The Life and Legend of Wallace Wood Volume 1 (Bhob Stewart and J. Michael Catron) - Fantagraphics -2017 - 256 pages

Woody was the greatest comic book artist of them all.  I knew him in the pages of Mad magazine that I purchased at Al Andersen's Liquor Store on Studebaker Road in Norwalk, California from 1957 to 1964.  I did not know that he had done other stuff before Mad and I did not know what had happened to him after 1964 until I began researching the classic comic artists later in my life.  I just knew that the drawings of Wallace Wood (1927-1981) were the best I had ever seen and that Mad was never the same for me without them.  The idea for this book came from writer Bhob Stewart (1937-1981) who was an assistant to Woody and remained a great fan of comic art throughout his life.  The heart of "Life and Legend" (that was originally to be titled Against the Grain) is the biographic material written by Stewart on pages 19 through 59.  Stewart's research into the early life of Woody has preserved a piece of comic art history that could have been lost to the ages.  At the age of eight, young Woody was making comic books before they existed on newsstands.  The early art shown here provides evidence that Woody was meant to draw comics.  He was driven to do this and only this.  Woody's Mad years are chronicled by Grant Geissman ("When Better Drawrings Are Drawrn") and Steve Thompson ("Mad Man").  But the Mad Years (750 pages) are only a small sampling of the work of a prolific artist who drew for science fiction publications, trading cards, advertisers, armed services publications, himself (Witzend, etc.) and many, many comic book titles (EC, DC, Marvel et al.) - all discussed in this excellent biography.  The Fantagraphics Life and Legend of WW is the first book that tells the whole story in one volume.  [JAM 12/15/2016]

Introductions (Howard Chaykin and Maria Reidelbach)
Wood Paneling (John Workman)
Against the Grain (Bhob Stewart)
From Here to Nudity (Bhob Stewart)
Wood's First Comics Job (Bhob Stewart)
Avon Calling (Roger Hill)
A Thousand Rays in Your Belly (Bill Mason)
Into the Woods (Larry Stark)
The Best Damn Artist in the Business (Al Williamson)
Geronimo! (John Severin)
When Better Drawrings Are Drawrn (Grant Geissman)
Traveling Through the Galaxys (Roger Hill and Larry Niven)
Waking Up From the American Dream (Thommy Burns)
Mad Man (Steven Thompson)
Good Humor Man (Ronn Sutton)
Quote 'n' Unquote (Colonel Art Moger)
Chocolate-Covered Wood (Bhob Stewart)
Wood Bounces (J.D. King)
Still Crazy Cards After All These Years (Rick Keene)
Our Gypsy Camp (Diane Dillon)
West 74th Street (Russ Jones)
When in Doubt, Black It Out (Ralph Reese)
Old Ink, New Ink (Larry Hama)
The Man Without Peer (Mark Evanier)
A Leprechaun, A Giant (William Gaines)