Legendary Comic Book Artist Russ Heath Dies At 91

Legendary comic book artist and illustrator Russ Heath has passed away, as confirmed from by family on social media. He was 91.

Lee Kosa, Heath's grandson, took to Twitter to share the sad news earlier this week.

Heath, one of the industry's longest-tenured artists, got his first professional gig for Timely Comics — the predecessor to Marvel — in 1947. While at Timely, Heath primarily drew for the company's Western series under titles like Two-Gun Kid and Wild Western. Some of his work, in fact, was a Two-Gun Kid story released in Wild Western #4 in 1948.

"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," Kosa wrote of his grandfather. "Thank you for passing along the joys of drawing and storytelling."

Heath's first superhero gig came as he drew a seven-page story in Captain America Comics #71 (1949), a story titled "Fate Fixed a Fight."

As Timely then turned into Atlas Comics then Marvel, Heath worked on various horror titles such as Marvel Tales, Strange Tales, and Journey Into Mystery.

After his work at Timely was complete, Heath went on to work for both EC Comics and DC Comics, primarily focusing on horror and war titles.

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Heath's last professional comic book work was a four-page penciling and inking job in The Immortal Iron Fist #20 (2009). "The Mortal Iron Fist, Conclusion," story Heath drew and inked was a flashback sequence in the fan-favorite Iron Fist run.

Heath received an Inkpot Award in 1997 before being inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2009. The legendary artist also received the Comic Art Professional Society's Sergio Award in 2010 as well as the National Cartoonists Society's Milton Caniff Award in 2014.