Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Compleat Cannon


Going for about two hundred dollars used at Amazon and elsewhere on the 'Net, thought I'd tip off Wood fans that Fantagraphics' volume, THE COMPLEAT CANNON, is still available through the publisher at its original price of only $19.95! If you're a (grown-up) Wood fan, this collection features some of his best work from the seventies!

11 comments:

  1. Woody outdid himself for this series. It's got some of the best of his "non-fantasy" work, period.

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  2. I love the art but can't help but cringe at what seems to be his hatred of women...I mean couldn't he make one woman have a brain? Maybe it is just typical of the repressed 1950s male. Still, I feel a loss of potential with this series.

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  3. Madame Toy seems quite cunning and intelligent in the strip. On the other hand, she does indulge in a catfight with Sue over Cannon, so maybe you're right. I think this book should maybe be read in historical context, like Uncle Tom's Cabin. It's very much of its time, like '60s 007 films, including the chauvinism of both and frequently, their arguable misogyny. Let's not overlook that the nudity in Cannon is often presented with tongue in cheek, too. I doubt that Woody was expressing hatred of women very much in the strip, but I suppose that at times he might have been. What man hasn't felt negative feelings towards women at one point or another, or at least towards some of the things that women seem to tend to do?

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  4. As a side comment, God forbid that somebody should resurrect this series in comics form or as a movie at some point and give us a politically correct Cannon! :-)

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  5. As deadly earnest as this series tended to be, I always thought of it as an over-the-top parody of the violence and misogyny found in not just the Bond films but the scores of paperback spy series that began in the sixties and lingered into the seventies.

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  6. Bookstoresteve, I agree with you. Sally Forth and Cannon both seem to lean heavily on the recurring gag where a woman will be nude, and she'll start to say, "Wait...my clothes!" And somebody else will say, or seem like they're ready to say, "No time for that now!"

    Cannon is often so incorrigibly ridiculous, it's hard to take it too seriously, really.

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  7. I don't think you're supposed to take CANNON or SALLY FORTH seriously. I think these strips were mostly about Wood's frustration with the comic industry, the people who ran it, and the kinds of materials they produced. I think these strips were Wood's "shock and awe" acts of defiance--a big "up yours" to mainstream comics. They are silly and ridiculous. They are over the top and extremely graphic. They were calculated to be just that. These books aren't everyone's cup of tea, and they were never meant to be. I think they were Wood's way of trying to exercise some personal demons, while at the same times trying to get a rise out of people. In a weird way, I'm sure he found this sort of thing to be therapeutic. Discarding the "rules" and not worrying about what everyone else thinks. I think that's what CANNON and SALLY FORTH represent. That's what I take from them. I see an artist's personal frustration and torment spilling out in ink. Your mileage of course is bound to vary.

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  8. My impression has been that Frazetta and Wood drew the sexiest women EVER...I would just be interested to know how they treated women in their lives. Did Wood's wives ever give interviews? I've always felt that while men as a species are emotionally repressed, the 1950s male was a unique sort in a unique time, where bluster and macho were highly valued and women still were expected to be traditional. I sense that in Cannon and Forth, Wood was really taking shots at feminism that went against his deep set 1950s cultural beliefs. There is no question Wood was a genius, I just wonder where his art would have gone if he had let go of the apparent anger and related it to women with love rather than...fear?

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  9. Wood did draw amazing women! He certainly was lashing out at feminism in these particular works. I don't think there's any question about that! I understand your frustration with CANNON and SALLY FORTH too, to be sure. They are some of my least favorite Wally Wood comics because all I have ever been able to take from them is that they are Wood lashing out against everything. They are very, very cynical, and you don't have to be a genius to see Wood's frustrations in these works. CANNON is particularly bleak. SALLY FORTH's absurdities and satirical aspects keep it from being as dark a work as CANNON, but they both illustrate the artist's frustration with the world around him. I clearly see that in these books. Give me Wood's EC/MAD works, Warren stories, and Tower Comics any day over these strips.

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  10. The question of whether Wood's wives have been interviewed is a great one, and I certainly hope somebody undertakes such chats with Tatjana, Muriel, and Marilyn, assuming all are still with us. I believe these interviews would shed a great deal of light on certain attitudes that Wood may or may not have held as far as women, that appear to be expressed in his art. Tatjana, at least, apparently continued to hold him in fond regard and considered their divorce to be Woody's mistake, and not necessarily something she wanted.

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