Friday, October 07, 2016

Number 1955: Wallace Wood, “The Man from the Grave!”

In Russ Cochran’s 1985 reprints of Haunt of Fear, artist Roy Krenkel gives a nightmarish vision of artist Wallace Wood: “You’d come to Wally’s door and you realize Wally had been up all night. You ring the bell repeatedly. The door finally slowly opens and Wally stands there with an absolutely glazed look in his eyes. He’d be walking like a mummy, and he’d slowly amble in and guzzle some fruit juice and go back to the drawing board. With all his brilliant imagination, everything is done totally automatic, a real frozen zombie way of life. Why it didn’t kill him I’ll never know. The guy was totally obsessed with work, really hung up on hard work . . .”

Bill Mason follows that comment with a paragraph about today’s story: “‘The Man from the Grave’ matches an excellent Gardner Fox script with the best job Wallace Wood ever did on a horror story. Roy Krenkel’s 1972 reminiscence of the young, workaholic Wood corroborates what is already clear from the artwork: that “The Man from the Grave” is not just another assignment to Wood, but a fable of his own life as an artist.”

This is a black line version of the story I found a few years ago on the internet, from The Haunt of Fear #4 (1950):


Morbid said...

This story is a small masterpiece of inventive illustration from Wood. He really runs with it and makes some bold choices. The story is disturbing in a special way, too -- chained to work for the rest of his life until he dies, then for all eternity. Or at least until he rots away so much he can't hold a brush. Then what? This story really stayed with me after I had read it.

Pappy said...

Morbid, I wonder if at the end, when Wallace Wood made the decision to kill himself with a bullet, did he feel the same way as the artist in "The Man From the Grave"?

I get melancholy when I envision him at that crucial moment, no matter what he was thinking.

Morbid said...

Yes, that makes this a particularly haunting work. Wood couldn't draw properly after his medical problems, deteriorating kind of in a way like this artist in the story. There is no way out for the cursed character in the story, but Wood decided on his way out. Did he remember this story which, based on his inventive and new level of work for him and breakthrough at the time (1950), he must have viewed with great fondness?

When I think of Wood I always think that he would have been a lot better off if he had avoided the amphetamines and who knows what else that burned him out and no doubt contributed to his stroke. Chain-smoking was part of that of course. He would have been a lot healthier and no doubt happier. Sure, work hard at what you love, but step back regularly to take care of yourself so you can work hard at it longer. There's a lesson here.

Alicia American said...

??? I'm reallery weirded out by ur intro Pappy. Do u no how many kids would LUV 2 get 2 draw comix all day long? That was what he wanted 2 do. When he lost site in 1 eye & couldn't draw 24/7 he had nothing 2 live 4. This was his dream, Pappy. U havn't known 2 many cartunists have u? Ur lucky in that case LOL xoxoxoxo we luv u Pappity #CIAO

Alicia American said...

??? Pappy, Wally Wood kilt himself after he failed 2 pitch his characters 2 TV. He did it becuz he WULDN'T be bizzy 24/7. Not becuz he was "chained" 2 the life of cre8ing GR8 art. Becuz he CULDN'T live his dream.

What do u think his dream was? 2 be a cab driver? Poor Wally, stuck drawing timeless masterpieces that we're still talking about 2day. No, the wurst thing that can happen 2 an artist is 2 have 2 watch TV or go out 2 a movie becuz theirs no work 2 do.

Pappy said...

Alicia, I won't go into how many cartoonists I know, but the ones who have stuck to the job longest are the ones who want to sit at a drawing board and draw all day. Sometimes the body gives up before the mind or the desire.

When I saw Wood at the 1980 San Diego Comic-Con he was a sick man. One of my friends got up in the middle of a presentation of Wood's EC covers and left, telling me later, "I could not stand to see him in that condition." It was less than a year later that he killed himself. I was as sad as anyone. I had a correspondence with him in the '70s and was able to express my appreciation to him for what his work had meant to me.

Jack Linguini said...

At Alicia American,

If you are unable or unwilling to write normal english text you are not qualified to comment on this article.
If this were twitter or a text to a 10 year old girl that type of writing is OK.
Wally Wood was one of the great ones.