Where Does It Come From, cont. Wally Wood
I probably first discovered Wally Wood through some of his stories for the old Warren magazines– Creepy and Eerie, one example of which is directly above. Of course by then Woody was a past master of comics, particularly science fiction books. Though he’d also made his indelible mark on superhero comics, humor, war and other genres by then as well. Wood’s work crystallized so many things that I strive for in my own work– the sheer balance, beauty and solidity of his figures, the wonderful sense of place, detail and dramatic lighting and the over-all feeling of being transported to an exotic, idealize setting in every story he drew. Woods approach was classical, even sculptural in his world-building. Everything was polished and rendered to a perfect finish, whether it was muddy trenches in WWI, the scales on a mythic beast, or the sleek panels on a star-spanning spaceship. Nowhere was Wood’s idealization of sculpted human form more fully realized than in his legendary run on the long-gone mid-60’s Tower Comic’s line, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents. The line was basically tailor-make for Wood, and in these stories he showed off his strong, immaculate draftsmanship with breathtaking clarity and command. I discovered these books as a young comics fan and they imprinted on me deeply. And, as I mentioned in a much earlier post, his depiction of the “Iron Maiden” character has left a mark that carries through to my own approach to drawing Trekker to this day, low-sling pistol belt included.Wood made his first big impact in comics with EC Comic’s science fiction titles back in the ’50’s. You can find many collections and reprints of the EC books. None, of course, more gorgeous and lavish than the IDW “Artist’s Edition” shot with loving fidelity from Wood EC originals.By all reports, Wally Wood was an intense, private and cripplingly introverted cartoonist. He funneled all of his passion into creating these rich worlds on paper and in the imagination. After decades of crafting stories of heroic deeds and fearless characters, Wood met a tragic end on his own terms. He left the comic-creating world the poorer, but he has also left us with a body of work of rare perfection and mastery. I’m only one in a long, long line of artists who continue to draw inspiration from his work with every page I draw. Thanks, Wally.