Woody sure had his ups and downs in life (and death), but man he was a plugger. Always trying his best to make something happen, hopefully something good, but how do you know it's good until it actually happens?
Well, who can argue that the EC days, and particularly Mad, were his best days? He was always great artistically, but working with Kurtzman and later Feldstein gave substance and direction for his work.
His later work had a tinge of sadness to it that really became melancholy when he dabbled in pornography. He repeated himself, thematically, but also graphically, borrowing his own iconic earlier work. An article I have quotes Nicola Cuti recalling that Wood "with tongue firmly in cheek had a saying: 'Never draw what you can copy, never copy what you can trace, never trace what you can cut up and paste down.' With a style unique to himself, Wood used all the tricks of the trade."
Tongue in cheek, he says, but my resources say otherwise. Toward the end he had his own personal tricks, but he also had assistants that did likewise. All geared toward the ever looming deadlines, just to make a living. Wood had been burned enough times. He had to look out for himself.
Here's a case where he repeated an earlier concept, maybe as an homage to himself, or even a self parody. The panel above from the early 1950s, obviously, and the panel below from 1969.
The above panel is from Dragonella, the back story in Heroes Inc., a 1969 comic book that was intended for and distributed to a military audience. I don't know if this was pre Sally Forth, but obviously Cannon is the lead feature.
I got this copy from my Sarge that he brought back from a PX in Vietnam. He had a handful of comics in his footlocker (along with God knows what else), and he traded this comic for a pack of smokes. He used up those smokes in a day, I've had this comic for 37 years. C'est le guerre.
By 1975, the reprint was in black and white, it had a single credit line for Wood, and was retouched throughout to show a little nudity. Wood was doing what Wood felt needed to be done.
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