, 2004


"Oh Brad..." Wall Art by Chris Wahl - RedBubble


Aaron Booth


Have you seen this?


As an artist I’m sure you can appreciate the superiority of the originals that Lichtenstein ripped off. At the time the original artists made squat, while Lichtenstein sold his forgeries for top dollar in galleries.


I can appreciate the idea of pop art presenting something every day and mundane in a new light, but the fact that Lichtenstein was a one trick pony who’s copies look so stiff and amateur next to the originals makes me want to rant on the internet like I am right now :)


I just can’t resist an opportunity to bitch about Lichtenstein]

Chris Wahl


Hey Aaron. I was always aware that Lichtenstein used to copy existing comic panels from romance comics. I’d never seen the side by side comparisons though. The originals were sooo much better! Thanks for posting that link.


Old Man Tom

Friday, January 14, 2005

Light-Fingered Lichtenstein

Posted by Old Man Tom at 16:51


[Via Papel Continuo]



Rasmus said...


makes me feel bad for sort of liking Lichtenstein.


There wasn't really anyone of these where he improved the drawing at all.

1/15/2005 2:13 AM Superfrankenstein said...


No... but I like him, too.

1/15/2005 2:34 AM


Loganite said...


While on the surface, I would tend to agree with the comment about Lichtenstein's work not doing much to improve the original art, improving the art was not really the point of the pop-art movement. The movement was the merging of low art (pop culture such as advertising or comic books) and traditional high art (paintings, sculpture, etc.). If Andy Warhol would have just painted a portrait of Marilyn Monroe, it would not have been pop art. Because he did so, changing colors and stylizing the features (similar to what Lichtenstein did in his benday-dot pieces), the work became part of a larger movement.

In a way, one could look at Lichtenstein as elevating the artwork in comics to be seen in the same forum as traditional high art. 1/16/2005 5:28 PM john_m_burt said...


I have always resented the dishonesty of Lichtenstein, in removing everything that was distintive and original in the artwork he worked from, to create crudely stereotyped images and offering them to the public, saying, "This is what comics are like!"

2/23/2008 1:31 AM


kylemonk says:

Brilliant. So much work has been put into this, and for a good cause. Bravo.


I saw Russ Heath at a comic book show in New York in '09. Didn't know he was having such tough times. I gave Gene Colan a couple grand after his near-death health crisis a few years ago, but now I'm not sure if Adrienne spent it on him or on something else. Doesn't matter now, because she committed suicide last year, but it's tough seeing all of the old-time great artists who worked freelance for decades without health insurance or a retirement plan, scrambling to scrape together a living.

Doug Pratt




“Before he could get back to me, he died".

Russ Heath


Russ Heath had a brush with another famous person—pop-art painter Roy Lichtenstein.

In the 1960s, Lichtenstein gained fame by reproducing comic book panels as giant canvases, adding large “Ben-Day dots” to his work, similar to the comic print registration dots. Lichtenstein’s paintings have sold for millions of dollars, while the artists he swiped from received zero. Some have hailed Lichtenstein as a modern art master who brought the gutter-art of comic books into the rarefied air of the “legitimate” art world. Some deride Lichtenstein as a common thief.

Lichtenstein’s signature work is titled “BLAM,” an image of a fighter jet being blown apart in mid-air. As you might imagine, came from a Russ Heath story published in DC Comics’. The original sold for over $4 million. Hell, 1967-era prints of “BLAM” have sold for as much as $23,000. Russ Heath is surprisingly not bitter. Or at least he wouldn’t be if he had just got that glass of wine.

“They exhibited it at the Museum of Modern Art when I was living in New York, and they invited be to come and be a guest for the opening,” Heath remembers. “But I was chasing a deadline. Couldn’t make it.”

In a cruel twist of fate, “BLAM" was later exhibited in Chicago while Heath was living there, and later still in Los Angeles after Heath had moved to Van Nuys. Each time, he could not make the opening night gala festivities. He finally called Lichtenstein.

“Before he could get back to me, he died,” Heath says. “Anything to get out of buying me a cocktail, right? I figure I missed a free glass of wine, maybe three if you count all the showings. Someone owes me.”


Yale University Art Gallery

New Haven, Connecticut

Blam, 1962. Oil on canvas

68 inches x 80 inches; 172.7 x 203.2 cm


BLAM by Russ Heath - Deconstructing Roy Lichtenstein -

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Taken on September 5, 2000