Last week Friday I made a nuisance of myself in an effort to get out of work on time to attend Books Kinokuniya’s Cartoonists Assemble, a gathering to celebrate several Australian comic releases and an exhibition of Australian artists’ interpretation of Wally Wood’s 22 Panels that always work.
Gavin Aung Than was there signing copies of his book, which looked all sorts of fabulous, as did Anh Do’s WeirDo (Jules Faber, responsible for the series’ gorgeous art was on hand to sigh copies of WeirDo). Tim McEwan, SupaNova Pop Culture expo art director, was MC and he spoke at length about comics artists in Australia and introduced the exhibition up at Books Kinokuniya: 22 panels that always work.
The panels are the brainchild of comics artist Wally Wood. He was a comics writer, artist and independent publisher, who worked for Marvel and MAD magazine among others, and I think everyone in the comics industry knows his name.
I would also guess they know of his panels. These 22 panels came from Wood’s need to be more efficient an artist. Even now artists like Nicola Scott, for instance, work 7 days a week, and Wood created techniques and perspectives in these panels to remind himself of the best, most efficient ways to keep his work interesting and dynamic.
He then did what anyone would do in a high-pressured job – he stuck it up where he was working to remind himself of the alternatives he had as an artist. Years later, an ex-assistant of his, saved those panels, and another ex-Wood assistant, Larry Hama asked for a copy and made the panels into a teaching guide for the new artists he had under his wing at Marvel. It was the easiest way to teach them and from that the industry learned more about Wood’s genius.
At the event, Tim McEwan explained that several artists from the Australian Cartoonists’ Association had done their own interpretations of those panels. Artwork included everything from Captain America to a Tony Abbot/Julie Bishop political cartoon, and I loved it. Art and comics is this crazy thing I’ll never be able to understand, but I desperately want to. Well, I’m a work in progress, I guess.