Out of the mannerisms of Will Eisner and Milton Caniff, Wood forged one of the most influential drawing styles in the comics medium. His signature work was for Harvey Kurtzman’s MAD, to which he came from the horror and crime titles of EC Comics. This volume presenting all his horror and crime stories chronologically shows him refining what is at first a crude though powerful sense of mise-en-scène into one that is assured, highly detailed, and lightly caricatural. Always film-noirishly dramatic, replete with chiaroscuro and odd angles of regard, Wood’s work became distinctively his as, first, he rendered clothing and backdrops with Caniff’s photorealism, then opted for the juxtaposition of ideal and grotesque faces and figures that Eisner consistently and Caniff in Terry and the Pirates, in particular, exploited. The former change is more obvious than the latter in this book’s contents. A word of caution: the scripts, most by Al Feldstein, editor of the comics they were made for, are prolix, cliché-ridden, dated, and more irksome than amusing. --Ray Olson
About the Author
Thanks to his (literally) stellar work on the EC Comics line, Wallace Allan Wood
(1927–1981) is widely considered America’s greatest science fiction cartoonist, but he was also one of the brightest lights of the early MAD
comic (“Superduperman!”) and, later, a pioneering alternative/underground cartoonist/publisher with his magazine witzend
is the co-founder of The Comics Journal
and Fantagraphics Books. He lives in Seattle.