Sunday, April 5, 2009

Wood and Kirby

Here's a beautiful example of SKY MASTERS OF THE SPACE FORCE, the newspaper adventure strip drawn by Jack "King" Kirby in the late 1950's/early '60's and inked (in the beginning) by Wallace Wood. Kirby had longed for syndicated strip success but this one came tinged with a less than wonderful deal he made with DC editor Jack Schiff. This ultimately led to a messy lawsuit and the demise of the strip just as American interest in the space program took off. The strip was written by Dave and Dick Wood (no relation) who apparently got a third of the profits to split between themselves. Kirby paid Wally out of his two-thirds, thus ensuring that Woody stayed out of the ensuing legal problems. Then Schiff demanded a cut due to brokering the initial sale of the strip. Dig up a back issue of the April, 1997 issue of THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR for an in-depth look at the legal proceedings that followed. The results sent Kirby scurrying from DC back to Atlas and put him in place to co-create THE FANTASTIC FOUR soon afterwards. In the same issue of TJKC, EC veteran Al Williamson has a nice quote about the Kirby/Wood collaboration: "...Wally was Wally. He and Jack Kirby, you can't mistake who they are. And the two of them working together is amazing, because you know it's Jack Kirby and you know it's Wally Wood!"

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