Friday, May 18, 2018
MAD's Original Idiots - Wally Wood!
Wally Wood has to be my favorite of the original MAD artists. More than any other artist, Wood was able to find that delightful middle ground between his MAD spoof style and his regular style used on the many adventures he drew over the decades. The sweet spot he discovered allowed his art to be instantly recognizable regardless of the genre he worked in.
Wally Wood was also the most tragic of the classic talents who launched MAD. He was a man tormented by health issues, both physical and spiritual and that eventually resulted in his taking his own life when he was still a relatively young man. But it was not before he inspired a cavalcade of young talents, providing them inspiration and opportunity in the various fan and alternative pro comics and strips he pursued during his career.
Most folks are pretty certain it was the phenomenal success of Kurtzman and Wood's "Superduperman" that cemented MAD as a must-have for fanboys across the generation. It's an amazing send up of a classic property and has never really been topped as many times as the Son of Krypton has been spoofed. Later he did the same for Batman.
It's hard to pick a favorite of his MAD parodies, they are all so very good and so very consistent but perhaps I'd have to give the nod to Prince Violent and Flesh Garden because they are the King Features triumvirate.
It's too bad he didn't get around to doing a Phantom spoof too.
Wally Wood was a master, largely self-taught, he was sadly the tortured artist we think about in the cliches about great artists. But for all his pain or perhaps because of it, he was great.