Recent Reading

No links today. Instead, here are some scattered thoughts on comics I've been reading. I suppose it's a somewhat conservative list, but it's what is at hand at the moment, and what I felt like writing about. There are lots of things missing but, y'know, I only get this energy going every so often,  so here goes...

Charles Burns: Last Look


What a thing. I know this was completed two years ago, but reading the three books in a single volume is an entirely different (and recommended) experience. It does not let the protagonist, Doug, off the hook for his recklessness. His culpability in the emotional devastation he has caused is not excused. It is explored, relentlessly, in the only terms available to him — comics, a la Herge and Romita. And Burns’ empathy allows the sub-narrative, which tracks Nitnit (a Doug dream figure) in a beige-hued nightmare world, to flourish. Formally,  there is so much about comics in there, in the sense of image repetition and immersion/escapism.It’s one of the best graphic novels I’ve ever read. And the larger project around the book (Johnny 23, the Nit Nit portfolio, the current books from Cornelius, Vortex and Love Nest) make this a territory richer than any Burns has explored. It’s like he just keeps going, and makes us realize how an artist can blend aesthetic and procedural obsessions (here I think of Burns’ Marvel Try-Out Comic as key to Last Look) with an emotional core that clearly keeps this moving forward. The images in these other projects continue the world of Doug's obsessions, but blend them with the author's creating a kind of meta-fictional art that thrums with authenticity and urgency. 

Vanessa Davis: Summer / Autumn Hours (online only)

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-4-33-30-pmThese are among the most naturally funny and heartbreaking comics being published today. What strikes me the most is Vanessa’s natural line and sense of space and color. It’s a kind of calligraphic approach that seems informal, but could come with years of practice. She’s able to condense so much emotion and wisdom into a few pages. With the basic backdrop of the summer season as her narrative thread, Davis takes us through memories, physical transitions, and geographic relocations, all in an even tone, from  comedy (the peculiar problem of sweater weather and the definitions of fancy) to  real sadness (an elderly parent, a dead one; intense anger). In Davis’s work, an umbrella base becomes totemic in a tough, and not at all romantic way, and the habits of beavers provide some comfort in dealing with humanity’s foibles. I love these comics. Also remarkable is that the Paris Review is regularly running comics on its web site. And phenomenal comics, too.

Steven Weissman: Looking for America's Dog


Looking for the perfect cure to post-election blues? This is it. Weissman delivers his best book yet, in this odd, entrancing collection of linked short comics on the theme of Bo, the presidential dog. I'm still trying to figure out how to explain this thing. It's like a series of campfire stories, almost, sweet at first, but often acidic -- there is darkness here, as symbols of hope get lost, mutate and become sometimes sinister. Great, textured cartooning with the best use of zipatone this side of Wally Wood.


Ted Stearn: Fuzz and Pluck: The Moolah Tree

moolah_treeI have loved Ted Stearn’s work since his Rubber Blanket days, and this is a wonderful book. I would even go so far as to say it’s practically the best book you could give to someone you love, simply because it’s so full of kindness, beauty, and incredibly funny, brilliant cartooning. It’s a yarn, a la Carl Barks and Charles Portis, in which Stearn’s longtime protagonists, Fuzz (a bear) and Pluck (a chicken) embark on an epic quest a “moolah tree” that,  of course dispenses cash. The foolishness of such a task, and the many people they encounter along the way (including two of my favorites kinds of characters: hippies and pirates) each present their own difficulties and pleasures. I liked spending time with everyone and everything in this book, and that is partly due to the incredible artwork. It seems like Stearn has set the whole thing in a 17th century Flemish landscape, its terrain meticulously detailed, and every structure perfectly rendered. But it never feels like “background” material — it’s fully integrated as cartoon drawing, so you can fully immerse yourself in his world.

Lynda Barry: Greatest of Marlys

stl012230-thumb-250x294-497282The single best case for Lynda Barry’s important and greatness as a cartoonist. It gathers such versatile material all performed in a similar format, and with such verve. You don't need me to tell you to get this book. Just get it. Your life will be better.

Chester Gould: Dick Tracy: Colorful Cases of the 1930s

dicktracyIs this how it’s done? Damn near perfect. Great scholarship, perfect selections. I just want more writing about the visuals. I can never have too much. It’s actually thrilling to watch Gould’s cartoon language develop in a single book — you watch him grow into a masterful stylist and you see the Tracy world coalesce. This one is absolutely essential. 

Lauren Weinstein: Normel Person Comics (online and in The Village Voice -- click through online)

screen_shot_2016-11-08_at_5-39-16_pmI, like Lauren and her husband, my pal and co-editor, Tim Hodler, am a "normal" person in the sense that we just can't fucking believe what is happening around us but we are self-aware enough to understand the absurdity of that luxury. I think.  Normal here opens up to move away from the old "white straight guy" meaning and into a whole mindset of viewing the world and asking simple, structural questions and funny, moving observations. Halloween costumes, babies, food. The basics of our particular little kind of life. All done in Lauren's detailed line work and lush watercolors. A master at work.

Jonathan Chandler: You Are Crumbling All My Jonathans

A great pamphlet from Jonathan Chandler, who depicts a monologue directed at the reader. It's genuinely frightening, in a Kubrickian way. We are confronted with an aggressive, angry man who taunts us and another being, and preys on our inaction. Really good work, as usual. 

Jonathan Barli: The Gaze of Drifting Skies: A Treasury of Bird's Eye Cartoon Viewsdriftingskies

This book contains early-to-mid 20th century illustrations that seem to fall under the header of “single image narrative”. Barli seeks to establish these cartoons as a genre, but offers no proof other than, um, saying they’re a genre and citing Bruegel. Does Eric Fischl count? What about Chris Ware? I dunno. Some are, indeed, a bird’s eye view (i.e. seen from above). Others are from the ground, others are underneath the ground. Others are on a staircase. Barli pulls together some very rare images by rarely reproduced artists and then, um, doesn’t offer any biographical or bibliographical information. Like, none. He managed to over-design the shit out of the book, complete with a pointless die-cut and odd references to Jules Verne, but no actual information on the art he’s collecting. I get that it’s a nice gift book and quite a difficult thing to even find all the material, but smart merchandizing and rudimentary scholarship needn't be mutually exclusive.

Stef Sadler: The Kimberly Toilet Files

I couldn't find an image of this cover online, or anyplace to buy it, but hopefully one of those Sadlers will tell me. This is a change of pace for Stef, chronicling the daily life of Kimberly Toilet, who works at a "Sports, Spa, Soap" store. Kimberly is monitored, tormented, bothered, and altogether frustrated by post-Internet society. Told in a crisp, digital style -- very funny and sweet and altogether a descended of some 2000 AD backup feature that was too good to be published. 

Jessica Campbell: Hot or Not: 20th Century Male Artists.

61zkd2rypcl-_sx311_bo1204203200_l love this little book that does exactly as the title suggests: breaks down male artists into the ol' "hot or not" categories usually reserved for women, even, or even especially in the art world. Campbell nails the silly "objective" tone of it all, digs deep in her choices, and is very, very funny. Also, her unfussy, to-the-point cartooning removes any sense of artifice. The book moves along easily and you barely stop to realize how funny, weird, and uncomfortably natural it all feels.

Wally Wood Department:

Bhob Stewart and J. Michael Catron, editors: The Life and Legend of Wally Wood

lifeandlegend-wallacewoodWhat is this book? Nothing in or on it gives any clue. It is the latest in what is arguably a glut of Wally Wood publishing activity. This one is based on Bhob Stewart’s wonderfully eccentric volume from a decade back. That one, a shabbily printed paperback apparently divested of swear words and nudity by its publisher, was a shambling compendium of essays, interviews, memories, and biographical anecdotes. It was no more and no less than an old school fan’s memory book. It worked, and was a great resource for further writing on Wood. This one, somehow based on Stewart’s (though there’s no indication of that previous book outside of a one-line mention in the colophon) and with an additional editor, J. Michael Catron, but with no indication of Catron's relative contributions. The cover boasts of introductions by Howard Chaykin and Maria Reidelbeck, which is practically a distress signal. This is clearly for comics nerds of a certain age. And that's a shame, because Wally Wood, inarguably one of the greatest, strangest and most interesting comic book artists of the 20th century, has influenced a tremendous amount of visual culture, from superhero and SF comics to Robert Crumb to Kerry James Marshall to Elizabeth Murray to Gladys Nilsson to Mike Kelley to Dan Clowes to George Lucas to Sue Williams. Let’s pretend you’re a historian and you’ve noticed how a few cartoonists keep popping up whenever contemporary painters discuss their influences — Crumb, Wood, Wolverton, Kirby. Let’s take the next step and see if you can find anything of worth written about them. Wolverton you have, thankfully, Greg Sadowski’s Creeping Death. With Crumb you have a ton of interviews. The other two, you’re shit outta luck.

Anyhow, back to this thing. It seems to be chronological, but there’s no narrative through-line and no hierarchy of content. For example, four pages are given over to unpublished very rough sketches for an-unpublished edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and the accompanying text by Stewart includes a complete account of that books’ hollywood fates. Diane Dillon’s moving account of her friendship with Wood is only 3 paragraphs and yet given an entire spread. We get four pages from Rick Keene ostensibly about trading cards Wood did for Topps, but it’s mostly about Keene’s own childhood. Six pages are devoted to TwoMorrows’ removal of some nudity in the first edition. There are interviews with John Severin and Al Williamson that provide little insight. You see where I’m going here. This thing is just a mess. There’s no sense that one piece of text (and corresponding work) is more important than another. There are multiple overlapping essays on Mad and EC, with little attempt to differentiate them. The best essays are those that attempt to understand Wood as a working artist and a human being, like Russ Jones’ moving memoir, West 74th St., and Ralph Reese’s account of his life as an assistant to Wood, “When in Doubt, Black it Out”

Then there is the bizarre art direction: Some images are printed as line art, some as objects, with no apparent guiding principle. Catron takes pains to tell us that Wood developed the visual look of Daredevil's sensory powers, but offers no visual examples. Numerous spreads are taken up with black and white reproductions of comic book pages printed too small (four to a page) to actually get anything from. Most of the color EC work is shown in contemporary digitally colored form, which is especially odd since that mode is particularly unkind to Wood’s linework. If you picked up this book hoping to see good examples of Wood’s art, you’d be sadly mistaken.

What you never get is any kind of evaluation of Wood’s talents. What made him unique? What was he best at doing? What this book needed was someone to look at it and say, “what are we trying to do here, and what’s the best way to accomplish this”? If the goal was to show Wood’s progress, it fails. And there’s no hint of what Volume 2 contains.

shattuck-cover_finalWorse yet is the collection of Wood’s western strip, Shattuck, which was completed for a military newspaper in 1971. It’s unclear, and editor David Spurlock never says, what exactly Wood contributed to this strip aside from an idea. The aforementioned Howard Chaykin, as well as Dave Cockrum, did a lot of the art. Chaykin tells the story of this strip better in his own introduction to The Life and Legend than David Spurlock does in his.  This is miserable, poorly drawn, and charmless work (even by my very forgiving standards), replete with pointless violence, rape fantasies and the like. Wood did a lot of dreck, but it was almost always beautifully finished. For unexplained reasons the art is reproduced from the original boards, like an “artist’s edition” which makes it look even worse. So why even publish this thing? There’s nothing to be learned about his work here — no entertainment value. There’s so much great work of his to be published nicely — the only thing Shattuck shows is how low Wood (and, I would guess his estate manager) could go. A sad affair all around.
Better, however, is Roger Hill’s Galaxy Art and Beyond. Hill contributed two excellent essays to the Life and Legend book, and here we get all of Wood’s astonishingly beautiful SF illustrations produced between 1956 and 1962. Hill wrote a detailed introduction that goes into the publishing history of Galaxy and other SF magazines, Wood’s relationship to them, and even Wood’s drawing techniques, this last bit being particularly invaluable. Like many other authors coming out of Boomer fandom, Hill doesn’t do much aesthetic evaluation, preferring a “just the facts” approach, but the facts here are deeply researched and well organized. The book itself is a tad crowded — with sometimes a half dozen drawings on a spread, but I’ll take what I can get. When the layout opens up and we get a full page or full spread illustration, it sings. This work was Wood right between his ultra-detailed EC period and his streamlined 1960s work. He’s at his peak in terms of design, brushwork, and spatial rendering. When we think of what SF looked like in the middle of the 20th century, this is it. Grab this one for a real masterclass in what Wood could do.


4 Responses to Recent Reading

  1. Jones, one of the Jones boys says:

    “The other two, you’re shit outta luck.”

    Have you forgotten Charles Hatfield’s book?

  2. Ken Parille says:

    Last Look: “It’s one of the best graphic novels I’ve ever read.” I agree fully. It hasn’t received nearly the amount of press it deserves — I have written about it a few times:

    Volume 2:

    Volume 1:

    Volume 1 review notes:

    Short mention of volume 3:

  3. Ant says:

    Definitely agree with Last Look (and Fuzz And Pluck!!!), the best thing Burns has ever done by a country mile. Simply brilliant.

    Shattuck was a new style of cowboy story for the modern age; it was developed for an adult audience, and distributed via an alternative network. Outside of the United States’ Armed Forces during the Vietnam War, practically no one has ever seen this comic strip, created by the EC-comics-great, Daredevil-rebooter, T.H.U.N.D.E.R.-Agents-inventor, Will Eisner-Hall-of-Famer, and Mad magazine cartoonist Wallace Wood. We present to you this long-lost, bawdy Western, reloaded and reshot almost entirely from recently found, ultra-rare, forty-five-year-old original art, created during Wood’s “Long Island adventure.”

    In 1971, Wallace Wood created Shattuck and Overseas Weekly accepted it. He supervised the strip’s production: instructed his staff, plotted/wrote/cowrote, produced rough layouts, inked some strips, and occasionally touched up the art. Co-writer Nicola “Nick” Cuti (who came to fame later as co-creator of E-Man) and emerging artists Dave Cockrum (who came to fame later as co-creator of some of the New X-Men) and Howard Chaykin (who later came to fame as creator of American Flagg!) assisted Wood. The story behind Shattuck is more about the creators than about the character and stories they created. It’s about Wood’s compassion and respect for Golden Age artist Sydney “Syd” Shores toward the end of Shores’s life, and for the journeyman Jack Abel. It is also about Wood recognizing and fostering young, unproven talent (Cuti, Chaykin, Cockrum). Chaykin: “Shattuck was about me getting to know, and learning from, Woody.”

    The Overseas Weekly printed items about courts martial, racial strife, call girls, sex changes, and other scandals the
    military covered up, along with cheesecake photos and a comics section packed full of Wood’s humor, sex, and violence. Editorially, it favored enlisted men over officers, and conflict with the US military establishment frequently occurred.

    Wood created three newspaper strips: Sally Forth, Cannon, and Shattuck, which were to be published by Joseph B. Kroesen, owner of the Overseas Weekly; his right-hand man Bud Koch; and their California company, Richter
    Enterprises Inc. Sally’s origins go back to 1968, and Cannon’s to at least 1969. Wood, a pioneer for creator rights, secured an agreement where he would keep the strip’s copyright, while Richter Inc. claimed the rights to the publication as originally presented—known as the “collective rights.” Scandals, courts martial, racial discrimination, and other items generally covered up—or not covered at all—by the military’s official daily paper Stars and Stripes were The Overseas Weekly’s staple, along with pin-up photos, a comics section that included classic strips like Beetle Bailey, and an editorial bias that favored enlisted men over their officers. Conflict with the US military establishment was a frequent occurrence.

    While the paper enjoyed a reputation among the enlisted men as “the GI’s friend,” to the military brass—and to Wood—it was commonly referred to as the “Oversexed Weekly.” The Overseas Weekly launched as an English-language newspaper published in 1950 in Frankfurt, Germany. Founded by a civilian American couple, Cecil and Marion von Rospach, it ran for a quarter century, ceasing publication in 1976. The primary audience was American military enlisted personnel; it initially focused on those stationed in Europe, but expanded into the Pacific during the height of the Vietnam War. At its peak, its circulation was around fifty-five thousand copies a week. The von Rospachs divorced in the mid–1950s; Marion kept the paper. When she died from a fall at her home in New York City
    in October 1969, her estate sold The Overseas Weekly to Joe Kroesen. Rospach’s executive editor, Curtis Daniell, continued on and Bud Koch played a prominent role. But, as reported in the September 5, 1970 Ottawa Journal, Kroesen soon insisted that Daniell resign, as “Kroesen had objected to Daniell’s policy of exposing cases of racial discrimination at army posts,” and “making fun of the generals.” It was a move calculated to pacify the U.S. military establishment in order to garner more Pacific and stateside PX ((Post Exchange) newsstand exposure.
    As Wood’s Heroes, Inc. comic book featuring Cannon (Fantagraphics collected his adventures in 2014,
    in Cannon) was published in 1969, Wood obviously came on just before, or just after, Kroesen’s takeover. Like
    Jim Warren and Jim Steranko did with their respective magazines, Kroesen and Koch made much of their income
    from sales of products to readers via in-house ads. In this case, many of the ads were for jewelry, which enlisted men would buy to send stateside to keep the fires burning with their girls back home—or to endear themselves to the
    local women. Though Wood is generally considered the publisher-packager of Heroes, Inc., Armed Forces Distribution was supposed to distribute it, which was another Kroesen business—along with the similar Armed Forces Diamond Sales, which advertised in Heroes, Inc. Oddly the comic seems to have never been circulated, not even through The Overseas Weekly’s network of military PX newsstands. Over some many years, the warehouse was looted. About half of the copies donated to the Museum of Cartoon Art (founded by Beetle Bailey creator Mort Walker) were likewise stolen. In spite of the two thefts, this lack of distribution is why this comic is more readily available to collectors now than if it had been put out on the newsstands like any comic book in 1969.
    Wallace Wood had lived in New York City for more than twenty years. But when he married Marilyn Silver Glass in 1969, he moved from Manhattan to the Long Island suburb Woodmere, to live with his second wife and her
    children. After working at home for while, he set up a new studio, but he didn’t have access to the assistants he had worked with in the City, such as Ralph Reese and Larry Hama. Though best known as an artist, Wood wrote throughout his career, for Avon, Marvel (he plotted nearly all of his Daredevil and Dr. Doom stories, and fully scripted others), Warren, and even a few stories for EC. Al Feldstein produced the final script for Wood’s famous EC story, “My World,” but it was based on Wood’s plot notes. His primary assistant was Nick Cuti, who helped with research, writing, and tracing projected reference images on Bristol board for Wood to translate into finished art. Just out of the Army, Cuti had called Wood and explained that he was looking to break into comics.
    They became friends and Wood hired him as an assistant. Wood’s new home in Woodmere was only about ten minutes away from where Cuti lived in Valley Stream, New York. At Wood’s request, Cuti scouted out possible locations for a new studio, at which point Wood took the space on Rockaway Avenue, in Valley
    Stream. “The Wood Studio” included Syd Shores and Jack Abel, who had their own clients.

    “In addition to being a great artist, Wood was also a good writer.
    His stories were always entertaining and fun to read and provided the
    perfect showcase for his artwork. We worked back and forth with the
    writing. Sometimes Woody created the plot and I would expand it into
    a roughly dialogued script, or vice versa. Either way, Wood had the
    final say on the dialogue as lettered into the final art.”

    As a youth in the early 1940s, Wood had enjoyed Shores’s work. Shores, a graduate of Brooklyn’s famous Pratt Institute, had started his long career as an assistant at Harry Chesler’s studio, where he met artist Mac Raboy. Alan
    Hewetson, in Now and Then Times Vol. 1 #2 (October 1973), quotes Shores: “I studied Mac Raboy for hours on end—he was meticulous about everything, doing maybe only a single panel of artwork a day, but it was truly beautiful work.”

    “Gil [Kane] always talked about the two artists that came out
    of the late ’40s and early ’50s who defined the two directions of
    comics for his generation—Alex Toth and Wallace Wood. What I’ve
    tried to do in my life is incorporate elements of both of those two
    men, because I believe Gil was right. I went to work for
    Woody . . . it was an education.”
    in an interview with Jon B. Cooke for Comic Book Artist Vol. 2, #5.

    After four months Shores produced a seven-page piece called “The Terror,”
    which saw print in Mystic Comics #5 (March 1941) from Timely Comics, the
    1940s precursor of Marvel Comics; his work made other appearances in his
    pages. Timely editor Joe Simon hired Shores as the fledgling company’s third art
    staff employee. Shores won acclaim working with Jack Kirby and Joe Simon on
    Captain America, and continued to work on the title after its creators had moved
    on to new endeavors. After WWII, in 1946, Shores headed up the Timely/
    Marvel art department, where he mentored new talents, including Gene Colan
    (The Tomb of Dracula); but most of the in-house comics staff was let go in 1949,
    to work on a freelance basis. 1957 was the beginning of a period of decline for
    the comic book business so, until Marvel’s mid-’60s comeback, Shores switched
    to painting illustrations for men’s adventure magazines, including Marvel
    publisher Martin Goodman’s.
    Perhaps surprisingly—especially as Marvel Spotlight #1 (November 1971)
    featuring (a name Wood created in his childhood) may be their only known
    collaboration—in a rare Wood interview, he cites Shores as his favorite penciler
    to ink. But any freelance artist’s assignments can be erratic and, as Golden and
    Silver Age artist Joe Giella said in Alter Ego Vol. 3 #52 (September 2005), “Syd
    later became a taxi cab driver; that was so sad. I happened to see him while I
    was on jury duty back in the early ’70s, and he told me he was driving a cab
    because he couldn’t find work.” Cuti told this author Wood initially conceived
    the Shattuck strip as a vehicle for his friend and early 1970s studiomate
    Shores. Nicola Cuti: “Woody so liked Syd Shores—a real gentleman and very
    easygoing—that he created Shattuck for Syd, because he knew Syd liked working
    on Westerns. Shores was one of the four of us who worked on a steady basis at
    Wood Studio in Valley Stream, Long Island. Shattuck was supposed to give Syd
    steady work and a good income.” But just as Overseas Weekly green-lit the strip,
    Shores started getting work from his old clients—so much so that he didn’t have
    time to draw Shattuck.
    With Shores off the project, Wood used the strip to launch new talent
    with the help of seasoned pros. This wasn’t the first time he had used this tactic;
    in his self-published Witzend magazine, he ran the work of colleagues like Al Williamson, Frank Frazetta, and Steve Ditko side-by-side with up-and-coming “underground” cartoonists like Vaughn Bodē, Roger Brand, and Art Spiegelman. Howard Chaykin replaced Shores; it was the first feature for which he received art credit. Chaykin had got his start as a go-fer for Gil Kane (best known for his Green Lantern costume redesign) in 1970; he began publishing some drawings in fanzines, sometimes under the nom de plume Eric Pave. Chaykin worked for Wood for only a “couple of months,”primarily as a penciler on Shattuck.
    In an interview with Jon B. Cooke for Comic Book Artist Vol. 2, #5, Howard Chaykin said that, “I did a lot of drugs
    and ended up working for Woody . . . He’d rented a big, old studio space over an Italian deli. Great scene. Woody went through assistants like other people go through tissue. Nick Cuti basically assembled pencils from swipe
    files. A little bit of Alex Raymond, a little bit of Ruben Moreira—all this stuff. [Cuti] would trace all these pieces off, hand them to Woody, who would then ink, in the Wood style, so that everything came together. It was a fascinating thing to observe . . . [After a few months, Wood] fired me . . . and Dave Cockrum picked up [penciling the Shattuck
    strip]. I wasn’t very good; I was sloppy. Woody needed someone neat. I got a lot neater [later on], but in those days, I was all thumbs. I was just really clumsy.” Wood met Abel in 1948, while they were attending the Cartoonists and Illustrators School. In that Comic Book Artist interview, Chaykin recalled, “Jack was just a total pisser.
    Jack was sly, funny, and easy to underestimate. He never became one of the great talents in the comic book business, but who gives a $#!t? He was a great guy—a real hero of mine. He was one of the best people I ever met. [Jack] and
    I developed an affinity for each other, because Syd was totally oblivious—just kind of goofy; while Woody would come in and sit down on the floor in a lotus position, vodka in one hand and black tea in the other, and pontificate on
    everything he hated, at endless length.” Just like Chaykin, Shattuck was the first feature Dave Cockrum received
    art credit for. In an interview with Jon B. Cooke for the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Companion, Cockrum said: “I worked for Wood briefly. I got a job with him as a penciler. I penciled Shattuck with Jack Abel inking and Wally writing it. Wally would lay it out the way he wanted the panels to be and also letter in the copy; pretty much leaving all the rest to me. The object of the assignment was to get the girls out of their clothes as quickly as possible . . .”

    “One of the fun things about working with Wally at his studio was to watch him pencil the Cannon strips. When he drew Cannon, he penciled in the characters as T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents! In costume and everything! Cannon was
    penciled in as Dynamo, and Weed was in there . . . and when Wally went to ink them, he just inked business suits on the characters.”

    In addition to Chaykin, Cockrum, and Cuti, other Wood assistants filled in on Shattuck. In an interview with Steven Thompson for the 2009 Hurray for Wally Wood blog, Alan Kupperberg said, “I went out there to hang out
    with Howard one day and I ended up drawing a stagecoach bouncing along the road. So, [technically] I did work on Shattuck!” John Stevens wrote, for Cartoonist.blogspot, “You haven’t lived as an apprentice until you hear ‘tsss!’
    over your shoulder as you are inking in the art of the master. I looked over my shoulder, and there was Woody, grimacing at the work I had just completed. Just like that, with a flourishing whip of the master’s hand, with some White-Out, the page was good as new. Woody just smiled at me and said, “continue.’ Woody was very forgiving, and also giving. He would let me do more and more, on a page of his creation. I always was watchful, and knew that I could not be Woody, so I went as far as I could with the inking. He taught me a lot.”

    “I penciled Shattuck with Jack Abel inking and Wally
    writing . . . lay[ing] it out and letter[ing].” —DAVE COCKRUM,
    in an interview with Jon B. Cooke for the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Companion

    Eventually, Cockrum got full-time work on the Legion of Super-Heroes for
    DC Comics, and Shores and Chaykin had plenty to keep them busy. With his
    relationship with his second wife breaking down, Wood was thinking of moving
    back to New York City. Cuti said, “Woody finally just decided to drop the strip.”
    So, Shattuck and Wood’s Long Island adventure drew to a close.

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