We asked Dave Gibbons, Gabriel Hardman and others for their WALLY WOOD WEEK selections:
DAVE GIBBONS: “Superduperman”! The Superman I loved as a kid was very staid, very establishment, very vanilla but I didn’t realize this until (Harvey) Kurtzman and Wood opened my eyes. Here was a take on the character that was exuberant, irreverent, full of atmosphere and detail, where the women were really sexy and the heroes really muscular. It was absurd and silly, of course, but had a conviction and a flavor that changed my view of comics forever.
MARK SCHULTZ: My favorite Wood work? What day of the week is it? Right now I’m thinking about “Atom Bomb!” from Two-Fisted Tales #33. Over Kurtzman’s rhythmic breakdowns, Wood employs an astounding array of his graphic techniques — and collaborates with Marie Severin to use color for effect — conveying something of the shock inherent in the event depicted. Oh, nuts–I just remembered “The Precious Years” …
CLIFF CHIANG: The recent Cannon collection has been a lot of fun and the IDW collection of EC stories was a real eye-opener. Seeing his brush line at full size is insane! I’m glad his work and his impact on comics are starting to get some more attention.
GABRIEL HARDMAN: Probably like everybody else, my favorite Wally Wood work is the Outer Space Spirit stories. There’s something so lavish about the lighting in those stories. I remember seeing one of the splashes reproduced in a comics history book as a kid and was floored by it. Spurred me to track down those stories and whatever other work of his I could find. All that said, the biggest influence Wally Wood had on me was his “Panels that always work.” Xerox copies were passed from artist to artist in the pre-Internet days and while I’ve rarely referenced it directly for a composition, I think about it all the time.
(UPDATED: Previously above, there was an unauthorized version of the 22 panels culled from the Interwebs. This is the official version — straight from the Wally Wood estate!)
STEVE MANNION: Well, as a kid, I felt burned by comic books because you’d have this cool cover and then the art would be kinda stinky. I remember this guy “Kirby” in particular really bummed me out. Then I found MAD Magazine. The art was cool and I always giggled out loud at least once while reading it. You may remember the “Super Specials” with the old Mad COMIC glued inside with the warning not to rip it out. I ripped it out of course. But it had this guy “Wood” and I thought that work just sparkled … something special, you know? It was that “Stalag 13” story. All the Mad comic book Wood stuff is probably my favorite, “Bat Boy and Rubin” perhaps topping the heap.
(Dan here. If you haven’t seen the animated version, from “Batman: The Brave and the Bold,” here you go — and then go buy the episode “Batman Presents: Batman’s Strangest Cases” because it’s much better quality:)