The Angoulême Festival has announced “Worlds of Wallace Wood” – an exhibition celebrating the life and work of the influential American artist whose work included Daredevil, Dynamo, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, MAD magazine and more.
A pioneer of the American genre of comics, Wallace Wood (1927-1981), also known as Wally Wood, was both a virtuoso and a visionary author. He deeply marked SF, fantasy, humour and erotic comics throughout a rich and unclassifiable career to which the Festival will devote a rare retrospective.
Wallace “Wally” Wood is no stranger to the Angoulême Festival. In 1978, at the age of 50, he received there the prestigious prize for the best foreign author, for the whole of a well-stocked career. The jury chose to distinguish this recognised author, whose influence on comics of humour, fantasy and SF is inescapable. Characters, scenarios, sophisticated drawing, everything about him was perfectly accomplished.
Particularly caring for reflections, double exposures, shadows and textures, his talent enhanced inking at a level of mastery rarely equaled.
Born in Menahga, Minnesota in 1927, Wallace Wood joined the United States Merchant Navy during the Second World War, at the age of 17, in 1944. His first work in the comic book world was assisting Will Eisner on The Spirit, taking care in particular of lettering. He then worked for EC and became a regular contributor to MAD magazine.
A true pioneer, he published one of the first magazines of underground comics, Witzend (1966) and one of the first graphic novels of heroic fantasy, The Wizard King, which was also one of his last personal projects. He was also one of the pioneers of erotic comics.
Wood switched easily from drama to science fiction, from humor to superheroes with incredible dexterity. At the same time, he explored other media, from illustrations for novels to work for Topps for their collectible cards. His preliminary drawings for the cards Mars Attacks (1962) found a second life in 1996, inspiring Tim Burton.
Sadly, suffering from kidney complications and undergoing incessant dialysis sessions, Wallace Wood committed suicide in 1981, but his remarkable legacy lives on.
Author Paul Gravett says the exhibition is based in part on the major Wally Wood retrospective held some years ago at Còmic Nostrum Festival Internacional de Mallorca, whose sumptuous catalogue was issued in English by IDW Publishing.
He will hopefully be joining a panel discussion at the Festival about the life, work and legacy of Wood.
• The 47th Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d’Angoulême takes place 30th January until 2nd February 2020 | Web: www.bdangouleme.com
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