Wednesday, August 21, 2013

WALLY WOOD'S "MAD" MONSTERS


TO SAY THAT WALLACE WOOD belongs on the "A" list of that group of cartoonists known as comic book artists is one of the history of illustration's greatest understatements. Sure, he smoked like a fiend and drank like a fish, suffered from chronic headaches (migraines?), depression and had opinions as long as day; but boy, could he draw! Not only that, he was mentor to many an aspiring young artist that had the fortune of spending time in the rarefied air at his drawing board. Indeed, Woody was a great teacher, as well.

Towards the end of his life, a lot of his work was self-published. I was a "Friend of Odkin", one of the lucky ones to join his fan club when the chance was there to take. I did so because one of the perks of sending in your cash was that Woody was extremely generous with sending packages crammed full of his stuff, usually signed. I still treasure his simple, marking pen illo of a nude Sally Forth, executed with a spartan simplicity of line that suggested far more than the ink that was put to paper, and which is signed, "To John, Wally Wood".

Wood was one of the original artists that joined up with the crazy creators of MAD magazine when it was still being published as a standard-sized comic book. He stuck with them on and off for years. Along the way he parodied just about everybody and everything, including movie monsters.

Wood freelanced for just about anybody who'd take his work -- and what editor in his right mind wouldn't? He had work in every early Warren title, including FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND, CREEPY, EERIE, VAMPIRELLA, and BLAZING COMBAT. He adapted the story and was art director for the first FAMOUS FILMS edition, HORROR OF PARTY BEACH. He told the story of THE MUMMY in six pages in the first MONSTER WORLD. That he was prolific is another understatement.

The Larry Siegel-penned Mad Horror Primer (MAD #48, Sep 1959) shown below is perfect for Woody to display his effusive creativity and super-sharp and clean draftsmanship. Following is his adaptation of THE MUMMY for MONSTER WORLD #1 and a one-page ad for his HORROR OF PARTY BEACH fumetti-style magazine.








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