Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Prophet without honor

Last night I was flipping through a book about the artists of MAD magazine that happened to be sitting on my couch (ah, the usual gang of idiots!) and came across the section on Wallace Wood, famous for the "Superduperman" parody, among other things. And I was startled to discover that he was from Menagha!

A small town just down the road from where I grew up, Menagha, MN, is famous for its lake, its tall pines, and, in more recent years, for its statue of St. Urho, hoisting a grasshopper on a pitchfork.

I remember some of Wood's sixties work in the various MAD paperback anthologies during my small-town youth. He also worked for EC and for Daredevil, the only comic I ever actually read in the seventies. To me, all this stuff came from somewhere impossibly far away, and I had no idea that one of the artists was actually from the area.

Of course, he struggled with alcoholism much of his life, and, after a stroke left him unable to draw, he committed suicide while I was still in high school, so it might not have been the perfect role model situation I might have been looking for. Still, knowing me, I think it would have been inspiring none the less.

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