2018-08-25 01:10:28 UTC
August 24, 2018 12:16pm PT
by Graeme McMillan
Comic Book Artist Russ Heath Dies at 91
The creator, whose career spanned 1948 through 2011, created the original artwork behind some of Roy Lichtenstein's most famous pop art paintings.
American comic book artist Russ Heath died Thursday night after a battle with cancer, his grandson Lee Kosa announced. He was 91.
"My grandfather and legendary comic artist Russ Heath passed away last night. His mastery of the craft of illustration encouraged me to pursue the arts and it is a joy to see my son now filling his own sketchbooks," he wrote on Twitter. "Thank you for passing along the joys of drawing and storytelling."
The artist had lived in Van Nuys, California for forty years before moving to a retirement community in Long Beach, where he died. A winner of multiple awards — including the National Cartoonist Society’s Milton Caniff Award in 2014, and the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame five years earlier — Heath’s career lasted from 1948 through to 2011, and included work for multiple publishers in multiple genres, from Marvel’s westerns Two-Gun Kid and Kid Colt through DC’s Our Army at War and The Haunted Tank and the famous Little Annie Fanny strip in Playboy.
Most recently, he came out of retirement for Marvel’s The Immortal Iron Fist No. 20 in 2009, as well as illustrations for the independent series glamourpuss in 2010 and 2011.
Perhaps most most famously, Heath’s work on DC’s All-American Men of War No. 89 in 1962 was the source material for pop artist Roy Lichtenstein’s paintings “Whaam!”, “Brattata” and “Blam,” produced in 1963, 1962 and 1962, respectively. In 2014, Heath wrote and drew a comic strip about Lichtenstein’s appropriation of his work, titled “Bottle of Wine,” in which he wrote, “The Museum of Modern Art invited me to the opening when they displayed it. However, I couldn’t make it due to deadlines… but I figure Lichtenstein owed me a drink at least.”