Sunday, November 12, 2006

It'll Eat You Up and Spit You Out

The comic industry has a reputation of doing just that, with its relentless deadlines and endless soap opera-style stories. I'm reminded of this just finishing up Wally's World, the well written biography of wally wood. I commented on it earlier, in a comparison with Jack Cole, and waited til I had finished it before making further comment.

That Woody was a tremendous talent is understood, but I had to admit that over the years I had forgotten much of the work that he had done, and was certainly reminded of the absolutely stunning breadth of work that Woody put out there. I regret that I never had the opportunity to meet him, even though i started going to conventions in the mid-70's.

As someone who once went on to work two 22 hour days consecutively, followed by a 16 hour day when I first got into the comic biz, I found myself flashing back on the descriptions of how hard Wally would work on his art. Even more significantly, I treasured his maverick approach to creating work: publishing witzend, taking on the creation of the Thunder Agents, writing and drawing the Wizard King. Wally was far ahead of his time, no question, and like many pioneers never had the monetary compensation for their trail blazing originality that would have helped them tremendously.

Starger and Spurlock spend enough time to get you the background on Wally's life, enough that they don't have to push the psychology 101 class to the forefront of their writing and spell it all out. Who was this Wood fellow anyhow? Like the rest of us, he was complex, and you can only get a percentage of who he was by looking at his past. All of us, especially the artists, offer a different window to who we are depending on who is looking in. I don't expect to really know the man, just to get a little of who he was, thats all. The authors do a good job of that, no, an excellent job of that, and I'm glad that they did.

Wood deserved better than he got. But what he gave to us was amazing.

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