Jones having met up with Warren felt considerably heartened, here was a man he could definitely do business with and in addition to the Famous Monsters cover he'd picked up there was a cover for the Spacemen Year Book, to be ultimately shared between Woody and Jones and several other commissions including a larger project Jones needed to discuss with Wood.
In fact the project was sufficient in itself to warrant another meeting, this time with Wallace Wood in attendance, at Warren's well appointed penthouse on the 14th floor of the Embassy House on New York's East 47th Street. There in Warren's impressive reception room, the project was outlined to Jones and the ever skeptical Wood. In this case Woody had every right to be skeptical and as events turned out, his caution was more than justified. What Warren wanted was a magazine that followed up on the success of his biggest selling title to date, "Famous Monsters of Filmland". In Europe "fumetti" were all the rage. These were comics aimed at a teen market and created by using photos rather than drawings . In those far away days at least a possible next big thing.
Wiser counsels would have politely declined the job, or haggled more vigorously over the budget but with their eye on bigger things from Warren in the future, Jones with Wood's less than effusive concordance, sealed the deal.
It wasn't until they'd met up with Del Tenney the director and producer and attended a screening of the cinematic abomination a.k.a. "Horror of Beach Party" that they realized just how bad this thing was. But needs must and so they got on with the job, fortified by gallons of coffee and bacon sandwiches served up to them by the lovely Tatjana Wood, whilst Woody fulminated about the vicissitudes of working for exploitative publishers, especially James Warren who he now referred to as "suction head". As the work progressed Woody became increasingly frustrated by the amount of re-touching involved, especially with the creature's teeth, which to the nicotine fixated Wood looked more like a row of cigars. In a moment of desperation and in spite of the truly miserable budget Woody invested in an air brush, which true to form failed to work. They even ended up having to take extra polaroids to help flesh out the story (such as it was) with Wood cast in the role of a world weary (this came naturally to Wood) news announcer and Russ Jones as R.J. your all night D.J. making a cameo appearance.
By the time the story was delivered to Warren, Woody wanted nothing more to do with the publisher, but there was one job that he and Jones had squeezed in for Warren, which was destined to be a key component in the birth of Warren's black and white horror comics.
More to follow…
P.S. For those of you who want to check out more of the great Woody's fantastical work whizz yourselves over to BookSteve's incredible blog; "Hooray for Wally Wood!".
And if that's not enough you can render yourselves insensible with excitement at the svelte looking Mr Door Tree's equally incredible blog; "Golden Age Comic Stories". Today's posting features some really early offerings by Wrightson and Jeff Jones in Larry Ivie's "Monsters and Heroes" magazine (Ivie was also involved in the early days of Creepy magazine. Yesterday's posting features a whole slew of Thunder Agents Comics covers.
Check out the ongoing series of reprints from Dark Horse Comics here for US readers.
And here for UK readers.
Number 2596: The life (and death) of Riley
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