Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Roger Brand Fan Art

The late Roger Brand was, like Dan Adkins, a fan artist who became a Woodworker circa 1964 (around the DAREDEVIL period). He worked with Wood and later Gil Kane through the end of the decade. Although Wood's influence often showed through, he would develop his own style in work for WITZEND, Warren Magazines and a number of underground comix. Here's a piece of early super-hero fan art by Roger Brand featuring the Justice Society of America.

Monday, June 29, 2009

David Allen Jones Remembers

Reprinted by permission from THE JOHNNY BACARDI SHOW, Tuesday, January 14, 2003--http://johnnybacardi.blogspot.com/

"When I was 18 or so, I saw an ad in (I think) the Comics Journal. It advertised the opportunity to join a new club that was started by none other than the legendary artist Wally Wood. For $15, a mere pittance, you could receive copies of his newest, self-published works, a membership card, a newsletter updating you on upcoming projects, and the coup de grace, an original Wood sketch of your choice. I couldn't resist; I signed up immediately and sent my check for fifteen bucks. Being an aspiring comic book artist, I couldn't resist the opportunity to write one of my art heroes...I told him of my ambitions and asked if he would be willing to review some samples of my stuff. Oh the chutzpah of 18. Anyway, below you can read his reply, as well as see the envelope, membership card, and cancelled check. Needless to say, Woody was a far better artist than he was a prognosticator. What I eventually received was the latest collections of Sally Forth, the Wizard King, and Cannon, all B&W and gorgeously drawn. What I didn't receive was my frigging original sketch. Oh well, sobered by the tone of his response, I never got around to sending him any of my art...too bad, I understand he was in failing health by then and probably could have used the laugh. A couple of years later, he was dead, but I have still held on to all the swag I got as a member of the Friends of Odkin and wouldn't trade it for all the tea in China."

Send your own Wood encounters, anecdotes or memorabilia to booksteve@aol.com.

Greg Firmin Remembers

"I first discovered Wally in the 1960s in those great Ballantine MAD paperbacks, I was hooked. I've just always loved his artwork. I guess my favorite stuff would be his MAD work and the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents. I'm not so much into the cluttered EC work. I prefer his 60s/70s less cluttered style but I love all his work. I was really shocked when I read that he commited suicide. I like the man as much as his artwork. I continue to be fascinated with him. Great memories and I always enjoy looking at his work. Sadly I never met him and he lived only a few miles away when he was in Van Nuys, CA but I had no idea whatsoever! Long live Wally Wood!"

If you'd like, share your own memories of Wallace Wood--the man, the artist, the legend. Email them to booksteve@aol.com and we'll continue to share memories from fans and co-workers from time to time.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Wallace Wood Checklist on Sale

Sorry I didn't catch this sooner but THE WALLACE WOOD CHECKLIST, an indispensible resource for fans of Woodwork, is 50% off from TwoMorrows through Tuesday, June 30th! Go here to order:


Amazingly detailed fake movie poster by Wood from the very first magazine issue of MAD. Embiggen and enjoy!

Friday, June 26, 2009


Not sure what this interesting MAD-looking piece is but perhaps Greg Firmin knows. I borrowed it from his Facebook photo album of Woodwork and pictures! Greg?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wood's Avengers Covers

During his relatively brief stay at Marvel, Wood teamed once again with his former SKY MASTERS OF THE SPACE FORCE penciller, Jack Kirby on these three AVENGERS covers.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

M.A.R.S. Patrol

Between DAREDEVIL and T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS, Wallace Wood's most notable series was Gold Key's TOTAL WAR (M.A.R.S. PATROL TOTAL WAR beginning with issue 3). Running ten issues over a five year period beginning in 1965, Wood and Dan Adkins were only involved with the first three but their enthusiasm showed. As Gold Key--like Dell before it--had always eschewed the Comics Code, Woody went to town with comic strip violence in what might almost be seen as a dry run for his later CANNON strip. TOTAL WAR told the story of a mysterious force invading the US, With Cold War paranoia being what it was, this had been an underlying fear for a generation by 1965. In this take, the US military's response is augmented by the M.A.R.S. Patrol, the Marine Attack Rescue Service Patrol, a specially trained group of fighters who take on the unknown invaders issue ater issue. The first three issues contain some of Woody's best comics work from this period and were recently collected by Dark Horse with an intro by Adkins.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Killer Kid

Another found on the 'Net rarity, this one's a tad creepy...and I don't mean as in Jim Warren's CREEPY! No clue what this sketch was for but note Nipper, the RCA dog up at the top.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Howland Owl on Wally Wood

Courtesy of the ever-popular Thom Buchanan, here's a 1960 tribute to Wood from Walt Kelly's POGO. Thom isn't sure if this was an actual strip or extra art for the book reprint but either way, it's nifty wordplay and a nice tribute. On another ocassion, Kelly named the boat with the ever-changing name (usually from panel to panel even!) after Wood!



Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Woody!

Wallace Wood's posthumous birthday is being remembered across Facebook today as well as by Pete over at the Bronze Age of Blogs who offers up a Marvel fantasy tale and THE MISFITS! Check it out!


Captain Action

CAPTAIN ACTION was one of the toy sensations of 1966 and 1967. A superhero GI JOE in a way, Cap was an action figure whose add-ons were actually superhero costumes for a variety of other cross-company characters from Batman and Steve Canyon to Spider-Man and Buck Rogers. A tie-in comic would seem impossible because of the different companies involved. I guess that's why it was late '68 when the tie-in comic finally appeared with a backstory that simply took the basic character's visuals and made up everything else. Unfortunately, by 1968 the moment had passed and Ideal's Captain was no longer particularly popular.

Issue one was scripted by DC's boy wonder, Jim Shooter and drawn and inked solo by Wally Wood! Some really nice work from his late sixties DC stay that was mostly inking. In fact, with issue two, Gil Kane took over the pencilling while Shooter still scripted part two of the tale of the Captain and the magic coins that give him power. The Kane/Wood combo is always a good one and Kane is in particularly good form in CAPTAIN ACTION. In fact, Kane apparently enjoyed it so much that with issue three he took over the scripting chores, also, while Wally continued the inks. Issue four is almost a one-man job with script, pencils AND inks by Kane "with an editorial assist by Julie Schwartz." Assist? You mean Kane was editing it by the point, too!? Woody was back inking Gil for the final issue, number five. The whole brief run is a fairly self-contained (except for a brief Superman cameo in issue one to justify putting him on the cover), nicely drawn and sometimes emotionally affecting series. It'll probably never be reprinted as DC has long since lost the rights. There's a new and not too bad CAPTAIN ACTION series now but it's a different guy. Not the same. Good art, though...but no Kane or Wood. Too bad.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Space Ghost and the White Knight

Another Net-grab. The fact that these two apparent hero characters appear next to a rough for Wood's Harvey Comics story, EARTHMAN, would seem to date them to around that same point in the mid-sixties. Also, note the Knight's similarity to RADIAN from WHAM-O GIANT COMICS, also from that period. All of this makes me wonder if Woody was perhaps already mulling over in his mind some sort of bigger sci-fi super hero concept than just a few individual stories. Perhaps this was the gestation of what soon thereafter appeared as the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. AGENTS?
Just a thought.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Rand Holmes and Wally Wood

If there were ever any doubt that underground artist Rand Holmes developed his art style by emulating Wallace Wood, these two examples should clear that up. Passed on by Patrick Rosenkranz, author of the soon-to-be-released Rand Holmes retrospective we wrote about earlier (and which can be pre-ordered here: http://www.amazon.com/Artist-Himself-Rand-Holmes-Retrospective/dp/1606991701 ) passes along these two pages from Holmes' sketchbook, each conveniently labeled by the artist, "Wood steal." Thanks, Mr. R! Can't wait to see your book!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Rejects Animation Art

Nothing was ever animated featuring Woody's REJECTS (as Bhob S reminds me, not the MISFITS)characters but apparently it was considered at one point. Here, as found on the Net, are a couple of drawings supposedly from that project.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Wood for Alka Seltzer

This may well have been the most successful and widely seen piece of commercial art that Wally Wood ever did. For the story of Woody's "Stomachs get even at night" ad, though, I'm going to refer you to Wood historian (and a bit of a legend in his own right) Bhob Stewart over at his POTRZEBIE blog--

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Larry Hama

Today is former Woodworker Larry Hama's birthday. Any readers on Facebook should look him up and wish him a good one! An actor, musician, writer, artist, editor and all around renaissance guy, Hama worked most famously for Wood during the CANNON and SALLY FORTH days. As the "father" of the version of GI JOE that's just about to hit the big screen, Larry has long-since carved out his own place in pop culture and comics history. For more information on his accomplishments, see:

African Scream!

In our ongoing effort to alert you readers to all things Wood, we now send you back once again to Thom Buchanan's great illustrators site. Today, as part of a salute to the unique beauty of the late Katherine Hepburn, he presents in toto Wally Wood's lampoon of THE AFRICAN QUEEN from Al Feldstein's PANIC!

Pt 1 is at the end of this post:

Here's part 2:

Friday, June 5, 2009

Angel and the Ape

Another link today. This one once again to Mr. Joe Bloke down at GRANTBRIDGE STREET. Joe offers a late sixties ANGEL AND THE APE story with the lovely art combination of Bob Oksner and Wally Wood. Has there ever been a better combination for pretty girls? This is a genuinely funny story in this short-lived but well-remembered series parodying the comics industry of the time.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Art of Harvey Kurtzman

Back when I still had money, I pre-ordered a copy of THE ART OF HARVEY KURTZMAN by Denis Kitchen and Paul Buhle. After some delays, this coffee table celebration of one of my own artistic and comedic heroes arrived today. As with many books of this type, one can hardly quibble with what's present but one can easily question what's missing. In this case, the latter includes much of the work in Kurtzman's final decades which is glossed over in a mere handful of pages. The rest, however, is wonderful and presents a long section on MAD and Harvey's collaboration with his artists. These, of course, included Wally Wood. In fact, Kurtzman and Wood's classic SUPERDUPERMAN is reprinted in its entirety yet again in eight full color pages!

Here's the official Abrams press release stuff: Harvey Kurtzman discovered Robert Crumb and gave Gloria Steinem her first job in publishing when he hired her as his assistant. Terry Gilliam also started at his side, met an unknown John Cleese in the process, and the genesis of Monty Python was formed. Art Spiegelman has stated on record that he owes his career to him. And he's one of Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner's favorite artists.

Harvey Kurtzman had a Midas touch for talent, but was himself an astonishingly talented and influential artist, writer, editor, and satirist. The creator of MAD and Playboy's "Little Annie Fanny" was called, "One of the most important figures in postwar America" by the New York Times. Kurtzman's groundbreaking "realistic" war comics of the early '50s and various satirical publications (MAD, Trump, Humbug, and Help!) had an immense impact on popular culture, inspiring a generation of underground cartoonists. Without Kurtzman, it's unlikely we'd have had Airplane, SNL, or National Lampoon.

The Art of Harvey Kurtzman is the first and only authorized celebration of this "Master of American Comics." This definitive book includes hundreds of never-before-seen illustrations, paintings, pencil sketches, newly discovered lost E.C. Comics layouts, color compositions, illustrated correspondence, and vintage photos from the rich Kurtzman archives

With the recent HUMBUG collection and forthcoming reprints of TRUMP and probably HELP, it's a good time to be or to become a Kurtzman fan. THE ART OF HARVEY KURTZMAN is then a necessary purchase.

See also my recent speculation on just how wide-ranging Kurtzman's influence might be:

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

TV Guide

The March 23, 1968 edition of TV GUIDE featured an article about how violent comic book heroes (as well as comic book LIKE heroes) were taking over the Saturday morning cartoon crowd from the traditional funny animals (and POPEYE). To illustrate this article, they turned to a comic book artist not really associated with either comic book super heroes OR funny animals--Wallace Wood. Makes sense to me. That said, this became one of Woody's most widely seen and reprinted illustrations and gave him the opportunity to draw more super heroes at once then he ever had before or afterwards. Although often found in black and white, here's the color version courtesy of CAL'S CANADIAN CAVE OF COOLNESS at http://calvinscanadiancaveofcool.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Witzend Cover Sketch

Once again from Thom Buchanan's http://mydelineatedlife.blogspot.com/, we have more rare Wally Wood. This is apparently an unused (and surprisingly traditional) signed cover sketch for Woody's ground-breaking WITZEND magazine/fanzine/prozine.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Concord, Take Two

Okay, let's try this again. Thanks to the ace research abilities of friend Lisa ( http://lisa-mynx.blogspot.com/ ), we now present a much improved scan of the original art to Wood's classic CONCORD print!