Monday, April 06, 2009

My Favourite Cartoonists Part 4: Wally Wood

My appreciation for Wally Wood is complex and contradictory, much like the man himself. He was one of the greatest inkers ever, with a virtuoso ability to render images in black and white. Yet his inking almost completely obliterated the penciller's work. He could draw beautiful and fluid cartoon figures, full of energy, life and charm, yet his more illustrative work often looks stiff and stilted. His work is marked by an attention to detail and obsessive craftsmanship, yet his thoughts on his art are often filled with cynicism and a "just get it done" mentality. He was nothing if not complex.

Wood was, in many ways, a tragic figure. His tale is a cautionary one, and several books and articles have been written about this aspect of his legacy. But for all the darkness that surrounded his personal life, I'll always remember and treasure the great cartooning he left behind: Superduperman and the Mad magazine parodies, the endless stream of inventive sci-fi imagery that poured out of him, the big-foot cartooning that looked so solid and believable with his application of light and shadow and, of course, the gorgeous women that only he could draw. And I'll always remember the sheer joy of looking at the art of a virtuoso cartoonist working with total confidence and a with a staggering command of his tools.

For samples of Wood's art, you can check out this very nice blog dedicated to his work. Thanks to Rich Dannys for the link.