from my sketchbook: wallace wood

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art for art's sake
Wallace Wood began his influential career in art as an apprentice under several of his own influences, Will Eisner and George Wunder, who had taken over the popular comic Terry and the Pirates from creator Milton Caniff. Wallace, a graduate of New York’s School of Visual Arts. soon moved on to famed horror comic publisher EC, where he contributed to Tales from the Crypt.  He then became one of the main writers and illustrators for EC’s fledgling humor magazine MAD.  Wallace’s style was perfect for the comic parodies like “Superduperman” and “Batboy and Rubin”.

The prolific Wallace was in high demand, illustrating everything from children’s educational books to early issues of Daredevil  for Marvel Comics. He provided drawing for the underground magazine The Realist,  anonymously drawing the controversial Disneyland Orgy poster in 1967. He denied any connection to the piece for years, but the dead-on character copies were undeniably Wallace’s handiwork. In 1968, Wallace created the sexy adventure character Sally Forth exclusively for publication in Military News,  a tabloid produced for male military readership, and later in Overseas Weekly, another military periodical.

Very much in demand, Wallace worked for the top comic publishers, including Marvel, DC, Warren, Gold Key, Avon and even the Wham-o Toy Company. He eventually tried his hand at publishing himself, creating Witzend  magazine, featuring artwork by underground artists like Vaughn Bode and Jeff Jones, as well as his own creations. He also published several issues of explicitly pornographic comic parodies of Snow White, Prince Valiant and Tarzan, each using the identical styles of the originals.

Plagued by chronic headaches and bouts with alcoholism over his entire adult life, Wallace suffered kidney failure and a stroke that left him blind in one eye. With his health declining, as well as the demand for his artistic services, Wallace committed suicide by gunshot in 1981 at the age of 54.




  1. Wally Wood’s work will always be a part of my childhood. Not with the ‘popular’ things he did with DC or Marvel but with his work on two of my favorite comics.
    One is the THUNDER Agents. (This is a must have in the hardcover DC versions.) DC is still trying to find the magic in them with the release of new THUNDER Agents. Do not think they will fly without Wally’s love.
    The other think I remember Wood for is WHAM-O 99 cent Giant Comics. I STILL have the one I bought in the late 60s. In it Wood gave us Radian. If you can find a copy of this story and artwork is is amazing. I am surprised no other comic company has bought the rights to this and made a series out of it.
    Thanks for the memories.

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