Wally Wood

Wallace Wood was born June 17, 1927 in Menahga, Minnesota. His only art training came from short periods of study at the Minneapolis School of Art and later, Burne Hogarth's Cartoonists and Illustrators School.

In 1949 he got his job in comics as a letterer, inker and background artist for Will Eisner's "Spirit", where he would later produce some classic and widely acclaimed science fiction episodes in 1953.

His first comic book works are for the Fox Company illustrating romance stories, and his first trace-able story appears in My Confessions #7 in August 1949.

Then in 1950 he began doing stories for a number of publishers. For one of them, Avon Publishing, he drew a large output. Crime, romance, science fiction and horror. He was able to work so fast in fact that he was Avon's most prolific contributor, illustrating many complete books for them. Some of those books with titles like "Flying Saucers", "An Earthman On Venus" and "Fu-Manchu" they were very popular and sold very well.

But Avon was not the only company to mine Wood's talents. He began drawing "Captain Science" comics in November 1950 for Youthful Magazines, and when that title ceased in 1951 Wally began another sci-fi hero, "Space Detective" for Avon.

In 1950 he did some work for Ziff-Davis doing science fiction, he also began doing some work for William Gaines' EC Publications, and it would be here that Wood's talents would truly be realized.

When Wood joined EC in 1950 he started slowly as he was doing alot of material for a number of publishers and would continue to throughout the period. But during this time his art was developing, so much so that within less than a year his work had progressed tremendously. He was to become possibly the premier science fiction comic artist of his time, producing a weighty volume.

While at EC he also did some of the best humor material ever in first Mad comics, and then Mad magazine. But comic book publishing was about to be decimated by Frederic Wertham's book "Seduction of the Innocent" which suggested that comic books were a major contributor to juvenile delinquency and as such needed to be abolished, and they almost were.

Wally had begun doing advertising work in the middle fifties and his close association with science fiction comics led to his doing much work for the sci-fi digests and paperbacks. He assisted on Dan Barry's "Flash Gordon" daily strip for a short while, George Wunder's "Terry & the Pirates" and reportedly a little bit for Hal Foster's "Prince Valiant" before joining Jack Kirby to do some work on the "Sky Masters" strip and the DC comics "Challengers of the Unknown".

In the early sixties, Wally did some work for Marvel Comics and then Tower publications where he created the "THUNDER Agents". He also embarked on several self published ventures in the fanzine world producing the magazine "Witzend" among others.

He several other characters in the following years including Sally Forth, Heroes Inc and Cannon, but Wally's talents from this period waned due to his frequent bouts with alcohol abuse, which led to four strokes and kidney failure, until finally his work was just a shadow of his former work. By 1979 Wally almost exclusively produced pornographic work, culminating in the three issue run of "Gang Bang" comics. The third issue being published after his death.

Wally Wood is most likely the best artist to ever illustrate science fiction comics, a group that includes such greats as Frank Frazetta and Al Williamson (Williamson has said Wally was the best comic book artist ever), but he was also one of the fiftie's top humorists. His use of ink to thrill fans of comic art will always be legendary.

Wally died on November 2, 1981 of a self inflicted gunshot wound.