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STRANGE WORLDS OF SCIENCE FICTION HC (Vanguard Wally Wood Classics) Hardcover – January 10, 2012
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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The artwork is terrific early Wood. Sometimes it is Wood inking Wood, but a lot are either Wood inking someone else (looks like Joe Orlando at least a couple times, but in one case Jack Kirby) or someone else inking Wood (Joe Orlando for at least a couple, but also the great Al Williamson - and Frank Frazetta! And other, er, less accomplished artists.)
Personally, I wish it was always Wood inking Wood - I don't think Wood's art was really compatible with Kirby, and as for Williamson, Frazetta, or Ditko (none of that here) inking Wood, it's like getting a one for two deal. But that kind of thing was typical for the comics back in the day, sadly. BTW, if anyone knows who the inker was on "OPERATION UNKNOWN" (no pun intended,) a publication of the fascinating Lev Gleason, I would love to know.
An odd element I can't find any reason for is a triple-stripe fore-edge decoration that wraps around a lower bit of each page. I don't find it distracting, just - odd. It doesn't interfere with the artwork in any way.
A great element is the inclusion of a page of a B&W Wood EC sci-fi comic as story breaks throughout the volume. I have (reprints) of those comics, but it's interesting to compare the art. Of course the EC stuff is almost always Wood inking Wood (Gaines must've had some pay differential) so of course they tend to compare favorably to the non-EC stuff. There're also 11 pages of Wood sci-fri covers, er, towards the end of the volume.
Whatever! It's all great examples of a great artist.
This book is well put together and does a great job at reproducing Wally's stories and artwork. I bought the sofbound edition and wasnt dissappointed, if you are a true fan I would recommend seeking out the hardback as I understand it has extra material.
Woody live around the corner from me in the 80's, and I've always loved his artwork. This volume fills a major hole in my knowledge and collection of the work of this pioneer of the comics world.
review part 2:
I've finally gotten through this book and will add to my comment above; in between each story of the book the publishers insert one page of Wood's EC work which was done within a couple of years of the full stories. The intro explains that they want to give the reader a full appreciation of Wood's art (since the stories are all EC, this publisher, Vanguard, obviously doesn't have a license to publish the full EC stories).
But, by printing random EC pages, this book only serves to highlight how the stories they did publish here are throwaways. My guess is that Wood put his pride and talents into the EC work, which is clearly vastly superior. Many - actually most - of the stories printed here by Vanguard have half hearted art barely recognizable as Wood and they aren't even signed by Wood!
The fact that Wood didn't sign these is significant, because we Wood fans all know how Wood took pride in boldly placing his name on opening panels. So, this book is for the Wood completest but in many ways is a let down because it shows that Wood was willing to churn out stuff for a buck without artistic pride.