Monday, May 2, 2011

Wallace Wood VALOR art originals

Heritage Auctions sold the seven pages of original art for "The Return of King Arthur" by Wallace Wood, originally published in VALOR #1, last November for $26,290. I've also included the printed story, scanned from my 1955 copy of VALOR #1.

"The Return of King Arthur" story copyright © 1955, 2011 E.C. Publications

Original art scans © 2010 Heritage Auctions


  1. Thanks for dropping a line, Apocolyte! I enjoy comparing original art to the printed product, and when the artist is Wood so much the better.

  2. I'd say so! I love seeing the original art scans because you get more of a historical insight on how an artist works. On page one, for instance, the first panel was drawn not on the bristol board, but on a cut out piece of duo-shade board so that he could add the halftones. Duo Shade was a marvelous way to achieve halftones on a comic page, involving a special treated paper and two different chemical activators that could be applied via a brush. In the hands of someone like Wally Wood, Duo shade could be used to enhance an image. In panel one, Wood uses both chemicals on the pig on the lower left to give the beast two different graytones, but the pigs on the right are done with only one chemical. Even in b&w, it's clear that the pig on the right is meant to be a darker color than the pigs on the left, or is supposed to be more in shadow. The colors don't really convey that particularly, but that's what I believe Wood was trying to get across in the black & white. Also the tones add dimension and contrast to the forms in this panel. The tree receives a little extra halftone texture, and the tonal values of the trees in the background contrast with the black tree on the left, and the mostly white (negative space) tree on the right. In this way Wood uses black white and gray to develop depth of field in the panel, while creating atmosphere and form. Duo shade board and chemicals were expensive. Because of this, most comic artists who used it wouldn't want to use it for an entire page of art--just a panel or two on a page every now and then, rubber cemented down on the art board. You can clearly see the cut outlines of the duo shade board used on panel one of this page. Wood used duo shade throughout his career. Quite often on his EC stories he would use combinations of mixed media. He might have duo shade on a panel, then in the next panel he might use ben day sticker for halftone or nothing at all. In a third panel he might use conte pencil shading, or even an ink wash. In another panel he might use coquille board or even scratch board to get the desired effects he wanted. This means that many of this pages had paste-ups on them, depending on what sort of mixed media Wood chose to use. The combination of Wood's drawing, smooth inking and wonderful mix of halftones set him apart from many of the other EC artist.


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