I did this marker rough in 1986 to show the cover image and possible layout I wanted on the book that ultimately became Against the Grain: Mad Artist Wallace Wood
(2003). I say "possible" because in retrospect, it does look a bit cluttered on the left. As evident in the title, Gary Groth originally had this in mind as part of his "Focus on" series, but that never happened.
My design concept was to revive the inverted L of white space as seen on Galaxy Science Fiction
and EC's Weird Science-Fantasy
(see below) and Piracy
. The splash of "Mars Is Heaven" not only had no balloons and captions, it had precisely the perfect proportions to fit into that cover layout. It also had strong storytelling with a psychological aspect of anticipation, as if the spacemen are waiting for the reader to turn to the first page. The panel was unusual in that almost all EC splash panels contained balloons and captions.
Truncated to become a Comics Journal
cover, the image never made it onto the book. Instead, the cover that was used on Against the Grain
was created by Roger Hill and John Morrow without my knowledge and never seen by me in advance. If they had shown it to me, I would have argued against it, because it may be one of the weakest covers Wood ever did in terms of action and storytelling. There is no anticipation. Spacemen have landed. So what?
Labels: against the grain, ec, wood