Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Man From Outer Space by Williamson...and Wood?

Although not listed in most Wood checklists, The Grand Comics Database speculates that Wood is inking his fellow EC sci-fi vet Al Williamson here on this 1958 Charlton story. Apparently it had previously been listed as Williamson with Sid Check. I'm not at all sure. Check's work always looked unpolished t me, even after Woody's work became very polished. I don't see a lot of things here that make me think Wood but I do see a few and they're pretty strong. What do you guys think? Bhob? David? Alan? Anyone else? 

 Some nifty Al Williamson art no matter who inked it!

UPDATE: David Spurlock thinks it's not even Williamson. Perhaps Dick Giordano aping the EC sci-fi style. I can kid of see that...and this was Charlton after all. Dick was doing 80% of everything at Charlton in the late fifties.


  1. The ship certainly looks Wood-like. On page one. Not so much by page four, which looks like it was done just ahead of deadline.

  2. The layouts and figures scream Williamson to me, but the finishes are very Wood-like. The space ship and most of the objects in panel 1 look like pure wood, similar to his style when he was at Marvel. Page 2 panel 2 features a space suit very similar to the kind Wally would draw in his sci-fi stories. The helmeted guy on page 3, panel 2 looks like a pure Wally Wood head, especially in the way the cheekbones are rendered.

    I wonder if this was Wally doing finishes over Williamson(?) breakdowns, or an example of Wood doing inks and altering it to fit his style, much like he did with Kirby on Sky Masters.

  3. Al Williamson was one of the greatest inkers in comic book history, but he wasn't a very good inker back in the 1950s. He often got others to help him out on the inking, because he was in fact a very poor inker back then. It's well known Frank Frazetta, Roy G. Krenkel and others helped him out many times on his EC stories. Williamson said as much in interviews also. Since 'THE MAN FROM OUTER SPACE" was a 1958 comic story, perhaps it's just one of those periods in Williamson's art career where he was simply looking at the works of Wood and Frazetta, and trying to figure out how he could incorporate some of their artistic magic into his own work?? Speculation on my part, but nothing about the inks particularly says "Wally Wood" to me. It's not slick enough to be Wood's line work, IMO, nor does it have the grace of Frazetta ink lines. But there are some aspects of the drawing that have Woody elements. Panel 4 on page 2 looks to have a very Wally Wood-like figure. The next to the last panel on the last page also has that Wally Wood spaceman neck yoke thingy. The spaceship has the look of one of Wood's EC spaceships, but I don't think it's done by Wood. The rendering isn't right. It looks more like Williamson might have been trying to draw a Woody ship to me. A

    I noticed that the guy with the busy eyebrows has that Frank Frazetta look about him. Not the crisp Frazetta line work, but there is something in the character of the face that feels Frazetta-esque. Page three, panel 5, in particular, evokes a little of the Frazetta feel, in my opinion.

    I don't see anything in these pages that would indicate that Wally Wood inked any of these pages though. Maybe Joe Orlando helped Al out? Heh. Speculation sure is fun.

    I'm left thinking about just how awesome of an inker guys like Wood and Frazetta were, and how amazing an inker Williamson would later become. These guys were the creme of the crop. All three are gone now, but their artworks will live on and on.

  4. This issue is not included in Wood or Williamson checklists, and Overstreet lists it possibly by Sid Check. It's definitely not by Wood, although it's a decent attempt at copying Williamson. Page three panel two looks unlike either of their styles, leading me to conclude this story is drawn by others.

  5. Personally, I'm leaning toward David Spurlock's suggestion more and more. I think this is Dick Giordano aping the classic EC sci-fi style--a little Woody, a little Willie, a little Fritz even. But look at that last page--very much that dull inking style Giordano often had in the fifties. And that spaceman's face--definitely not a Williamson or Wood face. None of it looks like Sid Check to me, though, who tended to be, for lack of a more specific term, sloppier. Was he even working in comics still by 1958?

  6. Ah. So it isn't established that it was Williamson doing the art? I thought that he was credited for it, and the Wood part of things was where the speculation rested. Okay. Makes more sense now, because it looked like a lot of aping going on, but I figured it was Al trying to experiment with the inks, etc. Giordano is a possibility, but this could be any one of a number of artists working back then. There are possibly swipes, homages, etc to consider as well. Makes it confusing to figure out who did this.

  7. I also doubt Wood's involvement. Williamson, perhaps, but the art is a mixed bag, and there is definite Giordano pencils and/or inks, particularly the faces and figures on pages 2 and 5.