With profound sadness, I bring news of the parting of comic fandom’s devoted son David Health, Jr. Those of us fortunate enough to have known Heath remember him as an important fanzine pioneer?a bastion of enthusiasm and creativity, as well as a superb artist and clever editor who brought us a parade of spunky, iconoclastic fan talent.

Heath immersed himself in the West Coast fandom scene of the early 70s. Serving from 1974 to 1986 as a career soldier in the U.S. Army (eventually retiring as a Captain) his friends recall him as the tough G.I. rolling into conventions on his motorcycle wearing a denim vest full of science-fiction buttons.

But Heath’s personal style was hardly military standard. His writing and art had instant appeal as he rolled out the first issue of the Vaughn Bode-influenced NO SEX (as in all violence, no sex). The zine’s premiere in 1970 saw little help from anyone else, but it wasn’t long before Heath attracted the attention and friendship of other creators.

<!img src=”images/ns9.jpg” align=”left” width=”200″ height=”283″ border=”1″ vspace=”4″ hspace=”4″>Over the lifespan of the publication, numerous future professionals popped up in the pages of NO SEX, including Dave Sim, Brad Foster (Shadowhawk for Image), Dan Clowes (8-Ball), Dan Day (Detective Comics), Earl Geier (Dark Horse), Gary Barker (who later ghosted for Jim Davis), Jaime Hernandez (Love & Rockets), Ken Meyer Jr. (Marvel), Mark Heike (Fem Force for EC), Rafael Kayanan (DC’s Capt. Atom and Firestorm), Will Meuginot (DNA Agents for Eclipse) and Willie Peppers (The Ferret for Malibu).

In 1977, Heath published my first piece of fiction. It’s the kind of thing you don’t forget.

With degrees in Political Science from The University of San Francisco and The University of Hawaii, Heath spent his post-army career as an insurance-claims examiner. All the while, he maintained his ties with fandom, his correspondences with writers and artists from the 1970s fan scene, and his unbridled enthusiasm.

After a tough battle with cancer, Heath passed away on July 8. If you didn’t know him, you missed out, friends. He was one of the good ones.

© 2004, Clifford Meth

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