Friday, October 16, 2009

Witching Hour #6 (On Sale: October 16, 1969) has a cover by Nick Cardy.

We begin with "A Face in the Crowd" drawn by Don Heck. Now this is Heck's first work at DC in three years and his first on a horror story. Heck had been working at Marvel for a few years now, drawing just about everything. Most notably he is one of the co-creators of Iron Man. Heck also introduced us to Hawkeye and the Black Widow during his run on Iron Man in Tales of Suspense.

At DC he would mainly do female characters, becoming the main Batgirl artist starting in 1971, but also pulling stints on Wonder Woman, The Rose and the Thorn, Zatana and Supergirl. Heck would also pull a long run on The Flash and Justice League of America. Heck died of lung cancer in 1995.

Heck was one of those guys who was not very appreciated by fans, but who turned out competent work year after year. Tony Isabella said of Heck, "If there were a Marvel Universe version of Mount Rushmore, he would be up there with Stan [Lee], Jack [Kirby], Steve [Ditko], and Dick [Ayers]."

I was personally not much of a Heck fan till I found X-Men #64. Smack dab in the middle of a Neal Adams' run on the book Don Heck has to do a fill-in issue. Sure, Tom Palmer did a lot to make the work look Adams-like, but Don Heck did a heck of a job (pun fully intended) in pinch-hitting for Adams. Not everyone can do that.

Next is "The Doll Man" drawn by Jose Delbo. We end with "Treasure Hunt" by an unknown artist. I am sure there is a framing sequence as well, but I can't find my copy of this book to check it out.

Edited by Dick Giordano.


Scott said...

Heck got quite stiff and repetitive in his later years. He did some killer SF stories pre-Marvel hero age. and his Iron Man run was fantastic. He chose different inking styles depending on the story (they're best read in the Essentials volumes where you can concentrate on the black & white ink work). This guy was an accomplished illustrator.

I remember reading a Neal Adams interview in The Comics Journal #72 where he told everyone to lay off Heck because he fell apart after the death of his wife.

Sharon said...

I loved Heck's Batgirl! He had a way of drawing (pun intended)the reader into the world of the characters. And his 1960s work on Iron Man and the Avengers did a lot to help push Marvel into the limelight.

Re X-Men #64: it's pretty apparent Heck provided only the roughest of layouts here and that Palmer did the finishes/inking. IMO Palmer smothered the pencils and the end result was -- strange and distorted. There's a reason why Palmer's earlier penciling jobs fell flat (and why Marvel quickly switched him to inking); he was a great inker but not much of an illustrator.

darkmark90 said...

Actually, Black Widow and Hawkeye were both introed in Iron Man strips in TALES OF SUSPENSE, not THE AVENGERS. That said, Don did"Heck" of a job on both IM and Avengers and I enjoyed his work. A whole lot.

-Keller said...

Right you are. Correcting that now.