'The Captain from Castile'.

Reginald Heade was a British illustrator of sensational paperback novels, but also had a brief career in comics, working for the magazines Knock-Out and Comet, both from the Amalgamated Press. He also published under the name Cy Webb. Most of his output were realistically-drawn historical adventure comics or biographical comics.

Early life and career
He was born in 1901 as Reginald Cyril Webb in Plaistow, Essex, England. He began producing covers for the popular magazine Britannia and Eve in 1933, and continued to do so for a decade. 

Knock-Out
Near the end of the 1940s he drew a couple of realistic comics for the magazine Knock-Out, namely 'The Saga of Eric the Red' (1949) and 'The Captain from Castile' (1949). The final installments from the latter story were however credited to Norman Pett. Together with Jos Walker, Eric Parker, Alfred Taylor, Roland Davies, Graham Coton and Mike Dorey, Head also drew comics based on novelist Harry Blyth's detective character 'Sexton Blake'. Yet in Heade's case his contribution was extremely brief. He only drew one single episode, namely 'Sexton Blake vs. the Astounding John Plague' (1949).

Sexton Blake, by Reginald Heade

Other comics
In 1952 Heade drew the comic 'Mary Read – Soldier and Pirate' for the Saturday paper Answers. It told the story about a real-life early-18th Century female pirate who spent most of her life masquerading as a man. Heade continued to do occasional fill-in work on other Amalgamated Press titles in the late 1940s and 1950s. In 1954 he drew a 'Robin Hood' serial strip for AP's Sun. This was reprinted in 16 full-colour pages in the 'Robin Hood Annual 1958' (1957), shortly before the artist's death.

Cover illustrations
Reginald Heade was however mostly praised as one of the best cover illustrators for British pulp fiction books of the 1940s and 1950s. He is best known for his painted covers with scantily clad ladies for Hank Janson's thriller novels at Gaywood Press. He also worked for Raymond and Lilian Locker's Archer Press, providing covers for Paul Renin's romance novels and gangster books by Michael Storme, Gene Ross and Spike Morelli.

Stylistic confusion
It is not always easy to pinpoint who drew what in British cmics, because most stories were printed uncredited, which means that scholars have to try and recognize the drawing style. Reginald Heade's work is often confused with artwork by Mike Hubbard or W. Bryce Hamilton. For instance, some sources credit Heade for drawing 'The Adventures of Robin Hood' in Knockout (1947), while this was actually Hubbard. He is also often listed as the artist of 'Journey to Jupiter' (1952-1953) in Comet, while this story was drawn by Hamilton instead.

Death
The artist passed away in West Ham in 1957.

Books about Reginald Heade
Stephen James Walker compiled a lavishly illustrated overview of Heade's work as a pulp illustrator and comic artist under the title 'The Art of Reginald Heade' (Telos Publications, 2016).


'Mary Read'.

Reginald Heade on downthetubes.net

Series and books by Reginald Heade in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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