From 1952, the original art for this classic EC cover by Wood sold at auction today--coincidentally Woody's birthday--for $840,000!
Sunday, May 30, 2021
Here we have some rare early Wood, circa 1950, as published in a digest comic book called CANDID TALES aimed at adult males (and let's face it, probably teenage males if they could find it). It's not unknown, as it was listed in TwoMorrows' definitive (if incomplete) Wood checklist but it s rare and I don't believe ever reprinted. It's also sexist, misogynist, and really not all that funny. Wood may have had help from Harry Harrison, Joe Orlando, or Sid Check on this, but even then, it's the Woodwork that shines through as always! The entire issue of CANDID TALES--which also contains work from future Wood collaborator Bob Powell, can be found at the Digital Comics Museum site.
Saturday, March 14, 2020
One of Wood's most popular creations remains SALLY FORTH, the hilarious, naughty but not dirty black & white strip he did for the US troops overseas in the early 1970s. Although revived at the end of his life as a hardcore strip for Nuance, it was still in black and white and it's been generally believed by most that Sally never appeared in color. It has come to my attention, however, that she did, in France, in the late 1970s or early 1980s. You can find copies--in French, of course, on eBay, and if you look hard enough, there is a scanned copy floating around the Interwebs.
Sally Forth is, of course, ™ and © 2020 the Wallace Wood Estate
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
This is a tough book to review because, of course, Wallace Wood was great. Parts of this book, though, are not.
One of THE very best and most influential artists to ever have worked in comics, Wood was jointly celebrated for his sleek and shiny science fiction art, his impish and biting humor art, and his unapologetically sexy and sometimes smutty Good Girl Art, there have been multiple volumes collecting the best of his work in two of those categories, but only one in the latter.
This new volume from Fantagraphics then could be considered an expanded revision of that earlier volume, Naughty Knotty Wood, published by the same company more than two decades ago. Only it isn’t really.
Naughty Knotty Wood has quite a few pieces that aren’t represented here at all. Likewise, this current volume has nearly 100 more pages, many of them taken up by the never before reprinted flat out pornographic strips from Gang Bangthat appeared late in Wood’s life. While they more than fit the topic, a few of them inarguably qualify as the worst things that he ever drew.
But enough with comparisons, how’s THIS particular book, you ask? Well, it has its ups and downs. It’s good to have all this material corralled into one volume. Some of it—Malice in Wonderland, for instance, or some of his Screwcovers—can be counted amongst the best of Wood’s later work.
The Pussycat strip is a delightful revelation when compared to the murky 1968 printing with which most fans would be familiar. The Wood Estate’s J. David Spurlock discusses the behind the scenes story of that and several other unique items in his informative Introduction. He also explains the book’s unusual title, a poorly chosen reference to a long-ago French collection of Woodwork that makes no real sense. This book’s descriptive subtitle alone would have sufficed, rather than tagging it with the silly bit of Euro-naughtiness that’s likely to turn away potential customers.
Editor J. Michael Catron, who handled the completion chores on the recent two volume Fantagraphics collection of Wood-related essays begun by the late Bhob Stewart, presumably provided the info in the Contents as to the original publication of the various pieces in the book. It’s welcome information although I would have preferred it being with the pieces themselves, rather than having to go back and check the Contents whenever I wanted to know more. Also, I was surprised to see one of Wood’s most famous 1970s pieces—the glorious outer space cover of his first self-published Sally Forth collection—listed as “Publication status unknown.”
Spurlock writes a nice bio of Wood at the end but unfortunately it contains some repetitious bits that come almost word for word from his Intro.
In between the Intro and the bio, you’ll find color and black and white girlie cartoons and strips from mags like Gent, Dude, Nugget, Cavalcade, Puritan, National Screw, and Big Apple Comix, along with an underground Wood strip that was also in Naughty Knotty Wood but with a bizarrely rewritten script and even different credits! Would love to have heard the full story behind that.
So, yes, a mixed bag, For Wood collectors, it’s another welcome addition to the seemingly endless library of quality Wallace Wood books. Casual fans might find themselves wondering what all the fuss is about.
It should go without saying that Cons De Fee: The Erotic Art of Wallace Wood is NSFW and is for adults only!
Booksteve recommends for Wallace Wood fans.
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Have I mentioned that it’s a good time to be a Wally Wood fan? There have been so many great books covering Wood’s life, art, and career in one or more capacities in recent years that a fan could easily fill a bookcase with nothing but wonderful Woodwork!
The latest of these books is Vanguard’s cleverly titled DARE-DEVIL ACES, subtitled “Commandos and Other Sagas of War.” As you might suspect from that title, this is a collection of Wood’s war-related comics stories. Well, most of them anyway. Avoiding repetition, the already widely printed EC’s and the separately published BLAZING COMBAT pieces are instead covered herein via informative text pieces and some original art pages.
The meat of this volume consists of lesser-known material originally published by Charlton, Harvey, Avon, Tower, and even DC Comics. Military comic books flourished throughout the 1950s and into the ‘60s until ant-Vietnam sentiment began driving many of them out of business. Sgt. Rock and Sgt. Fury managed to hang on a bit longer, as did a few under-the-radar Charlton titles, but the boom had ended.
While the boom lasted, though, Woody contributed some typically attractively drawn pieces, some concurrent to his amazing MAD years, and those often uncredited—but easily recognizable—stories are to be found here.
Storywise, most are lacking in comparison to Harvey Kurtzman’s highly researched war/anti-war EC’s but that doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of Wood’s art, which is really why you’re here. In fact, most of these stories, originally printed on cheap pulp paper (REALLY cheap pulp paper in the case of the Charltons!) have never looked better. The decision to reproduce from the original comics on slick paper goes a long way toward covering up many of the printing flaws of the original comics.
And make no mistake! While some of the examples here might be considered lesser Wood, we’re also treated to The Lone Tiger and Dollar Bill Cash from 1966, considered by many to be some of the artist’s very best work of that decade. And Cannon! Wood’s own paramilitary strip superspy character that ran in the Overseas Weekly for years is represented here by the stories from both issues of Heroes, Inc., done with the great Steve Ditko! Dan Adkins, Maurice Whitman, and Russ Jones are also credited as working with Wood on a number of the pieces at hand.
Available in multiple editions, Dare-Devil Aces is a particularly attractive book and yet another choice addition to that Wallace Wood bookcase from Vanguard Publishing. With more to come, Wood fans might start shopping for bigger bookcases!
Friday, March 30, 2018
Sunday, February 4, 2018
Got my contributor copies last week so it should be shipping soon and arriving in stores. You can pre-order here: