From the script that made its penciller, comic book legend Don Heck call me a “Son of a bitch!”… “Fire of the Gods!” from Weird War Tales #75 (May 1979). The story was inked by John Celardo, colored by the wonderful Bob LeRose, lettered by Albert DeGuzman, and edited by Paul Levitz.

I happened to be up at DC’s offices the day Don picked up the script from editor Levitz. The art description on page one called for a two-thirds page splash showing Alexander the Great and his entire army marching over the mountains to attack a Chinese village. I definitely asked for lots of horses. I might have even called for elephants.

Artists have long pointed out how easy it is for writers to type a scene description in minutes that then takes them hours to draw. Don, who had just read my scene description, stepped out into the hallway to find the author of his discontent wandering blithely by, stopped in his tracks and, waving the script at me, hollered:

“The whole army, you son of a bitch? And on horseback?”

But Don was smiling when he said it, and I was a twenty-three year old newbie writer (and lifelong comic book fan) who had grown up on his Marvel work in the 1960s and couldn’t have been more thrilled than to be called a “son of a bitch” by him in his gruff Queens, New York accent.

And, as it turned out, professional that he was, Don knew that the secret to any difficult shot is all in how you work the camera angle.

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3 Comments on Don Heck and the 5-Pager of Doom!

  1. Perry Der says:

    My ancestors thank you for that story. Don drew the best Chinese people! His Mandarin at Marvel is classic.

  2. Neil A. Hansen says:

    Heck always made his stuff easy to read from left to right. Underrated storyteller.

  3. Nick Caputo says:

    Great story! I could picture Don waving that script at you! Don certainly was able to accomplish the task assigned with his keen sense of composition.

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