Tales Of Suspense 39.
Copyright © 1963 Marvel Comics
Comics historian and former Kirby assistant Mark Evanier, investigating claims of Kirby's involvement in the creation of both Iron Man and Daredevil, interviewed Kirby and Heck on the subject, years before their deaths.
He concluded, “Kirby definitely did not do full breakdowns, as has been erroneously reported about ... the first 'Iron Man.' [In the early 1970s], Jack claimed to have laid out those stories, and I repeated his claim in print — though not before checking with Heck, who said, in effect, 'Oh, yeah. I remember that. Jack did the layouts.' We all later realized he was mistaken."
Evanier added, "Both also believed that Jack had contributed to the plots of those debut appearances - recollections that do not match those of Stan Lee. [Lieber did the script for the first Iron Man story from a plot that Lee gave him.] Also, in both cases, Jack had already drawn the covers of those issues and done some amount of design work. He came up with the initial look of Iron Man's armor."
Heck also presided over the first appearance of Hawkeye, Marvel's archer supreme, in Tales of Suspense #57 (Sept. 1964), and femme fatale Communist spy and the Black Widow, a future superheroine and S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in Tales of Suspense #52 (April 1964).
He drew the feature through issue #46 (Oct. 1963), after which Spider-Man artist Steve Ditko introduced the familiar red-and-gold Iron Man armor and drew the feature for three issues. Heck returned with #50 - which introduced Iron Man's arch-foe, the Mandarin - and continued through #72 (Dec. 1965).
Concurrent with drawing Iron Man, Heck succeeded Kirby as penciler on The Avengers with issue #9 (Oct. 1964), the introduction of Wonder Man. Heck also inked his own pencils for many years.
However, when later adjusting to the assembly line "Marvel method" of doing comics during Marvel's large explosion of super-hero titles, he was finally assigned the help of an inker for the first time. He went on to become one of the most remembered artists of The Avengers in the mid-1960s. (Eventually, when his chores lessoned a bit, he returned to inking his own work in Avengers #32-37.)
Heck continued to be active in comics in later years, drawing DC titles including Justice League of America, The Flash, Wonder Woman, and other series for DC. He also penciled three issues of H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu for Millennium Publications.
This great iron man of the comics art world passed away on February 23, 1995.
That's A Heck Of A Quote:
Roy Thomas: "Don was unlucky enough, I think, to be a non-superhero artist who, starting in the sixties, had to find his niche in a world dominated by superheroes. Fortunately, as he proved first with Iron Man and then with the Avengers, Don could rise to the occasion because he had real talent and a good grounding in the fundamentals. He amalgamated into his own style certain aspects of Jack Kirby's style, and carved out a place for himself as one of a handful of artists who were of real importance during the very early days of Marvel."
Jerry Ordway: "Don Heck was a truly under-appreciated artist. His Atlas work (pre-Marvel) was terrific, with a clean sharp style, and an ink line that wouldn't quit."
Stan Lee upon hearing of Heck's death: "Don Heck was more than a splendid artist. He was a gentleman and a friend - and a joy to work with. Is Don remembered? Only the other day, a fan stopped me at a Comic Con and asked, 'Hey, aren't you the guy who used to write Don Heck's Iron Man?'"
Jack C. Harris on the same occasion: "Back when I was a fan, Don Heck - with Wally Wood's inking - was the reason I began buying The Avengers from Marvel. No matter how many characters crowded a scene, Don's masterful layouts depicted power and excitement every time."
Tony Isabella: "If there were a Marvel Universe version of Mount Rushmore, he would be up there with Stan [Lee], Jack [Kirby], Steve [Ditko], and Dick [Ayers]. Yeah, I know, that's five heads, but comics have always been larger than life."
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