I hope I’m wrong, but I always felt that Gray Morrow was underrated. Comics fans may have preferred flashier artists, but Morrow was fast, he was reliable and he was prolific, producing realistic art for all the comic book publishers and a collection of dazzling paperback covers in a career that spanned four decades. His science fiction illustrations earned him three Hugo Awards as “Best Professional Artist” and he drew the syndicated Tarzan Sunday strip from 1983 until his untimely death in 2001.
The illustration here was found on Shades of Gray, a wonderful showcase of Morrow’s work, run by blogger Booksteve. In a rough drawing that sizzles with action, Morrow pits the Frankenstein Monster against The Heap, the original comic book “muck monster”, a template for Swamp Thing and Man-Thing.
First appearing in Hillman Comics’ Air Fighters of 1946, The Heap was a WWI ace who had died in a swamp, his body macerated and transformed into a living mass of vegetation. The character would be reconfigured, updated and re-used by various publishers, eventually landing as a menace in Todd McFarlane’s Spawn. The version illustrated by Morrow is from its early 70’s Skywald incarnation where the once indistinct blob had developed a face and a sharp-fanged mouth.
Shades of Gray blog.