-By Arnie Fenner
IDW recently published a US edition of the catalogue that accompanied the 2010 Wally Wood museum retrospective in De Palma, Spain...and it's a doozy. Woodwork: Wallace Wood 1927-1981 is easily the best book ever produced about the influential comics artist and illustrator. Beloved for his intricate drawings for EC Comics in the 1950s and for his more graphic stories for Marvel, Warren, and Tower, Wood was also a pioneer in self-publishing and gave a number of young artists working as his assistance their first professional work. Besides comics he also created trading cards (he drew the lay-outs for many of the Mars Attacks cards that Norman Saunders painted), advertising art, magazine illustrations, and book covers (Wood drew Conan nearly ten years before Frazetta got his his crack at the character).
Wally Wood's story is sobering and, I guess, something of a cautionary tale. Despite being widely respected by his peers and extremely popular among fans, he struggled financially—and personally, physically, and, in the last decade of his life, creatively. Harvey Kurtzman said, "Wally had a tension in him, an intensity that he locked away in an internal steam boiler. I think it ate away his insides, and the work really used him up. I think he delivered some of the finest work that was ever drawn, and I think it's to his credit that he put so much intensity into his work at great sacrifice to himself." Wood commited suicide in 1981.
This book is a gorgeous tribute to one of the true visionaries of our field. And what made Wallace Wood so great? Well, take a look