Comic Fandom Monthly, No. 2 (October 1971), page 6-7

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Title

Comic Fandom Monthly, No. 2 (October 1971), page 6-7

Description

This column talks about marvel war comics.

Creator

Joe Brancatelli

Source

Comic Fandom Monthly, No. 2 (October 1971)

Date

1971-10

Contributor

Mark Evanier

Format

No TEI

Document Item Type Metadata

Text

TERATOLOGY BY MARK EVANIER

Heck is miscast when he inks his own super-heroes.


On past occasions, when a fanzine editor
has solicited an article from me, I've usu-
ally acquiesced with little or no fervor.
This, however, is the first time that the
editor ever kidnapped one of my relatives.
He said that if I failed to contribute, I'd
never see this kinship alive again. To make
matters worse, Brancatelli won't even tell
me which of my relatives is on the stretch
rack in his basement, so I'm uncertain as to
what kind of trade I'm getting involved in
by writing this. In Europe, they have much
the same arrangement, you'll note, but they
call it chemin de fer and omit the kidnap-
ping and the article from the procedure.
The first issue of Comic Fandom Monthly
was quite a surprise as it fell into my mail
box and I do owe Mr. Brancatelli (ed. note:
Mr.?) a big apology for missing the dead-
line. (I guess I also owe an apology to that
relative in Joe's basement for taking so
long to bail him or her out!) But it's good
to see fandom actually has a good article
zine, as opposed to the many, exorbitant art
zines filled with two-page, incoherent draw-
ings by the same old people. A few points in
that first CFM must be responded to and then
onward with our regularly-scheduled column.
One Norman Masters (there are no others I
know of) took me to task for an anti-Marvel
quote in the lettercol of Mr. Miracle #4. Be
advised first, Horman, that I didn't write
that line, nor did mein comrade, Steve Sher-
man. But I'll gladly defend its being there
by pointing to the context which you wholly
disregarded in quoting it. It was in respon
se to a letter which wondered, as have many
we've received--too many to neglect--how,
much Jack Kirby has to do with the story-
line in his marvel work. The response (ad-
ded by someone else at the last minute after
ours was deemed "unclear“) was not a stab at
Marvel's quality, nor was it exemplary of
any feeling of inferiority. It was a com-
mentary on Marvel's system of credits, not
their quality which I certainly would not
think to discuss in a D.C, letter column.
Reread that letter and its response and I
think you'll see that the passage in ques-
tion--while not being as self-explanatory as
it should have been--is not at all an opin-
ion on the contents of Marvel's books. It's
rather, a simple way of pointing out that
Kirby contributed a great deal of ideas &
thoughts to Marvel, something which Stan Lee
at least, has never kept a secret.
Also, in case Joel Packer and Steve Jen-
kins haven't figured it-out yet, "Jon Costa"
is, in reality, D.C. letterer John Constanza
plying his trade at Marvel. It's great reve-
lations like that which will make this col-
umn an integral part of future issues of CFM
to come.
Now, as Hitler's father said to Hitler's
mother on their honeymoon, it's time to cre-
ate a little Fhuerer! (The preceding pun is
hereby apologized for.) I'd like to point up
first that, among the very few article zines
which fandom has, the same names are cons-
tantly rehashed--Kirby, Frazetta, Steranko,
Adams...with due respect to all gentlemen,
some of their work has been discussed ad na-
useum, with the critics' insight being quite
limited. we would now like to begin what
may well be termed the Unsung Hero section
of this fanzine, by spotlighting the works
of artists and writers who are not subjects
of endless discussions, beginning with Russ
Heath.
Among the men who illustrate what few war
comics remain, the “top three" probably num-
ber Kubert, John Severin, and our subject,
who has been gracing the pages of G.I. Cem-
bat, Our Army at War, and other D.C. combat
titles for many years now. Heath's approach,
is highly "photographic" and generally, a
term such as that would denote a bad comic
artist. But, in this case, Heath is in con-
trol of his photo-references and not depen-
dent upon them. His masterful usage of sha-
dows has yielded atmosphere without sacri-
ficing clarity. That's not the most preve-
lant talent in the field, as witness Adams'
and Morrow's works. Perhaps Heath's most
outstanding job was in the fourth and final
issue of Warren's Blazing Cbmbat. He utili-
zed doubletone-craftint of a fine screen;
and achieved some remarkable shading effects
with it. The story-telling facility of the
art is not impaired. The action in every pa-
nel is quite well-defined and there is emo-
tion, where necessary. (As in keeping with
the type of soldier he usually draws, fac-
ial expressions are generally underplayed--
but not so subtle as to be lost.) Perhaps,
the single-most page of note by Russ Heath,
in recent times, is page three in G.I. Cem-
bat #l48. Though certainly less pretentious
in design than most other artists' memorable
pages, Heath's explosion scene gets the po-
int of the page across so perfectly as to
achieve a goodly degree of dynamicism in a
two dimensional media.
That Bill Draut should be classified as
an "unsung hero“ is rather surprising to me
because. his work has been seen so often in
comics for twenty years and has always been
very good. Draut is a real specialist in un-
spectacular design. By this, I mean that he
tells a story in simple, basic terms and us-
ually achieves greater success than those
who attempt more complex breakdowns. Seen to
best advantage recently in D.C.'s House of
Mystery and House of Secrets, Draut is also
an artist who can draw, and he seems to pay
much more attention to the script than many
other artists. Inked by Tom Palmer (apparen-
tly) in House of’Mystery #195, his work loo-
ked quite good and another story, two issues
before worked very well. While I would think
that Draut more suited for super-hero mater-
ial, (his work on Teen Titans and on Harvey
stuff would bear this out) his weird stories
are quite exceptional in that they achieve
an eerie mood, not by the external factors
(heavy shading, ghastly contortions) but in-
ternally, by facial expression and simplic-
ity in design. Draut is an artist anyone
can enjoy, despite simplicity at times.
COPYRIGHT C I971 NPP

WILD-EYED -- BUT DANGEROUS'.
ESPECIALLY THEIR LEADER...
-- ZED KURTZ?
SURE, HE FOAMS
OFF AT THE
MOUTH--BUT...

Top: Heck on Batgirl,
1971. Inks and pencil
by Heck;Left: Heck on
Mystery, 1961, pencils
and inks; Right: Heck
pencil, Stone inks on
1965 Avengers.

AT LAST, MY WORK
RULY -- FINISHED!!

COPYRIGHT c 1971 MARVEL

THANKS FOR YOUR
SUPPORT, CAP...
BUT I'D LIKE
TO AMEND
YOUR
MOTION...

I FEEL THAT STARK HIMSELF
WOULD WANT US TO CONTINUE
... TO STAY ON DUTY
IN CASE WE'RE
NEEDED!

SO I MOVE
INSTEAD THAT
WE VOTE
IRON MAN
A TEMPORARY
LEAVE OF
ABSENSE...
UNTIL HIS
MISSION IS
DONE!

Slurs, last issue; directed at Don Heck
might well be answered in this department,
now. Recent Heck work at D.C. has been not-
able, but not necessarily good, because of
the treatment given to it by colorists. Heck
is a sketchy artist, true, and his art is
far from slick in its line work. Still, it
worked quite well at Marvel with bright col-
oring, as opposed to the muted shades (most-
ly dull greens and purples) being used on it
at D.C. and in Marvel's mystery titles. Some
one, somewhere, recently decreed that stor-
ies of an eerie nature (House 0f.Mystery,
Batman, etc.) should be colored in that man-
ner and that real flesh tones, bright shades
and tones, should be eliminated, even if a
particular scene in the subject matter cal-
led for it. This practice has hurt Heck's
art, but his romance work, which receives
bright coloring, is quite good. when he was
on the Avengers, Heck handled some difficult
intergrations of character and setting, all
quite well, but always had the air of some-
one very miscast on super-heroes when he in-
ked his own work. Inked by Giacoia or Romita
(on one fine story in Avengers) it worked in
very well. But sketchy renderings of super-
heroes were not very prevelant then, as they
are now, and I'm not certain that--at either
time--they are popular. As a designer, Heck
does very well and his romance stories are
very readable--and that's a high compliment.
I'd doubt, though, that he has been given a
single opportunity on recent assignments to
really demonstrate that he is one artist who
really knows how to draw.
This column had best come to a close lest
you all begin talking like me. (you've all
heard of Evanierial disease, haven't you?)
But, before we depart, best wishes to Thor
and Sif (also known as the God Couple, on
their forty-thousandth anniversary. So, un-
til the next time, this is Jack Narz invi-
ting you to Beat The Clock!