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.

He was born as Reginald Cyril Webb in Plaistow, Essex, England in 1901. He began producing covers for the popular magazine Britannia and Eve in 1933, and continued to do so for a decade. Near the end of the 1940s he drew several realistic comics for the magazine Knock-Out, namely 'The Adventures of Robin Hood' (1947), 'The Saga of Eric the Red' (1949) and 'The Captain from Castile' (1949). The final installments from the latter were however credited to Norman Pett. Heade was also one of several comics artists, among them Jos Walker, Eric Parker, Alfred Taylor, Roland Davies, Graham Coton and Mike Dorey, who 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

Between 1952 and 1953 he also drew 'Journey to Jupiter' in the magazine Comet. In 1952 he also 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 titles in the late 1940s and 1950s.

He 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. The artist passed away in West Ham in 1957. 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

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