Artist, Cartoonist, Inker, Publisher

(1927-1981)

Odds are if you've seen any old 50's sci-fi/spy/horror/crime comic books featuring astronauts, aliens, exotic villains or the like, then you've seen the work of Wally Wood.  Wood crafted his most dynamic works with E.C. Comics and was a tremendously talented science fiction artist.  He generally signed his name simply "Wood" in an small Old-English style font at the bottom of the splash page.

Wood worked with Jules Feiffer on Will Eisner's The Spirit and he also excelled at parody; when E.C. Comics began publishing it's first satire comic, MAD Magazine, Wood crafted some of its most famous cartoons: "Superduperman", "V-Vampires," and "Batboy and Rubin."  Wood later worked for the major comic publishers Marvel and DC, supplying artwork for Daredevil and Jack Kirby's Challenger's of The Unknown.  He continued to work for MAD for approximately 70 issues.

The emergence of fanzines in the mid 60's prompted Wood, who grew tired of the constraints of the comic publishing industry, to start his own label: thus he created the magazine WitzendWitzend was an environment controlled entirely by Wood, who published his own work and included contributions from popular and underground artists alike.  Witzend was one of the first proponents of artist-owned material, and it served as the creative springboard for such artists as Vaugn Bode and Howard Chaykin.  It produced one of Wood's favorite personal works: The Wizard King, a fantasy series about the life of a young boy who would become king. 

Poor health, depression and alcoholism took its toll on Wood, whose work diminished.  By the late 70's and early 80's he was suffering from poor eyesight and kidney problems and drew primarily for pornographic magazines.  He was hospitalized briefly for his failing kidneys and, shortly after an attempted to sell The Wizard King as an animated project, Wood killed himself in Van Nuys, California. 

The Atlas Comics list of the 100 Greatest Comic Artists lists him as #8 with the following tribute:

Disillusioned, bitter, and in ill health he eventually committed suicide rather than face his final days. If only he could have let people closer and allowed them to help, or if he could have taken to heart what generations of fans have always known: he was truly one of the greats.

Check out some of his cover illustrations:

http://userwww.service.emory.edu/~rdgarr/00Galleries/wood-gallery/ww-gal.html




When I get home I'm gonna go thru my old comic collections and try to put together a list of some of Wood's stuff

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