Wally Wood was a legendary comics artist who is best known for his work for EC Comics beginning in the 1950s, on such titles as Shock SuspenStories, Weird Science, Two-Fisted Tales, Tales From the Crypt, and Mad Magazine. In the 1960s and ’70s, Wood did work for a number of comics companies, including Marvel and DC. At Marvel, he worked on Daredevil; it was a brief but influential run in which he contributed numerous elements that may have saved the series and character. Bleeding Cool has printed an open letter from the estate of Wally Wood (the artist died in 1982):
Netflix and Marvel Studios made history with their recent online hit TV show Daredevil, which was immediately renewed for a second season. But with all the fanfare has come a major controversy among comics fans and top professionals alike. Amazingly, though over a dozen Daredevil-related comics professionals were acknowledged in the series credits, the late, legendary creator who, most in-the-know people say, did as much as Stan Lee and Bill Everett, who first launched Daredevil in 1964, is outrageously slighted. No one is more important to Daredevil than Wallace “Wally” Wood! After leaving his historic 12-year hit run on MAD Magazine, in 1964, Wood took over the then foundering, near-cancellation fledgling Daredevil comic after issue #4. Wood created the RED Daredevil character design, the interlocking double-D logo (which inspired the nickname “DD”), developed the visualization of the Radar Sense, created the grappling-hook cane/Billy-club cable, technological enhancements to DD’s senses, themes used through the Frank Miller run, and beyond. Lee and Everett are acknowledged at the opening of the Netflix-Marvel series and many more comic-book talents are thanked in the Netflix Daredevil show but not “Kid Daredevil Himself, Wally Wood” as Marvel sometimes called him! — To people familiar with Wood’s contributions, the slight is Unacceptable!
When Wood took over Daredevil, the half-developed character was dressed in a yellow acrobat’s costume. Wood found it ridiculous to dress “the Man Without Fear” in yellow, the color of cowardice and took it upon himself, without Marvel’s request or approval, to change DD’s outfit to the all-red suit he has donned lo, the past 50 years. Wood’s design inspired all red Daredevil designs since, including those in the 2003 Daredevil movie staring Ben Affleck and the new Netflix series alike. Wood plotted his DD stories, often uncredited — which inspired him to leave Marvel after one year — and that character development is inherent in near all Daredevil including Sin City creator, Frank Miller’s famous run. That is why Roy Thomas, Denny O’Neil and other all-time top comics industry pros are speaking out, in favor of Wood being listed at the beginning of each episode with Stan Lee and Bill Everett (not at the end for individual episode contributions).
In his one year developing Daredevil, Wood brought sales from a near-cancellation bi-monthly to a hit monthly. The success continued through Romita’s handful of post-Wood issues but soon slipped back to a bi-monthly where it soldiered on for years afterward, only to return again to Wood’s hit monthly level of sales, over a decade later, under Frank Miller. Miller’s famous latter run on Daredevil revived many themes that were originally created by “Kid Daredevil himself,” Wallace Wood. Elsewhere, Miller has paid tribute to Wood in SIN CITY (including in the credits to the SIN CITY movie) and his comic, Tales to Offend, including “Lance Blastoff” which was a total homage to Wood.
Wood’s estate has been waging a campaign for credit on its official Facebook page, often sharing quotes from other comics creators in support of Wood’s importance to the character’s development. Here are a few: