Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Marvel Comics Art of Wally Wood

To be honest, I've never really been sure exactly what this harcover book is! It came out in 1982, the year following Woody's death, so it can be assumed to be a tribute. It is NOT, however, published by Marvel Comics. According to the copyright info it is, in fact, licensed from Marvel. The publisher is Thumbtack Books. I have never heard of them in any other situation. Just this book. According to the book itself, they were based in Brooklyn but the book was printed in Italy. More than anything else it resembles a more garishly colored British Annual.

Once past that mystery, however, it is an enjoyable package. Woody loved to do self-portraits and the cover here is a nice mid-period one from "Flight of Fear," one of the TOWER OF SHADOWS reprints included in the volume. It's augmented nicely with some sword and sorcery images from the other stories. The first half of the book, in fact, is made up of Wood's late-sixties Marvel fantasy stories. The latter half is the memorable DOCTOR DOOM series from ASTONISHING TALES #1-3. Perhaps the most unusual Doom story of them all, Roy Thomas's script features aliens, mummies, other dimensions, and a Latvarian revolution, all of which are readily handled by Wood at something of a peak of his art from that period.


  1. I love this book! It's one of the prized Wood collectables in my collection. The fantasy stories in this one were just fantastic.

  2. "The Marvel Comics Art of Wally Wood" looks like the english version of "Sorcelleries", a french anthology published in 1982 by Neptune Editions, the publishing house of Fershid Bharucha (it's also printed in Italy).

  3. I have this book. When I was doing my chronological re-reading of all my 60's-70's Marvels, I dug it out because it was the only versions of the stories I had. Oversized (about the format of Warren's magazines), in full color on good paper, and SHARP reproduction, I feel sure the art looks BETTER than it did in the original printings-- someting Marvel was NEVER able to claim (until, maybe, the last 5 years or so).

    Wood actually did 4 episodes of DR. DOOM, but I'm sure the book skipped the last one because it was the beginning of a new story, finished off by George Tuska & Mike Esposito. The story I heard was, editor Stan Lee got ANGRY at Wood when he found out Wood was doing finished over Larry Hama's layouts, and Lee got in his face insisting he was paying for "full Wood art!" From a guy who made a career out of stealing other people's credit and writing pay, that's a lot of nerve.

    Apparently Wood left in mis-story, ending his 2nd association with Marvel about as quickly as his first one had. It's no wonder Wood spent the rest of his life hating Lee with a passion, and sayng things in interviews like, "That's what I LIVE for-- to see a guy like Lee get what's coming to him!"

    Absurdly, Wood's TOWER OF SHADOWS stories were not even promoted on the covers of the issues they appeared in. Lee's editorial sense went completely to hell on those books, the TOS logo was awful, as were most of the covers. Both TOS and its companion title, CHAMBER OF DARKNESS, soon began to include reprints, and then had their formats changed before long.