Wallace Wood, or “Woody” as he signed his work later in his career, was an icon in the comic book industry for three decades. I became familiar with his work through old issues of Mad magazines from the late fifties and early sixties. I always thought it was kind of funny his name was “Wood”, because, although he had an undoubted flair for drawing hot babes with huge boobs and drooling bug eyed monsters with slithery tentacles, as well as weird, alien landscapes, overall his figures all looked very stiff. I read in the wikipedia article about him that he also worked on Marvel’s Daredevil series, so I would find it interesting to see some of those since comic books depict a lot of action and movement so I’d like to see how successful he was in portraying that. I think it’s funny also in the wikipedia article that they mention that one of the first friends he made in the art business was John Severin whose work was also terminally stiff.
Despite Wood’s woodiness he obviously had a flair for the work and worked hard at it. He certainly churned out towering mounds of polished work during his career which spanned over 30 years. Sadly he shared the same unpleasant fate that befalls many creative people and he finally died by his own hand doing a Hemingway on himself in 1981.
From the wikipedia article:
Wood was married three times. His first marriage was to artist Tatjana Wood, who later did extensive work as a comic-book colorist. Their marriage ended in the late 1960s. His second marriage, to Marilyn Silver, also ended in divorce.
For much of his adult life, Wood suffered from chronic, unexplainable headaches. In the 1970s, following bouts with alcoholism, Wood suffered from kidney failure. A stroke in 1978 caused a loss of vision in one eye. Faced with declining health and career prospects, he committed suicide by gunshot in Los Angeles, California three years later. Toward the end of his life, an embittered Wood would say, according to one biography, “If I had it all to do over again, I’d cut off my hands.”
In 1972, EC editor Harvey Kurtzman, who worked closely with Wood during the 1950s, said:
Wally had a tension in him, an intensity that he locked away in an internal steam boiler. I think it ate away his insides, and the work really used him up. I think he delivered some of the finest work that was ever drawn, and I think it’s to his credit that he put so much intensity into his work at great sacrifice to himself