Wally Wood

Wallace Allan Wood was an American comic book writer, artist and independent publisher, best known for his work in EC Comics and Mad. Although much of his early professional artwork is signed Wallace Wood, he became known as Wally Wood, a name he claimed to dislike. Within the comics community, he was also known as Woody, a name he sometimes used as a signature.

He was the first inductee into the comic book industry's Jack Kirby Hall of Fame, in 1989, and was inducted into the subsequent Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame three years later.

In addition to Wood's hundreds of comic book pages, he illustrated for books and magazines while also working in a variety of other areas — advertising; packaging and product illustrations; gag cartoons; record album covers; posters; syndicated comic strips; and trading cards, including work on Topps' landmark Mars Attacks set.

EC publisher William Gaines once stated, "Wally may have been our most troubled artist... I'm not suggesting any connection, but he may have been our most brilliant".

Sky Masters comic strip by Jack Kirby (pencils) and Wood (inks)
Working from a Manhattan studio at West 64th Street and Columbus Avenue, Wood began to attract attention in 1950 with his highly detailed and imaginative science-fiction artwork for EC and Avon Comics, some in collaboration with Joe Orlando. During this period, he drew in a wide variety of subjects and genres, including adventure, romance (which he really didn't care for) war and horror; message stories (for EC's Shock SuspenStories); and eventually satirical humor for writer/editor Harvey Kurtzman in Mad including a satire of the lawsuit Superman's publisher DC filed against Captain Marvel's publisher Fawcett called "Superduperman!" battling Captain Marbles.

Wood was instrumental in convincing EC publisher William Gaines to start a line of science fiction comics, Weird Science and Weird Fantasy (later combined under the single title Weird Science Fantasy). Wood penciled and inked several dozen EC science fiction stories, many considered classics. Wood also had frequent entries in Two-Fisted Tales and Tales from the Crypt, as well as the later EC titles Valor, Piracy and Aces High.

Working over scripts and pencil breakdowns by Jules Feiffer, the 25-year-old Wood drew two months of Will Eisner's classic, Sunday-supplement newspaper comic book The Spirit, on the 1952 story arc "The Spirit in Outer Space". Eisner, Wood recalled, paid him "about $30 a week for lettering and backgrounds on The Spirit. Sometimes he paid $40 when I did the drawings, too". [source: en.wikipedia.org]

Photo and signature of Wally Wood courtesy of tvparty.com.

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