Bring Out the Gimp

Musings on pop culture by freelance journalist Shawn Conner

Wally Wood’s EC Stories: Artist’s Edition quest – update

Wally Wood cartoonist self-portrait.

Wally Wood at the drawing desk (self-portrait).

So yesterday afternoon I posted the cover image of a new book just published by IDW, Wally Wood’s EC Stories: Artist’s Edition.

I think I might have mentioned that I was having difficulty finding the book here in Vancouver. RX Comics said their copies were “already spoken for”, and Lucky’s and The Comic Shop didn’t have it.

I even called Oscar’s, thinking I’d be sneaky by calling an art books store rather than a regular comic book store. On Amazon and eBay, it was already – one day after the Feb 22 release date – marked up to $250, twice the retail price; the publisher’s own site says that it’s already sold-out (pre-orders, I guess).

You know how these things go – the more dead-ends I hit, the more I wanted the book. Which maybe I should explain a little more…

Wally Wood is one of the all-time greats of, shall we say, the comics arts; he has a beautiful line and is one of the best inkers to ever dip a quill in the industry. There is a density to his panels that makes almost every one of them worth lingering over – usually there are two or three things going on at once. He is most admired, probably, for his work at EC Comics, the ’50s genre (crime, horror, war, Mad) publisher that was driven out of business by the Comics Code Authority.

But he also worked on comics for Marvel, as well as his own creations, the tough-guy strip Cannon and the innocently erotic nudie comic Sally Forth (in depicting naked breasts, as Wood was wont to do, in black-and-white, the artist’s solution to drawing nipples was a few lines in a circular shape. These are what I would refer to as “Wood nipples”, which don’t exist anywhere other than in Woodland).

Wally Wood’s EC Stories is the fourth in IDW’s Artist’s Edition series, which includes Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer, Walter Simson’s The Mighty Thor and John Romita’s The Amazing Spider-Man.

Instead of the finished pages, the publisher reproduces the original (black-and-white) art in its original size (the Wood book is a whopping 15″ x 22″ tome) and scanned in colour (to capture every gradation, and even the white-out). I’ve seen a few samples from the various books, but only on the Internet, so I can’t say firsthand how great this must look on the page itself, but I’m guessing it’s going to  look like this:

Art from John Romita's The Amazing Spider-Man: Artist's Edition (2011, IDW).

Art from John Romita’s The Amazing Spider-Man: Artist’s Edition (2011, IDW).

Only Woodier.

I guess I’ll find out – I tracked down a copy today through Comics America, a Winnipeg-based store (formerly Styx Comic Service – the first job I ever had!). Comics America’s website said they had one in stock, so I promptly ordered it. I’ll share more of my thoughts on the book when it arrives. Hopefully by then I’ll have come up with a way to pay for it, too.

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