Woodwork: Wallace Wood 1927-1981

Woodwork Wallace Wood 1927 1981 cover

Wally Wood is one of the most celebrated comic artists of all time. His legendary career runs from the glory days of EC Comics’ extraordinary line of science fiction titles to the brilliantly subversive Mad Comics (and, later, Magazine). He produced extraordinary illustrations for magazines like Galaxy after EC folded, and worked on some of the most fondly remembered stories published by Marvel Comics in the mid-1960s. He also co-created the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents and was a pioneer in self-publishing.

This massive tome is the American edition of a museum catalogue that accompanied a gigantic career retrospective on display in De Palma Spain in 2010, the largest such exhibit ever devoted to this incredible artist.
Presented simultaneously in two languages, English and Spanish.

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As with all AE format material (Artist’s Editions, Artifact Editions, Gallery Editions, Art Editions, Studio Editions, etc), this is a collection of classic comic material and I’ll be reviewing the book and not the story. For a complete list of all current and announced editions, with review links, please visit our Index. Also, see What is an Artist’s Edition and our Artist Index.

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A very comprehensive look at Wallace (Wally) Wood’s career, all in one volume, with a focus on original art. Since this was an exhibit catalogue that makes sense and is from the same team as Big John Buscema: Comics & Drawings. English is the bolded text and Spanish is beside it. Produced by Éditions Déesse and printed for the North American audience by IDW.

Florez delivers an excellent biography, with comic pages and original art as part of his portrayal. It moves well and he isn’t afraid to present a strong opinion. We’re taken through Wood’s life and career from childhood on, with chapters dedicated to each portion. Flórez states in his introduction “Frederic insisted on highlighting Wood’s more luminous side, ignoring darker visions evoked in some publications”.

As always the focus here is on the original art, so the included photos are focused on that. And this catalogue has a lot of original art. There are several complete stories presented: Trial by Arms from Two-Fisted Tales #34, There Will Come Soft Rains… from Weird Fantasy #17, The Children from Weird Science-Fantasy #23, My World from Weird Science-Fantasy #22, Flash Gordon and the Space Pirates from The Phantom #18, To Kill a God! from Vampirella #12, and My Word from Big Apple Comix. All are full-page except My Word.

The scans are wonderful: clear, clean and without issue. For the most part, we’re presented with the full art page, with the Marvel Daredevil covers appearing cropped. So we get to see margin notes, correction fluid, paste-ups, and gradients in the blacks. An excellent display of original art at a reduced size.

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Manzano’s design is bright, thoughtful and engaging. The mix of bright comic art and original art keeps the eye engaged from page to page. The red from the cover moves to the chapter dividers and headers. Because of the dual languages, the text at times seems poorly distributed, but that it also needed to flow with the copious amount of images. Every image states the issue, title, and for the original art medium, size, and owner. Chapter and page numbers along the bottom right pages. Plus a silk ribbon!

This is a sturdy and well-produced book. A sewn binding of medium glossy paper in hardcover. The binding is a bit tight and we lose the gutter on the very few double-page spreads. I wasn’t able to photograph the pages without a streak of glare on each page.

The EC material has previously been collected in Wally Wood’s EC Stories Artist’s Edition and MAD Artist’s Edition, and the Tower Comics material in Wally Wood T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Artist’s Edition Portfolio. If you’re a big Wood fan and don’t have those three items I suggest getting them immediately.

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I’m not a huge fan of Wood, but it’s impossible not to appreciate his craft after reading this book. I especially enjoyed the pages he inked: The Spirit, Challengers Of The Unknown, Sky Masters of the Space Force. Plus his amazing Tower and Marvel art; there’s an almost ligne claire aspect to it that’s not present in his other work.



Woodwork Wallace Wood 1927-1981 HC – $47.99

from Things From Another World