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Saturday August 7, 2010 1:53 am

Russ Heath and Ralph Reese: Help ‘Em Out




Posted by Tom Mason Categories: DC Comics

Russ HeathTo a generation or so of comic book fans, Russ Heath is a name most-associated with DC Comics’ war titles, specifically Sgt. Rock, but he’s had a long and varied career that didn’t always include drawing tank battles and G.I.‘s blasting Nazis. Ralph Reese started out working with Wally Wood, worked with Neal Adams’ Continuity Associates, and later at Valiant, all in an impressive freelance career. Now they both could use a little help.

Tom Spurgeon has talked about this on more than one occasion (here’s a link to one of the latest) and so has Valerie D’Orazio.

As the generation of comics creators from the 1950s and up has aged, they’ve run into health problems that aren’t covered by the work they did during their massively productive years. Plus the changing marketplace, general contraction of the industry, and other factors make it difficult for people who write or draw for a living to maintain a steady income and get decent insurance. Places like The Hero Initiative have stepped up (they helped my old pal Steve Gerber).

Individuals like writer Clifford Meth have organized and mobilized efforts on behalf of Dave Cockrum and Gene Colan, and Adriane Nash and Mike Gold started Comix4Sight to help their friend John Ostrander.

There are many others, and, I fear, many more to come. CAPS, the Cartoon Art Professional Society, based on the West Coast, is using part of their annual art auction in Burbank on August 25th to benefit Russ Heath and Ralph Reese. Heath is undergoing surgery in a few months and needs financial assistance with the expenses; Reese has eye problems and back injury issues. Fifty percent of the money raised will go to Heath and Reese directly.

The list of name-brand contributors is already huge: Jack Davis, Ernie Chan, Al Jaffee, Nick Park, Jeff Smith, Doug Sneyd, Dan Spiegle, William Stout, Mick Gray, Angelo Torres, Stan Lee, Dean Yeagle, Sergio Aragones and Russ Heath himself. It’s times like these I wish I could draw. If you do draw or want to donate artwork, CAPS President Pat McGreal would like to hear from you. He’s at patmcgreal (at) aol.com. Monday, August 9 is the deadline to get your piece listed in the official auction catalog, but I’m sure they’ll take pieces after the fact.

For more information about CAPS, please visit their website.

[I learned about this from Walter Simonson on Facebook and am reposting it here. Most of the information is cribbed from his original posting.]

[Artwork: A Russ Heath panel from Blazing Combat taken from Cloud 109, where you can read the entire story]

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