Wally Wood and Frank Frazetta

Wood 02 Camethedawn
Came the Dawn by Al Feldstein and Wally Wood from SHOCK SUSPENSTORIES #9 ~ June-July/1953.

AND

29 Camethedawn 09 02

Frank Frazetta’s never finished sketches for a remake of the story.

Damn.

Wait I can’t just go on. Look at that first panel, by Wood. Every panel in the entire story displays a similar mastery of composition and texture. Look at the incredible complexity of the different areas of light and dark. There is more going on in this one panel than in entire Renaissance paintings. As busy as the panel is — there’s even a portrait of an INDIAN CHIEF crammed in — there is no confusion or lack of clarity. The eye is drawn, of course, to the exquisite, inviting figure of the woman, rendered in silky crosshatching, but she stands out against the stark geometric background of the wall covered with frames, and the hard-edged shadows of the man. If I had one cavil, it would be that the cat (the CAT?) is floating in the air, not lying on the floor, but Wood also made the lower left part of the panel more hazy and indistinct to reflect the flickering firelight, so perhaps it is on purpose. Again, I am dumbfounded by the complete confidence of storytelling, design and rendering that this single panel shows — and every other panel is just as strong.

As for Frazetta…the fluidity and liveliness of this drawing astonish me. Again, notice the different line quality that gives texture and form to all the different shapes in the (very busy) panel. The figure of the man is alert, menacing (even if he wasn’t holding a rifle you’d be scared of him), tangible, the unexpected but realistic placement of his feet giving him a solid grounding in reality despite the obvious idealization of the drawing.

Those guys were good.

[Via Matthias Wivel]

Comments

  1. I love the way Frazetta uses those patented wispy lines to recede objects, including the man’s left foot and also the bookcases, it also makes the room seem filled with light (it almost seems as if there is still a fireplace in his story, only it’s “off camera” in this panel). And the solid blacks really make the forms pop and become solid- that man IS really sitting there in that space with his leg tucked behind the chair the way a person really would sit. I think he also increased the creep factor by having the animals also staring out.

    I’m sure Camille Paglia or some other art critic could have a field day with the way Frazeta placed the man’s hand on the gun which is located at a certain point, not to mention the animal horns in the background and other Fruedian themes in these images. Heck, Wood’s vanishing lines all seem to arrive at the “naughty” bits on either the man or the woman.

  2. R. Maheras says:

    Two of my all-time favorites…

    To all the young artists out there. Any time you find yourself getting a little cocky about your work, you ought to pull out a book or two by these guys. That should bring you back down Earth and remind you how much more there is to learn…

  3. David Clemons says:

    Regarding the Frazetta sketch, is anyone else seeing that the room is either real tiny or the guy must be 10 feet tall? Based on the size of the duck, that deer head would be mounted about waist high. It’s all wonderfully rendered of course, but the scale is off. Sometimes those little details matter.

  4. How much of that Frazetta sketch reminds me of a Lee Weeks drawing (especially the face)?! (Or vice versa.) Apparently Lee has learned a lot from Frazetta. Lee Weeks is such a talented artist, and so underused (for whatever reason.) So ends my Lee Weeks push. (Go Lee Weeks!)

  5. Lots of breasts and bottoms going on in the remake, I see. Which of course I am not at all surprised by.

    Actually, that might be a fun little meme: reinterpreting the scene in the Frazetta sketch, deciding what wacky stuff will go on the wall and shelves behind the main figure. I think I know what I’ll be getting up to after work today.

  6. Steve Taylor says:

    Oops. That Bob should have looked before he leaped. Another case of a bone headed American allowing themselves to be frightened by the media? Tsk, tsk.
    The Frazetta stuff is magical. His line and brush work is hard to believe. I love Wally Wood,…but, it’s hard to beat that Frank Frazetta.

  7. heidi, don’t forget these beautiful little frazetta tidbits a bit further down:

    http://goldenagecomicbookstories.blogspot.com/2009/02/frank-frazetta-romance-stories-1953.html

    and no “beautiful frazetta tidbits” is not a euphemism for anything…

  8. Spent part of the weekend reading the second volume of the Creepy Archives. Frazetta only (like that’s not enough!) did the covers, but there’s stuff by Ditko, Torres, Wood, Craig, Morrow, Toth, Williamson, Orlando, Severin… pretty much a textbook on black-and-white artwork.

    Did Wally Wood have any technical deficiencies? Figures are distinct, original, and sometimes idealized. His aliens are imaginative. His tech is intricate and detailed. And, as anyone who has seen his “Walt Disney Memorial” knows, he could do cartoons just as readily.

  9. I think the Frazetta figure is sitting in the foreground, with the deerhead, stove and such behind him at some distance across the room, so those items are smaller.
    Anyway, beautiful work by both artists. Thanks for posting these for our admiring eyes.

  10. R. Maheras says:

    Torsten wrote: “Did Wally Wood have any technical deficiencies?”

    My only criticism of Wood was that his figures sometimes looked “stiff” or “posed.” They sometimes lacked the fluididy of movement as, say, figures drawn by Jack Kirby.

    One of the reasons I always liked Wood’s inks of Kirby’s work, or Wood’s inks of Steve Ditko’s work, is because in both cases, the whole was always greater than the sum of the two parts.

  11. And to think that they were most likely getting paid $5 to $10 per page for this stuff at the time…

  12. Scott- The EC folks at the time were (I think?) the highest paid of any staff of comic artists. It was more than $5-10 a page, thankfully. Of course, Gaines also kept the originals for these stories then.

  13. R. Maheras, I like the THUNDER AGENTS work by Wood. It just impresses me that his figures jump, roll, and do their other physical movements without motion marks, or sound effects. Something interesting about seeing movement that way, as if Wood has seen it during a split second, stopped in mid-air.

  14. Yeah, those guys are good. Sigh.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] § The Wood/Frazetta head-to-head that we wrote about a while back gets further examination from Uncle Eddie’s Theory Corner and the UK Forbidden Planet International Blog Log. [...]

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