Coming Soon from Telos Publishing: The Art of Reginald Heade

The Art of Reginald Heade

On its way from Telos Publishing in October (and available to pre-order now) is The Art of Reginald Heade, written by Stephen James Walker.

Reginald Heade is renowned amongst vintage paperback fans and collectors as the pre-eminent British pulp fiction cover artist of the 1940s and 1950s – considered by some as the greatest British artist to work in this field. This meticulously researched, lavishly illustrated book is a glorious celebration of his work, and an absolutely essential addition to the bookshelves of anyone with a taste for classic pin-up and book cover artwork.

The book will be welcomed by the many fans of his work as for many, beyond his published work, his life is quite a mystery.

Heade’s lurid covers adored pulp paperbacks of authors such as Hank Janson, Roland Vane, Michael Storme, Paul Renin, Gene Ross and Spike Morelli. He also produced some superb Western paperback covers for Archer Books in the late 1940s, four sensitively painted colour plates for The Adventures of Robin Hood published by Collins, powerful illustrations in bold colour for a series of children’s classics for Partridge Publications Ltd., dust jackets for W.E. Johns’ Worrals books, some covers for A.P.’s Sexton Blake Library and later, under the name “Cy Webb”, extraordinarily-detailed work for Pan and Panther.

Suspense by Hank Janson. Cover by Reginald Heade

Cover by Reginald Heade

Born Reginald Cyril Webb in Plaistow, Essex, in 1901, he died in West Ham on 14th October 1957 leaving no children, no will and no evidence of his existence other than his signatures on the gorgeous covers he produced. In 1954, this website notes he even stopped signing his work, when the publisher of the books he illustrated went to jail on obscenity charges. (Heade’s artwork often pushed to the absolute limits of what was legally allowed for the time).

Sexton Blake by Reginald Heade

“Sexton Blake” by Reginald Heade

Art from a comic strip biography of the famous cross-dressing pirate Mary Read, for the weekly paper Answers, published in 1952. Art by Reginald Heade. (With thanks to Phil Rushton).

Art from a comic strip biography of the famous cross-dressing pirate Mary Read, for the weekly paper Answers, published in 1952. Art by Reginald Heade. (With thanks to Phil Rushton).

Heade also worked in comics, drawing covers for  Thriller Comics Library and the strips known to include “The Saga of the Red”, “The Captain from Castille”, “Sexton Blake versus the Astounding John Plague” and “Robin Hood” in the original Knock-Out (1949), “The Sky Explorers” in Comet (1952-53) and a comic strip biography of the famous cross-dressing pirate Mary Read for the weekly paper Answers, in 1952.

The Art of Reginald Heade
168pp. Large format 22cm x 28cm hardback. Fully illustrated in full colour throughout.
ISBN 978-1-84583-115-8
Published 31 October 2016

Pre-order the book here

Check out some covers by Reginald Heade here and here (be advised they could by some be considered at the very least “racy”)

Categories: Art and Illustration, British Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News

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3 replies

  1. Reg Heade had a daughter. He had a heart attack in his flat in Queens Mansions, Brook Green , west London. His wife was called “Paddy “. I have some of his sketches and original photos of some of his models, plus 36 sketches for Treasure Island, with the publishers book sent to Heade for approval. I have also a nice water colour with Reg’s pencilled details on it. There is also a charcoal sketch of an African man, that was shown at a top London gallery. He did a charcoal portrait of my father which is in the US.

    • Thanks very much for sharing those memories and information, Michael. I’m sure fans of his work will be fascinated to know of this.

    • Thanks for those comments, Michael. Very interesting indeed! There’s a second volume of “The Art of Reginald Heade” currently in preparation, so I’d really like to hear more of your reminiscences. Please e-mail me at if you see this message – I’d love to get in touch with you. Thanks again!

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