Following in the footsteps of the critically acclaimed Wallace Wood: Woodworks and Big John Buscema museum catalogues comes Flesh & Steel: The Art of Russ Heath. As with those first two books, this is an art catalogue of a single artist’s extraordinary body of work, following Heath from his very earliest days as an artist to the present, and featuring a cornucopia of rare and never-before-seen-art, many from Heath’s personal archives. His early days at Atlas, EC, DC, Warren, National Lampoon, and Marvel are all showcased. Intricately researched, with a complete index of his work presented, this is a masterful book focusing on a masterful artist! Text is in both English and Spanish.
- IDW Publishing, October 1, 2014
- ISBN 978-1-61377-971-2
- 9.6″ x 12.4″, 320 pages, hardcover
- $49.99 USD
- Order online: eBay
As with all AE format material (Artist’s Editions, Artifact Editions, Gallery Editions, Art Editions, Studio Editions, etc), this is a collection of classic comic material and I’ll be reviewing the book and not the story. For a complete list of all current and announced editions, with review links, please visit our Index. Also, see What is an Artist’s Edition and our Artist Index.
A 2013 career-spanning exhibition catalogue of Russ Heath, from Casal Solleric that brought us Big John Buscema and Woodwork: Wallace Wood. Like those earlier volumes, the text is presented in English and Spanish. A lengthy and detailed biography, lots of original art, and a complete checklist!
The book is divided into four chapters, each covering a different part of Heath’s career. Flórez gets into the nitty-gritty with his biography, full of strong opinions and long descriptions of stories.
There is a good number of full-page art, but a lot of the stories are completed with four to a page. So on the one hand we’re presented with a lot of small art, but we do get the complete story.
The scans are all well done, with no visual issues. Blacks show gradients, and the pages have paste-ups, correction fluid and some margin notes.
The design is fluid and to the point. Bold colour choices are made where it works, with most of the pages letting the art get the focus. Text is in two columns: English on the left and Spanish on the right. Not a lot of page adornments, with the page number, book title, and chapter running along the bottom when space allows. Each piece of art has the book title, issue number, story name, medium, size, and owner.
Production is excellent: a sewn binding of heavy glossy paper in hardcover. Plus a silk ribbon! The high gloss continues to be my major complaint about these catalogues. Since the reproduced are is either original art of newsprint comic paper, glossy paper doesn’t represent the art.
And as always my view features the title of the book from the colophon, which does use a period where I would expect a colon.
I’m not a Russ Heath fan and thumbed this volume when it was published but decided to skip it. Only later when I was at a shop during a sale did I decide to purchase, since I had all the others and wanted to cover the material here. Plus I knew it had risen to some silly out-of-print pricing and grabbed this dinged-up copy relatively cheap.