Remembering Comic Book Creator Wally Wood on His Birthday, June 17
The truth is Wally Wood has been gone for so long that several readers of The Splintering may not have even been born when he passed away. All the more reason to remember Wally Wood on his birthday, June 17, and showcase some of the groundbreaking works he illustrated throughout his career!
Wallace Wood (better known as Wally) was born June 17, 1927 in the tiny city of Menahga, Minnesota, best known for…well, being the birthplace of Wally Wood. He started his professional comics career in in New York City working initially as a letterer, gradually moving up to background illustrations, and then inking. Most of his early works were for romance comic books in the very late 1940s.
In early 1950, Woody (as he would sometimes sign his work) began working for EC comics, and this is where his work would begin to be universally praised. After years of working on romance comics, Wally Wood started working on the types of books he was most interested in, namely science fiction and horror.
EC was launching title after title, and each would sell more than the last. Readers were devouring titles worked on by Wally Wood. Titles such as Weird Science, Weird Fantasy, Aces High, Two-Fisted Tales, and Tales from the Crypt. Wood illustrated dozens of these stories and became a household name among readers at the time.
Unfortunately, the comics code saw an end to that era of creativity, but Wood found a way to adapt to the modern climate of comics. He worked for all of the major publishers of the 1960s and 1970s, including Marvel, DC, and Warren. His work on Daredevil #5-11 from late 1964 to early 1965 is still considered one of the high watermarks of that series. For me, his work on the independently owned Witzend series, and his contributions to Blazing Combat magazine from Warren Publishing were among his very best works outside of EC.
Sadly, after years of poor health and struggles, Wally Wood decided to end his own life on November 2, 1981. He was 54 years old. He left behind a treasure trove of illustrations for generations of readers to admire and appreciate. Although his life ended tragically, it’s his days and works that we are here to remember today.
“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” – Andy Warhol
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