Wally Wood was born June 17, 1927, in Menahga, Minnesota. From an early age, he had a passion for drawing and reading comics. Unbeknownst to the childhood version of himself, his passion would be put on hold the day he signed up to join the US Merchant Marines.
While a Marine, he found himself thinking about his true love and a few years after he joined, he asked to be discharged.
His began his career in a secondary role. That is, instead of a full-fledged artist, he began as a letterer and then inker for Fox Comics. His undeniable work ethic provided him his first chance as during his time at Fox. While there, he was given the chance to write stories for some of their western titles.
The 50’s and 60’s with Wally Wood
As the 19050’s grew, so too did his reputation as one of the industries newest talents.
During this time period, he could be found working in a number of different genres. These included but weren’t limited to, horror, war, suspense, and, believe it or not, pirate adventures. While he excelled in just about anything given to him, his true and natural talent were in the science fiction and fantasy genres. His work allowed the world to experience the hideousness of monsters and beings from other worlds like no one before him.
In the ’60s, Wood began working on titles for Marvel comics and Tower. This switch had begun to scratch the surface of what was to come. While Wally was extremely good at what he did, it did take some time for him to become accustomed to writing for superheroes. This was primarily due to the fact that in other genres, it was extremely important to capture the active movement of the characters on the page.
The New and Improved Daredevil
He finally found his calling the day he took the struggling Marvel character, Daredevil. Almost instantly, he was able to turn the title into a success. Unheard of at the time, he changed the characters look. Instead of Yellow, he gave him a Red Costume and his signature “DD” symbol on his chest.
And that wasn’t all.
He then gave him his most widely known weapon (that’s still being used today), the Billy Club/Cane.
With success behind him, Wally Wood then took time to mentor the younger generation of comic book creators. If you get a chance, check out Wally Woods, “22 Panels That Always Work“.
Gone Too Soon
Unfortunately, his own health and well-being caught up to him and Wally Wood passed away in November, of 1981. Even though he was with us only for a short period of time, his legendary status as one of the greats remains. To many fans, myself included, his work must be brought up in the same sentence as the greats like Jack Kirby and John Romita Senior.