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Against The Grain: Mad Artist Wallace Wood Paperback – December 15, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: TwoMorrows Publishing; First Edition edition (December 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1893905233
  • ISBN-13: 978-1893905238
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 8.2 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,856,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Legendary artist Wood mastered every comic-book genre--humor (he was one of Mad's first artists), horror, superheroes, war--but is best known for the 1950s science-fiction stories he drew for EC Comics, in which, one commentator noted, he "began drawing things into panels that no human being seemed capable of before." His heroic spacemen, intricate rocket ships, and frightening aliens embodied classic space opera, and his influence remains visible in the work of many leading comics artists today. Unfortunately, he suffered severe headaches and depression throughout his life and, faced with worsening health problems, killed himself in 1981. This tributary volume includes biographical essays, memoirs by his colleagues, and commentaries on his work. Its major attraction, however, lies in the wealth of artwork it collects, from juvenilia and early comics pages to many previously unpublished drawings and paintings. Only recently have comics begun to be critically respected (still grudgingly at times), and the medium's history and key figures have been sparsely covered so far. This book makes a valuable step toward rectifying that situation. Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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If you are a hardcore Wood fan, you should probably get both this book and "Wally's World."
David F. Nolan
It contains tons of great art ; some of it obscure and previously unseen, and the biographical information it presents is thorough, and illustrated with great photos.
Rick Altergott
There is no doubt this is a nice book, but the material is abundant elsewehere and a LOT less expensive.
Karris

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
Although it had been promised to be a "definitive biography" by the publisher, Against the Grain: Mad Artist Wallace Wood continues the piecemeal format of everything that has been available about Wood and his contemporaries (Severin, Elder, Ingels, Crandall, Williamson, Craig, Davis, et al) for the last 40 years. -Which is to say it's a rambling book of personal essays/reminiscences, panel discussion excerpts and brief, fan-flavored interviews. The books one undeniable saving grace is that it is very generously embellished with samples of the artist's work. But overall, it feels like a blow-out issue of Squa Tront.
This will scratch the itch of the diehard and casual fan who wanted a coffee table browser on the subject. For those, like me, who hoped, finally, to see the subject's life drawn in one cohesive portrait by an insightful Boswell, it's a letdown, or "more of same."
I hope the book does well. It is, perhaps, an urgently needed Wood intro for newer generations who lack a sense of history. It is a welcome public reminder/declaration of Wood's place in The Comic Pantheon, where he clearly stands shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Roy Crane, Milt Caniff, Walt Kelly, Al Capp, Chester Gould and, dare one utter it, the Great Charles Schulz. Honest, it's not a bad little read. But I wish it had offered something new on the subject, or at least somehow extended the genre of fan appreciation/criticism established by Squa Tront during the 60s and 70s. As it is, this book has an odd way of making me feel that an entire generation, my generation, never really grew up.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Stiles on April 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
I've been reading "Against The Grain" on and off since late
December and, if you're a fan of comics art, this is a must-get for your collection: the late Wallace Wood was one of the comics field's greats, both as an illustrator and a cartoonist.
Like Wood's work, this is a beautiful book, well worth having; editor Bhob Stewart (assisted by Bill Pearson and Roger Hill), has done a great job. There are 35 essays by people who knew the artist, covering every aspect of his varied career. The selection of art does that as well: I have a fairly comprehensive collection of Wood's work, but there's quite a lot here that I was aware of and hadn't been able to obtain, as well of material I never knew about but was glad to see (like his illustrations from "Planet Stories," and his roughs for "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"). There's his early work when he was just learning his chops, his roughs, his pencils, his cartoons, his comic book work, his illustrations --all done in variety of different techniques and mediums, all (save for the early material) displaying Wood's beautifully crisp line style.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rick Altergott on June 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
I came upon this book while browsing a comic shop in Cambridge, and soon realised it was the long promised comprehensive survey of Wood's art and career. I applaud Bhob Stewart for his perseverance and obvious passion in bringing this book to publication. Any fan of Wood's will want to read this book. It contains tons of great art ; some of it obscure and previously unseen, and the biographical information it presents is thorough, and illustrated with great photos. A blurb on the back of the book proclaims, "Hooray for Wally Wood" and sure enough the vivid and imaginitive genius of Wood is on full display between its covers. This is the triumph part of his story, and it makes it a must have art book. But this book bravely explores the person of Wood as well,including the negatives, and the price he paid for his obsessive genius. It's a tragedy that anyone who knows Wood's story is familiar with, and it speaks loudly to the American culture at large, and how we have in the past, sometimes treated our heroes like throwaway commodities. After seeing some of the gorgeous art in the book, it seems incongrous to imagine the same Wood staying up for 3 days on Dexdrine to ink a Wonder Woman comic, but it happened, and frequently. A giant like Wood routinely worked on mediocre jobs just to scrape by. This warts and all approach is as honest as it is heatbreaking, and in my opinion transforms the book into a work of art of another variety, in its portrayal of a gifted but tortured individual. Attention, Hollywood!

Assistants Paul Kirshner, Nick Cuti and others contribute amazing , written tributes to Wood that say just how much they loved the guy, all the while dealing with his difficult personality.
Read more ›
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Janos Rukh on June 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is the penultimate guide on an artist who changed the way comic art is rendered today. This gargantuan exercise on artist Wallace Wood is an absolute for those who grew up with Woods magnificent style as well as the modern aspiring artist. Everything we see in comic art today can be traced in some shape or form to this master of pencil and India ink. The hand which so elegantly wielded the brush has been expertly brought back to life by Bhob Stewart. The text is written with a panache and flair almost completely missing from modern journalism on a subject so sadly underreported these days. Thanks to this wonderfully illustrated labor of love, the art of Wally Wood shall continue to live on for generations to come. All of today's modern heroes would not, could not exist had Wood's artistic creations not covered the span of decades. He was a true 20th-century Renaissance Man. "Against The Grain" is a work to be savored, embraced, shared by all serious artists who desire to know where it all began, and the man who rendered a new direction for a new century, Wally Wood.
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