In 2000 I attended the World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago. While it was a great Convention for many reasons, one of the big reasons was in addition to the regular art show they had an additional display of original art from the pulps and Science Fiction magazines. Many of these were the work of Wally Wood. This was an eye opener to this fan of Wally's comic work. It was beautiful and I thought to myself " Wow it would be great to have a collection with all this great art".
In late 2011 I first heard of this being solicited and pre-ordered it from Amazon. The book has suffered many delays and even a switch in publishers but it is finally here. Could it possibility be worth the wait? Yes, Yes, YES!
The Hard Cover is in the oversized format with quality paper and a sewn binding and crystal clear reproduction with almost half of the art shot from the original art. To say it looks great is a vast understatement.
Roger Hill not only assembled this collection but an acknowledgement but also a very informative heavily illustrated 17 page introduction. Roger Hill traces exactly what lead Wally Wood to take these assignments. He also gives us an origin for Galaxy Magazine and it's sister publications Galaxy Science Fiction Novels and If Magazine. Plus in a addition this includes a few earlier pieces Wood did for Fiction House Pulps plus work done for Gnome Press.
The art itself is reproduced in a variety of sizes. Sometimes with 2 to 4 illustrations per page. But sometimes a piece of art is treated to single page or a 2 page double spread. Since all of this art is over 60 years old and shot from the originals readers should be aware the paper in many cases has yellowed and that is noticeable in the reproduction and can't be helped.
Wally Wood displays a vast assortment of different techniques for these illustrations. Some are full color paintings, some are black and white paintings. Some are adorned with beautiful wash inking tones, while others display cross hatching or zip-a-tone use. Part of the reason Wally may have chosen to do these lower paying assignments might have been the freedom these assignments offered to his creative side to use what ever experimental technique or mainstream style he thought best serviced the story.
The book does give you complete credits for each illustration and you know exactly what story or novel each came from. Here are a few of the authors who's work Wally Wood illustrated: C L Moore, Frederick Pohl, Hal Clement, Theodre Sturgeon, Robert Sheckley, Fritz Lieber, Clifford D Simak, Robert Silverberg, Poul Anderson, Issac Asimov, Damon Knight , Robert E Howard, Jack Vance, Gordon R Dickson , Jack Williamson, Murray Lienster, Keith Laumer, Arthur C Clarke and Frank Herbert.
If the book has a fault, it is that the illustrations are too good, and I desperately wanted to read many of the stories that Wally Wood illustrated. The book concludes with a chronological checklist of all Wally's Pulp and Magazine work.
This book easily gets my Highest Recommendation.
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