Recently there has been a new revival and appreciation for the work of Alex Toth, whom many consider to be the artit's artist. Toth simplified the way of drawing comic books, by using as few lines as possible, and creating a body of work that due to its simplicity, is admired by artists all over the world. The case for Wally Wood can be the exact opposite of Toth's; his art is usually cluttered with detail (see his sci-fi work for EC), and he was an artist who was forgotten by most comic book publishers later in his career. But Wood remains one of the best, if not the BEST, comic book artist of all time. Wood by now has been relegated to the world of "old timers" nobody cares about. And it's a pity, as his work is worth to be revived and appraised, but not forgotten.
Wood rose to fame with the work he did for the (in)famous EC comics in the '50's. Mainly for his sci-fi work, with his spaceship interiors with all those buttons and dials and spring tubing that had no particular use other than looking pretty damn cool. To this day you can see all this cluttered machinery in every sc-fi film you see. He also drew the most sexy girls ever, and even invented the "bottomless" t-shirt before any girl ever wore one. He was a fanatic of using a double-light source to enhance his art, and is considered the master of that. His characters practically leap off the pages. Wood also had a very peculiar way of drawing that was all his own. Pretty much like Jack Kirby, he created his own aritstic "language" by drawing figures that, though not proportionally acurate (his women all had short torsos, long legs and a huge bust), looked perfectly right. Add to this his most improbable double source lighting, and his characters looked more real than life. Having achieved success as an artist of realistic comics, and the envy of most other artists in the industry, you'd think he could have rested on his laurels. Well, Wood had another card up his sleeve; he was an extraordinary humorous artist as well. His work for MAD remains unparalleled to this day. And though he is most fondly remembered for "Superduperman" and "Flesh Garden", he was also excellent when he worked for the b&w version of MAD and did all those parodies of the then current comic strips. He mastered the craftint shading and produced some unbelievable artwork for MAD (unfortunately non of it is available in this book, aside of the work he did for the 50's MAD).
During the sixties he created his own superhero series with the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, simplifying his art and leaving it less cluttered than the work he had done for EC, but no less effective. He also worked for Marvel drawing, among others, some of the early issues of Daredevil. In the 70's he would do some totally astonishing work for the Warren magazines (some of it reproduced for this book and shot from the original art), but somewhere in the late '70's, early 80's his career took a left turn and he seemed to have been forgotten by everyone else in the business. He ended doing porno comics, but Wood being Wood, always gave a certain class to all his work, that few have been able to attain.
This book then, is a catalog or artbook, showcasing Wood's work covering his body of work from the beginning till the end of his career. As with the previous book showcasing Big John Buscema's work, most of the art is shot from the original artboards (oddly enough, most of it coming from the private collections of european fans), and it also includes some unpublished artwork the general public has never seen. The presentation is just superb, and though many complained of the previous book on Buscema for having the text set too small, you must remember that the priority here is given to the art. The text is both in english and spanish, as it comes from the exhibit held two years ago in Casal Solleric, in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. This book is based on the catalog produced for such exhibit (by the way, the cover Amazon shows here is the one of that catalog, the book IDW sells features a slightly altered version). It's sad that such exhibits are held halfway across the world and that no one does the equivalent in the US. By the way, the exhibit for this year (between the months of January and April 2013) is dedicated to Russ Heath, another artistic monument of the american comic book scene, so let's hope IDW will also publish a book from that show in the near future.
All in all, a simply fantastic artbook on one of the most significant artists the comic book medium has ever produced, and one that no serious comic book fan should miss.
- Hardcover: 328 pages
- Publisher: IDW PUBLISHING; Bilingual edition (1 April 2017)
- Language: English, Spanish
- ISBN-10: 9781613772928
- ISBN-13: 978-1613772928
- ASIN: 1613772920
- Product Dimensions: 24.4 x 3 x 32.3 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 2.3 Kg
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