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Wally Wood’s EC Stories Artist’s Edition

I’ve been trying to get my hands on one of IDW’s coveted Artist’s Editions ever since the series started with The Rocketeer by Dave Stevens (one of my all-time favourite comic book artists) and I’m still looking for a copy. But given the highly limited print run of only 300 copies, it demands a hefty price tag if you’re even lucky enough to find one. IDW followed this release with Walter Simonson’s Thor and recently, my first introduction to the series, Wally Wood’s EC Stories, and WOW, what a book!

Wallace ‘Wally’ Wood was a hugely popular comic book artist during the 1950s and 60s producing some of EC’s classic science-fiction stories as well as work for Warren, Marvel, MAD and his own personal project Witzend magazine. Although widely regarded as one of the best artists in the business, Wood was vocal about his mixed feelings for the industry and a notoriously heavy drinker which sadly contributed to his poor vision, extreme hypertension, a number of strokes and kidney failure requiring dialysis. Allegedly telling friends that he didn’t want to spend the rest of his life attached to a machine, he took his own life on Halloween 1980.

But BOY could he ever draw! And this collection of work, expertly reproduced in actual size from scans of the original artwork is the perfect testament to that. To say this book is big would be an understatement. I had to clear the dinner table so that I could open it fully and have a proper look, with both elbows on the table and my neck stretching out to examine the top panels of the page. Similarities to that of an awe-struck child are not lost on me.

I myself work with a lot of brush, pen and ink and always savour the rare opportunities to view the original artwork of artists I admire and that’s why I find this book so special. Here’s a whole 152 pages of some of the finest ink work you’ll ever see, showing all the technique, mistakes, glue, zipatone and white-out that a process junkie could ever want. A real education that’s second only to having the genuine article next to your desk whenever you want it for reference. A particularly interesting section covers ‘The Spawn of Venus.’ A 3D comic that required Wood to ink up to 5 layers of acetate to produce a depth effect. Detail is given on how this was achieved and the story is shown in full with all layers collected. Finishing off the book is the welcome bonus chapter of cover artwork from titles such as Weird Science and Two-Fisted Tales, a short biography and end-papers that enlarge a single frame so you can have an even better look at the line-work.

Undoubtably my book of the year so far and one that i’ll return to again and again if only for a quick inspiration fix. I’ve not even talked about the stories yet, written by Al Feldstein, Ray Bradbury and Otto Binder. Maybe once i’ve stopped obsessing over the artwork.

Beautiful, important, pricey and worth every penny.

Wally Wood’s EC Stories Artists Edition
IDW
Hardback 152 pages
57 x 39 x 2.5 cm

AVAILABLE NOW >*

*The link above directs you to www.bookpalace.com One of the few retailers i’ve found that still appear to have it in stock. For more information on Wally Wood, EC Comics and its contributing artists, I recommend ‘Foul Play’ by Grant Geissman.

40 comments

  • While I’m not a comic book fan, I can definitely appreciate the art of it — this is clearly beautiful work!

    As a freelance writer by profession, I can relate to your intensity here. It’s obvious this is a meaningful, incredibly cool book. Nice review! 🙂

  • That is a seriously beautiful piece of art work. Always loved this sort of thing but was v worried even as a kid that there was something very wrong with these women. They never seemed to come from the same comic as the rest of the drawings. 😉

  • Thanks for posting this. You know, I’ve been aware of Wally Wood (and his sad end) for as long as I can remember, but it was from his 1960s Marvel work, which I never found that spectacular. However, recently I had a chance to see some of the EC stuff in your review and it blew my mind.

  • Reblogged this on serbancdesign and commented:
    I just picked up this title last week, and it is a beautiful, beautiful book. Christoper King’s review does it justice – as much as anyone can without actually being able to show you the book, and the detailed pictures are great. Enjoy!

  • Wow! Thanks for all the comments guys. I really seem to have struck a nerve with this post. It’s great to see so many fans of Wally Wood out there. It’s a pleasure to meet you all!

  • Hey Pezcita. My work is scattered all over the site. The best of it can be found in the right hand column, but basically anything that’s not a book review is my own illustration work. Hope you like it!

  • Wally Wood was a genius. This looks like a great book. I once owned the complete hardback box sets of the EC titles which featured tons of Wood’s work. Amazing stuff. And, like Frank Frazetta, entirely unique and distinctive. You always know Wood’s stuff the moment you see it.

  • I have a battered copy of The King of the World. It has been a favourite for years. Recently, I bought the sequel Odkin Son of Odkin and was struck by how different it’s tone was. The playfulness is gone. It is tense. I believe it was written shortly before he died.
    And so different to his earlier work. Have you read Sally Forth? Hilarious.

  • Back in the early 1990’s, there were re-releases of classic EC comics (many of them featuring Wally Wood’s work). These included “Tales from the Crypt”, “Weird Science-Fantasy”, and “Weird Science”. Having been born in 1966, I had never seen these comics before. But they’re the best I’ve ever read. The art is amazing; the stories are highly original, and often darkly hilarious. But in the late 1990’s I couldn’t find these re-releases anymore. And it’s a shame. The comics of the 1970’s were cool, but not nearly as much as these 1950’s classics. And the comics today–I don’t even bother looking at them.

  • Let me add that I don’t like the art style of today’s comics, either. Somehow, the pictures, the ink used, the type of paper used–they just don’t seem as real.

  • I think i share that viewpoint. It’s always the artwork the appeals to me first and a good story legitimises it as a whole package. I suspect that’s the same for most visual creative types.

  • I adore Wally Wood, who in particular was a shining star of that whole EC horrortales empire, in my opinion (unfortunately I have not familiarized myself with his talents beyond that). There is something about his shadowy, sharp-boned characters that emphasized, for me, the whole cryptic, pathological realm of those comics. I found out about them during the ’90s reprint stage when I was a grub-handed young person. Wood’s imagery was riveting and timeless, even to my inexperienced eyes.
    Good post on a good artist. Thanks.

  • Absolutely fantastic! I don’t know why I’ve never heard of the Artist’s Edition series but I’m glad that now I have. Thanks for the great post. Now I’m going to scroll back up to stare at and study Wood’s art again. Peace.

  • I love comic books, and having two young sons I have an excuse to keep them around the house too! I always think of them pictures arriving fully-formed on the page, it is nice to see the process involved 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  • Cannot begin to tell you how jealous I am of you, but that said – congrats on getting your hands on one fantastic treasure!

    Wood really was one of the best there ever was and his art still stands out today. Nice review and looking forward to the next weeks.
    Cheers!

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