I know what you mean. My 26 year old gaskets left me the same kind of mess when I pulled the heads. I'm wanting to replace the heads with Euros as one of mine is likely cracked. The '83 US motor that I picked up on Ebay will work for now 'til I get the coin to sort through the original.
Look at the driver's side cylinder head mating surface in my head gaskets thread. The photos also reveal just how little carbon deposit there was on the pistons; I'm sure the water in the bores had something to with that.