Original Art Stories: Don Heck's Avengers
Heck went right back to the Golden Age and worked all the way through to the late 1980s, where, sadly, he ended his career drawing very uninspired Batman and Justice League stories that he’d have eaten up back in the day. Part of Heck’s sadness came from being labelled the worst comic book artist ever by Harlan Ellison, although to give Ellison his due, he did apologise later and he was baited somewhat by Gary Groth. Heck was also plagued by ill health and personal issues towards the end, which led to a loss of confidence. A sad way to end a long and distinguished career indeed.
Heck was good, very, very good. His art was unique and highly stylised - you knew when you had a Don Heck book just by looking at the art. You could spot George Tuska by the teeth he gave his characters, but Heck, well the line was there and with the right inker, and Heck's best inker was Don Heck himself, he shone. He was just as distinctive, if not as dynamic, as Kirby himself.
Don was clearly not a total recluse and was free with praise and help, as this letter of advice to a young artist shows.
So thank you Don Heck for some bloody good childhood, and adulthood, memories. You may be gone but you are not forgotten. And why Stan Lee rejected that Avengers cover in favour of the Gil Kane one is beyond me. Any artists out there wants to hazard a guess?