RUSSEL HEATH DIED August 23, 2018 after deteriorating health issues and a bad fall which he suffered in the hospice care facility he was put in
The fall left him bleeding and incapacitated but conscious and led to him being put in intensive care .
There is no information regarding whether this fall contributed to his death or not.
I had the pleasure of visiting with him a few times in his last months and wish I had encountered him much earlier in life: he was a fantastically talented, funny and engaging human being. Bravo, Russ.
Russ Heath [badazz amazing artist] is 92 years old and having difficulties.
I’m just posting this as a public paper trail…just in case such a thing is needed.
I sent the following letter to the hero initiative in the course of trying to find out what is going on behind the scenes with the folks who are apparently helping him out.
I’ll update it with positive info as it becomes available.
To whom it may concern:
I met Russ 6 or so months ago at a C.A.P.S x-mas event.
He and I had a good time talking especially since people were avoiding talking to him owing to his hearing problems and his bawdy humor.
I found him quite charming and gifted him with a recent artbook I self published.
It was apparent at that first meeting that walking was a bit of a struggle, it is definitely more so at this point, he has difficulty sitting down, standing up, removing clothing, etc.
Fast forward a few months: via Dennis Mallonee/Heroic Publishing/C.A.P.S., I was told that Russ needed weekly help doing laundry, shopping and errands and that a small stipend would be paid for the day to the volunteer.
I told Dennis once I had locked down a new set of wheels this would not be a problem and would gladly help out stipend or not.
Fast forward again: this past weekend I was told Russ was moved to a new assisted living situation which as it happens is fairly close-by, so on Friday I called the hospice and had them communicate to him that someone would be coming by to check on him.
On Saturday my girlfriend and I visited Russ and what I found left me with some serious questions and made me uncomfortable.
1: his hearing has deteriorated a bit since that first meeting, and Russ had difficulty hearing my voice but less difficulty hearing my girlfriend…It would seem he has difficulty with lower frequency tones. It has come to my attention that Steve Wyatt had mentioned to [Heroic Publishing’s] Dennis Mallonee that Russ needed a hearing aid over a week ago, this has probably been true for at least six months to a year, something needs to be done NOW.
1a: His phone’s speaker [both the handset and speaker phone] has a one second delay and slight muffle that makes everything incomprehensible even for someone with good hearing.
1b: This means he is unable to contact anyone on his own.
1c: I suggested he get a computer so that he can establish contact with potential customers, fans, and friends via the internet. He appears to be a bit intimidated on learning how to use these- I think it’s actually because he has a hard time seeing clearly. If his vision can be restored with contacts, glasses, and worst case scenerio; surgery, I think it would be advantageous for him to be provided with laptop/desktop/tablet and some instruction on how to use them.
2: He had NO ART SUPPLIES AT ALL and apparently had been without them for quite some time since he had been moved into this new place. He was told that someone would get him some art supplies which apparently never happened.
I asked him what he needed, made a list, told him my girlfriend and I would run to the art store and return shortly with the supplies he needed.
3: We did so and returned with a comic art bristol pad, a ruler, two bottles of india ink, a set of microns, erasers, brushes, masking and transparent tape, two watercolor sets and brush rinsing jars.
4: Val [my girlfriend] and I hung out and talked with him until he got tired and needed his catheter taken care of by the nurses. What I heard during our conversations left me with the following questions:
A: I think Russ is also having focusing issues with his eyes because he couldn’t see some art I was showing him 2-3 feet away and struggles to read. If I had known this on this past Friday, I would’ve taken him on Saturday to have his eyes tested and possibly fitted for glasses to resolve this issue asap so that Russ can maintain some degree of autonomy. This needs to be dealt with by somebody asap if you have no one available, I will resolve it on my own.
It is my opinion that his wits are intact but his physical faculties are weakened and he is NOT speaking up about it: I searched and found recent commissions online and the few original sketches he had in his portfolio and they look like he is having serious trouble drawing because of vision impairment.
Additionally: HE HAS NONE OF HIS ORIGINAL ART, NO BANK ACCOUNT AND NO CASH IN POCKET: HE IS COMPLETELY WITHOUT RESOURCES AND UNABLE TO CONTACT ANYONE IF HE NEEDS HELP OR IS HAVING AN EMERGENCY. I DO NOT PLACE TOO MUCH STOCK IN THE HOSPICE STAFF THAT I SAW THERE.
WHERE IS ALL OF HIS ORIGINAL ART???!!! HE HAS NONE.
HE IS 92 YEARS OLD AND HIS LIFETIME OF CREATING HAS LEFT HIM WITH NOTHING EXCEPT RECENT DOODLES?
He told us that at the last assisted living situation, the male nurses were belligerent, possibly abusive and definitely manhandled him. I do not know if this is so, but he says he was in a dangerous situation and at least was happy to no longer be there. Is anybody checking (by checking I mean visiting and assessing the quality of care he’s being provided with and what his apparent health status might be) on him on a regular basis?
I am new to this situation and am reluctant to point fingers but something isn’t lining up right and I do not like what I see going on.
Dennis forwarded my expenditure to acting C.A.P.S. president to which he was given an ambivalent response.
I do not care whether or not I am reimbursed, however; if this is how “hero initiative” helps a 92 year old member of the comic art community by creating situations where possible opportunists can take advantage then I would like to know who is accountable.
What exactly is Hero Initiative’s involvement with Russ’s situation, if any at this point?
What has Hero Initiative provided (if anything)?
Who is running point guard and taking the responsibility of staying aware of his situation and advocating for him?
From what I’ve seen online, it would appear Hero Initiative made some kind of attempt years ago in helping him deal with joint replacement surgery, I know some of the names that have appeared, but do not know if they were in fact responsible agents of the Hero Initiative support mechanism or whether they were operating as arbitrary individual supporters acting on their own initiative.
Again I really don’t know what the situation is; all I know is I visited a 92-year old comic book artist and have questions as to who is in charge of making sure he is in as good a situation as possible. There is nothing on this site that speaks of who are the beneficiaries of your advocacy nor who should be contacted in case of emergency.
The tone of this communication is obviously alarmist but as I stated earlier I am new to the situation and do not know what the score is, if his well-being is being monitored, please update me with who is responsible for that as I would like to keep an active eye on this situation and apologize if my alarmist pov is unwarranted. I do not mean to be accusatory or insulting.
I appreciate in advance any information you can provide me with and or any positive action you’re able to take on Russ’s behalf.
I will be posting this publicly.