Throughout his comic book career, Wallace Wood worked on some of the most influential titles in the industry. Whether it’s his work as a founding father of Mad; his definite run on Daredevil alongside Stan Lee for Marvel or his landmark work for EC, his bibliography has been a source of inspiration of many artists that came after him right up to the present. Naturally, this means that it’s important that his work be kept in print. His classic Daredevil run has always been available and Fantagraphics have done stellar work in keeping the rest of his extensive back catalogue on shelves (The EC Slipcase being particularly awesome).
But believe it or not, there is something in Wood’s body of work that has not seen any kind of reprint. In 1972, Wood came up with the idea and co-wrote (with Nick Cuti) a sexy western known as Shattuck. Whilst initially intended as a vehicle for studio-mate Syd Shores (Captain America), Wood ended up turning it over to two young artists as their first ever professional work which would start their path to becoming huge stars in the comic industry in their own right: legendary Uncanny X-Men artist Dave Cockrum and Howard Chaykin (American Flagg, Black Kiss, The Punisher).
For any Wood completists, this is must-read material. Those looking for a complete story might wish to look elsewhere due to the strip not having a proper conclusion, as Wood apparently decided to drop it. And whist there are some questionable plot points (Shattuck’s rather worrying outlook on women) and uses of dialogue that wouldn’t fly today, it is hard to dispute the technical talent on display and it is easy to see how Cockrum and Chaykin would become such huge names in the comic industry. As usual, Fantagraphics go to town with presentation with a great hardcover binding, preservation of the original art that’s right at home with their other entries in Wood’s back catalogue and a great afterword detailing the strip’s history.
For an example of one the American comic industry’s all-time greats and a look at the starting point for two iconic comic artists, you can’t get much better than this.
Wallace Wood Presents: Shattuck is published 16 June by Fantagraphics
Post by Leo
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