Comic Legends: When Russ Heath Went to the Playboy Mansion...And Stayed!

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the seven hundredth installment where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

As part of our celebration of SEVEN HUNDRED of these things, this will be a special holiday weekend where we honor seven comic book greats that we lost this year with a legend devoted to each one of them (Steve Ditko, Russ Heath, Gary Friedrich, Marie Severin, Norm Breyfogle, Carlos Ezquerra and Jim Novak). As I add the legends, you can click on the given person's name and it will bring you to their legend!

NOTE: If the CSBG Twitter page hits 11,000 followers, I'll do a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed that week. Great deal, right? So go follow the CSBG Twitter page!


Russ Heath came over to the Playboy Mansion to work on a Little Annie Fanny strip and then decided to not go home


Basically True

Russ Heath was a masterful comic book artist who is probably most famous for the war comic books that he drew for DC Comics in the 1960s and 1970s. However, Heath made sure to keep an iron in a number of fires. He once noted that you can't depend on any one person for a living because when people get you under their heel, they'll grind on you.

One notable assignment that he had was assisting on the popular Little Annie Fanny feature by Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder that ran in Plaboy Magazine for decades. Hugh Hefner was a huge comics fan and he took a deep, personal interest in the Little Annie Fanny feature (much to Kurtzman's chagrin, as Hefner micro-managed the strip to absurd degrees)...

Anyhow, Heath lived in Chicago for a number of years, so presumably around this time, he was able to come directly to the Playboy Mansion (which was in Chicago back in those days) to help out. Mark Evanier relayed the hilarious story a number of years ago at his site here...

One time when deadlines were nearing meltdown, Harvey Kurtzman called Heath in to assist in a marathon work session at the Playboy Mansion in Chicago. Russ flew in and was given a room there, and spent many days aiding Kurtzman and artist Will Elder in getting one installment done of the strip. When it was completed, Kurtzman and Elder left…but Heath just stayed. And stayed. And stayed some more.

He had a free room as well as free meals whenever he wanted them from Hef's 24-hour kitchen. He also had access to whatever young ladies were lounging about…so he thought, "Why leave?" He decided to live there until someone told him to get out…and for months, no one did. Everyone just kind of assumed he belonged there. It took quite a while before someone realized he didn't and threw him and his drawing table out.

Isn't that the most amazing story?

Amusingly enough, in the late 1960s, Joe Kubert did a "behind the scenes" comic book story about his life as an artist/editor for DC Comics' war comics line and he pretty much confirms the story himself in his own interesting way...

(And yes, it IS weird to see Adam and Andy Kubert draw into a comic book story when they were little kids).

Very cool stuff.

Thanks to Mark Evanier for this amazing story.

Check out my latest Movie Legends Revealed - Discover the major change that John Carpenter did to Halloween after a film executive that he screened an early version of the film criticized the film!

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