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Archive for the ‘DORIS DANGER!’ Category

Doris Danger (vol. 3, Intro), page 000a Inside Front Cover – Published

Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

Chpt. 16 PRE-CHPT. 30  Chpt. 30
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Doris Danger (vol. 1, Chpt. 7, page 054 – Commentary

Sunday, December 2nd, 2018
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Doris Danger (vol. 1, Chpt. 7), page 052-53 Two-Page Splash – Commentary

Sunday, December 2nd, 2018
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Doris Danger (vol. 1, Chpt. 7), page 050-51 Double Page Splash RUSS HEATH – Commentary

Sunday, December 2nd, 2018


Ah, the saga of trying to get a pin-up from Russ Heath!

Here I am with my best friend, Russ, at San Francisco’s Wondercon 2006.


Another photo with my best friend, Russ, this time at San Diego Comic-Con 2007.  He’s holding a print he colored of the giant monster pin-up.

Here I am with my best friend, Russ, at the San Diego Comic-Con 2009.  You may notice in his portfolio, he has a print of the giant monster pin-up: a giant hand reaching at an airplane.


The adventure of getting this commission took a lot of years of persistence.

As I peek back through old diary entries, there are a lot of holes in what happened, but you’ll get a feel for it.  Here’s a diary entry I found from Wondercon 2004:

I bugged Russ Heath again. A younger woman (daughter?) was sitting with him. I think she was shocked when I let drop I commissioned him a year ago, and the check I sent him had expired. She sounded like she would help me hound him to get the goddamn thing taken care of. I planned to call and bug him some more, now that I had support from inside his fortress.

Here was a diary entry from Wondercon 2005:

As usual, I popped over to Russ Heath, beginning to suspect he would never draw something for me, and had just been giving me the run-around all this time. To my shock, he said he was finishing up all his projects, and would probably have some free time for a pin-up in a month or so. He said someone who’d been calling him for two and a half years called recently, and Russ actually told him he’d do the sketch for him. The guy couldn’t believe it. I told Russ, well I’ve been bugging you for over two years, so maybe I’ll be next in line. He smiled. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, though.

Here was a diary entry from early 2006

I approached Russ Heath for the God-knows-how-many-eth time. This con was a good sign, though. He actually said, he thought he’d have some time for a commission right now, and to get in contact with him. When I saw neither of us had anything going on at our tables (he sat directly behind me), I showed him the Doris book. To my surprise, later he popped over to my booth, and showed me a commission he’d recently done, in the EC style. He said that’s the closest he’s come to doing giant monsters lately.

All right, enough teasers.  Right after Wondercon 2006, I made a diary entry to re-hash the entire, start-to-finish process of getting this pin-up from Russ:

I first propositioned Mr. Heath for a pin-up at Wondercon, April 25th 2003. I was new at asking, and hadn’t streamlined my technique yet. I also hadn’t yet built up such an impressive list of cool artists, and I only had a few stories inked by Dick Ayers to share. I timidly said, “I’d be interested in commissioning you for a pin-up, ” and he made some mumbling insinuation about how busy he is and who knows how many years he’s got left, and he doesn’t even know if he’ll be alive long enough to finish the ones he’s committed to. All that said, he gave me a card with his address and phone number, at which point I told him it would be for a giant monster pin-up, and showed him the stories. He hadn’t smiled yet during our entire exchange, but now that he heard and saw the subject matter, he literally rolled his eyes. But he knew it was too late for him. He had doomed himself by giving out his contact info before asking the subject matter.

I had been contacting all the other artists up to that point by email, which felt much easier, more comfortable, and less intrusive. I was a little reticent about bugging him by phone, and I didn’t get the impression he particularly wanted to do this at all, so that made it tougher to make the call too. Add to that, I’m always pacing myself asking artists for pin-ups, because I can only afford so many at a time.

Summer’s San Diego 2003 rolls around, and I haven’t called him yet. I find him and reintroduce myself, and remind him of our meeting a few months before, who I am and what I’m looking for. I ask about his schedule, and he tells me I should call him to set something up right away, because DC was wanting him to do a book, and that would keep him pretty busy.

Of course this time, I contacted him immediately like he asked, after getting home from San Diego.

He didn’t sound particularly excited I had called. I re-explained my project, and he listened as if he didn’t remember our talking at the previous conventions, and was hearing it all for the first time. He said it would help if I send him a letter with a sketch of what I’d like. Now he gave me his address. So I sent him a letter dated 7/23/03, with ideas and a few sketches for possibilities. I wanted it to be fun for him, and I wanted to give him plenty of options to find a subject he might enjoy. My contact info was in the letter, but I didn’t hear from him. I gave it a month or two, to make sure he received the letter, and had time to look it over and think about it.

I called him again, and once again, I explained who I was and what I was calling about, and once again, he listened as if this was all new to him. I asked if he received my letter, and had a chance to flip through it. He vaguely says he thinks he remembered it. I go into greater detail with what exactly I had sent him. Finally, he said, “Yeah, I’ve got that letter here somewhere.” He fumbled around a little, for quite some time. I could hear papers being riffled through. While he searched, he said how things get piled up on his desk. Finally he said, “Oh yeah, here it is.” He was quiet for another moment, I assume while he looked over the letter and tried to refresh his memory what it was all about. Then he said, “I’m pretty busy right now. Call me in a month.”

So I do, and we go through the same process of him seeming not to remember me, and my explaining the project I have in mind. He says he still busy, and to call him in a few months.

Now, on this next call, after months of going through all the same introductions and reminders of who I am and what I want, he suddenly says, “Yeah, I never really cared for those monster comics. They were really popular, to have the armies go back in time and fight dinosaurs or whatever, but I always thought they were terrible. I never enjoyed doing them.”

So I explain, look, you can draw whatever you like. Draw what you love. Draw a tank. Draw a plane. And then just include some hint of a monster. For example, a gigantic hand reaching down. Or a foot stomping down. Or a shadow of a monster falling over the tank. Or an eye peeking through a hole in a wall. Or a creature peeking around rubble. Other artists have done this kind of thing.

So he ask, “Other artists do just hints like that?” Yes. Well could I send him some samples of what other artists have done? I’m thinking, Jesus Christ, how long is this dance going to play?! So I put another package together for him, with copies of other artists’ pin-ups. I send that with my contact info, give him some time, and again don’t hear back from him.

I call again. I explain the project again. To my amazement and out of the blue, he suddenly gives me a price that he would charge me. I’m shocked. This means, after months of what seemed like pretty hard work wearing him down, I can now send him a check, and he’s ready and willing, at last, to take my money and do a pin-up for me. I’ve finally worn him out and gotten him to commit. I tell him I’ll send him a check immediately, and I tack on twenty extra dollars for shipping, which he didn’t ask for. The check was dated October 18, 2003. I include a note with the check asking him to give me an idea when the pin-up will be finished, and letting him know there’s no hurry.

I wait awhile, because I don’t want to crowd artists. But now it’s into December, and the check hasn’t cleared. I once again call and explain who I am and what the project is, and he once again gives the impression he’s hearing it all for the first time. He says he doesn’t cash checks until a job is finished, and I shouldn’t have sent a check so early. As to when he’ll get to the project, he says he has to send out Christmas cards or something, and he’s going to be busy for a month.

Come January, he tells me he’s busy for another month, because he has to get his taxes together.

Come February, he say’s he’s busy for three months, because he needs to put together some new, nude prints of his girlfriend to have ready, I assume, for Wondercon. So this “call me in a month” variation has gone on for a year now, and I see him at 2004’s Wondercon, and presumably his Christmas cards went out okay and he got his taxes squared, and there are finished nude prints of his girlfriend at his table.

I remind him I’ve been bugging him for a year. He says to just keep calling. So I call again.

Right at this time, I’m getting ready to release my first comic, Tabloia #572. I’m just sending an advertisement/poster to the printer to have sent to shops. Since we had discussed the price and my usual terms (I’d like to keep the piece, I’d like to advertise the pin-up is included in my book, I’d like the payment to be one-time), and since I’ve sent him a check, I include his name in this ad, and list him at my website as a pin-up contributor. The ad is shipped and visible around May 2004.

Now, on the phone, he has a “breaking the bad news” tone to his voice. DC just hired him to do four prestige-sized (48-page?) comics written by Howard Chaykin, and every time I call he’s busy and behind schedule with that, and he can’t even guess when it will be finished or when he’ll have time for a commission, but maybe he’ll be able to squeeze something in, so keep calling.

After a few calls like this, he finally admits the DC book will most likely keep him too busy for a year or more, and so naturally the check I’ve sent him expires. He was professional enough not to cash it, and even called me one day at my request to tell me he found the check and voided it.

With all these phone calls, I would occasionally ask how the Chaykin book was going. At one point, he said he has to draw a kid growing up, and it’s always a challenge to get the proportions right. Because if you make the head too big, it can change the kid’s age by ten years.

I continue to see him at conventions, and every time I see him, he says how busy he is, and I just naturally begin to assume I’ll never get a pin-uup from him, and this is just his way of blowing people off.

Now I’m just checking in with him out of habit, not because there’s any hope of actually getting a pin-up from him. Until San Diego 2005 – over two years after first asking him for a pin-up. Out of nowhere, my hopes are aroused when he confides to me that he just told someone who‘s been bugging him for two and a half years that he has time for their commission. And I tell him, that‘s good news for me, because I‘ve been bugging you for two years and three months.

The breakthrough comes Wondercon 2006. I tell him it’s our three year anniversary since I first started bugging him. He says (I gasp with surprise) he should have time to do a commission now! Then HE actually comes over to MY table, and brings a commission he did for someone in the old EC style, and tells me that’s the closest he’s come to doing a giant monster. I introduce him to my wife, Elizabeth. I pop over and buy a couple of his prints. He tells me to call him and we’ll work out the details for the commission.

I call him two days after the con and leave a message. He calls me back the next day. I remind him what I have in mind for the pin-up, and check on the price.

Of course there has to be another hitch, because why should something go smoothly trying to get this pin-up?

He says he doesn’t know where the numbers I give him came from, but he thinks he should charge about five to eight times more. I ask if he could work smaller, or do less detail. We agree on a plane in the sky, so that there’s no background. He ends up charging me slightly less than double the original check I had sent him. Because it’s more than I had anticipated, I tell him I’ll have the money together in two months.

In a month I get a call from him. It’s done. I can’t believe it! I remind him I don’t have the money yet, but will try and get it earlier than promised. He just says, when he never knows what his schedule will be, he gets the work done whenever he can fit it in.

I had asked at Wondercon if I could pay him then, but he wouldn’t take my money at that time. He said, at his age, you never know if he takes the money, if he’ll pass away without finishing the piece. He said what he likes to do is, when he gets the check, drop the piece in the mail on his way to the bank. That way both of us are sure to be taken care of.

I sent my payment out last week. I can’t wait to see what he’s come up with.

Chpt. 6   CHPT. 7   Chpt. 8
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Doris Danger (vol. 1, Chpt. 7), page 049 – Commentary

Monday, November 26th, 2018
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Doris Danger (vol. 1, Chpt. 7), page 049 – Script

Monday, November 26th, 2018
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Doris Danger (vol. 1, Chpt. 7), page 048 – Commentary

Saturday, November 24th, 2018
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Doris Danger (vol. 1, Chpt. 7), page 048 – Script

Saturday, November 24th, 2018
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Doris Danger (vol. 1, Chpt. 7), page 047 – Script

Saturday, November 24th, 2018
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Doris Danger (vol. 1, Chpt. 7), page 047 – Commentary

Saturday, November 24th, 2018
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