Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Dynamo #4

Tower Comics was a company that tried to enter the comic book marketplace in the 1960s. Encouraged by the success of DC and Marvel with their revived superhero lines, the publishers thought it was a risk worth taking. To that end, they hired some of the finest creators around to write and illustrate the new books they were going to introduce.

Aboard for the the project were folk such as Reed Crandall, Gil Kane, Steve Ditko, Roger Brand, Steve Skeates, Dan Adkins, Len Brown...and in charge of most of the projects, Wally Wood.

Wally Wood was already a comics legend when he was tapped by the owner of Tower Books to create the new line of comics. Because of Wood's reputation, it was no trouble for the company to attract other top talent. It didn't hurt that Wood knew many of the greats from his days at EC Comics.

The flagship title for the new company was T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents. It was a clever combination of superheroes, James Bond, and the Man from U.N.C.L.E.. It should have been quite the success, and in in many ways. But neither DC nor Marvel were going to stand around and allow an upstart comics company to intrude on their newly realized resurgence in comics. What followed was one of the earliest uses of flooding the market with product in an effort to squeeze out a new publisher by denying it space on the newsstands and within the very weird and monopolistic world of newsstand distribution. Thus, the project was all but killed off before it could set up a solid foundation.

One of my favorite characters from the company was Dynamo. For a brief time, he had his own comic title, illustrated by Wally Wood. Wood's covers for this book were amazing. I'm not sure they'd have passed unobstructed through the offices at Marvel, but they were effective works and stand the test of time.

My copy of DYNAMO #4. Cover by co-creator Wally Wood, one of the best comic artists ever.


Henry R. Kujawa said...

Now just think how much better than cover would have been if the woman tied to the railroad tracks had been STARK NAKED???

For some reason, every time someone mentions Wally Wood at the Masterworks message board, the "MMMS" crowd always insists on referring to his art as "static and boring", or himself as "an alcoholic and a suicide". (After all they've said about Kirby, Ditko, Everett and Wood, I'm still waiting to see what they come up with to "discredit" Stan Goldberg, Al Hartley, Dick Ayers, or Marie Severin.)

HemlockMan said...

In the layouts, she probably WAS naked. Wood could draw attractive women like few comic artists.

Wood is so much better than any modern Marvel comic artist. The MMMS crowd need to go fuck themselves.