Monday, May 7, 2007

Wallace Wood: I Wonder Who's Squeezing Her Now?

Brilliant Comic published in 1986 by Renegade Press. From Murder #3 (Robin Snyder's Revolver #12), October Issue. "I Wonder Who's Squeezing Her Now?" by Wally Wood with Nick Cuti & Ernie Colon.

A very dark adult story of suburban frustration and infidelity. Wood originally created this strip with the intention of publishing it in his Witzend magazine. Nick Cuti and Ernie Colon were his assistants at the time in his Long Island studio. I believe the title character Bill, is a tongue-in-cheek reference to comics writer Bill DuBay.
Wood is generally regarded as being one of the greatest American comic book artists of all time. He is well-remembered for his detailed science-fiction stories for EC and later for Mad magazine. He was also the editor at Tower Comics where he created the THUNDERAGENT line of comics. Throughout the 60's and 70's he drew hundreds of stories for Marvel and DC and Gold Key.
While mainly working in the mainstream, Wood was an inspiration to a generation of Underground cartoonists. I Wonder Who's Squeezing Her is a great example of Wood at his peek artistic ability, creating work for an "Adults Only" audience. His other R-rated strips, such as Cannon, are more campy and less serious in tone. There seems to be some underlying honesty and harshness to this strip. It is both disturbing and effective...I'm not sure I've seen anything else quite like it.
In the late 70's Wood began drawing X-rated comics and also self-published a Graphic Novel entitled King of the World. King of the World was to be part of a trilogy; a sort of lifelong project based on characters he had created during his youth.
Definitely one of the most prolific cartoonists of all time, Wood suffered from depression and mood swings. When his health began to decline, he was no longer able to maintain the tight drawing style he was known for. Eventually, he committed suicide. For more information on Wood's life, I recommend the book Against the Grain: Mad Artist Wallace Wood, edited by Bhob Stewart. This was published in 2003 by TwoMorrows Press and includes a collection of articles on Wood. This includes some insiteful remarks by Bill Pearson, one of Wood's closest friends.
While definitely not for everyone, Who's Squeezing Her Now, shows Wood at his tortured best.
Macho guys and shapely women take part in a stark drama that feels as though we are viewing it in 3-D. Never have characters rendered in this manner appeared this lonely and desperate. Wood's panels are more than just compositions, they are a window into a fully-realized world.
On the top of page 2, Bill looks out the window of the train and instead of seeing his reflection, he views both his fantasies and nightmares. A combination of stark black and white, collage and zip-a-tone draws the reader into Wood's private world as never before.


den said...

What a beautiful story.I love Wood with all my heart and I had never seen this one.Thank you very much.

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