Wally Wood

sally forth

Wallace Wood (1927 – 1981) was an American comic book writer, artist and independent publisher, best known for his work in EC Comics and Mad. He was one of Mad’s founding cartoonists in 1952. Although much of his early professional artwork is signed Wallace Wood, he became known as Wally Wood, a name he claimed to dislike.

EC publisher William Gaines once stated, ‘Wally may have been our most troubled artist… I’m not suggesting any connection, but he may have been our most brilliant.’

As a young man, after being rejected by every company he visited, Wood met fellow artist John Severin in the waiting room of a small publisher. After the two shared their experiences attempting to find work, Severin invited Wood to visit his studio, the Charles William Harvey Studio, where he learned that Will Eisner was looking for a Spirit background artist. He immediately visited Eisner and was hired on the spot.

In circles concerned with copyright and intellectual property issues, Wood is known as the artist of the unsigned satirical Disneyland Memorial Orgy poster, which first appeared in Paul Krassner’s magazine The Realist. The poster depicts a number of copyrighted Disney characters in various unsavory activities with huge dollar signs radiating from Cinderella’s Castle.

Wood struggled to to be as efficient as possible in his often low-paying work-for-hire. Over time he created a series of layout techniques sketched on pieces of paper which he taped up near his drawing table. These 22 ‘visual notes,’ collected on three pages, reminded Wood of various layouts and compositional techniques to keep his pages dynamic and interesting.Wood also taped up another note to himself: ‘Never draw anything you can copy, never copy anything you can trace, never trace anything you can cut out and paste up.’

Years later, Wood’s ex-assistant Larry Hama, by then an editor at Marvel Comics, collected Wood’s drawings and had them pasted-up on a single page, which Hama titled ‘Wally Wood’s 22 Panels That Always Work!!’

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