Artist, Cartoonist, Inker, Publisher
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
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 Witzend. Witzend 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:
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