Challenger Logo by Alan White   A Science Fiction Fanzine   Summer 2009

A Visit

Joseph Green

During and after the Apollo pre-launch parties, for which Kelly and Polly Freas were among our most frequent guests, then-wife Nita and I several times visited the Kelly-Freas in their Virginia Beach home.  During one of those visits (date now lost), Wally Wood dropped in for an afternoon.   Nita and Polly were busy elsewhere, so it was largely just myself chatting with these two great artists.  The conversation centered on the art world, of course, and especially comics – particulars not recorded in permanent memory.  But I do recall that Wally was an articulate but sometimes hesitant speaker (unlike Kelly, who could speak almost as fluently as he painted), with firm opinions on a number of subjects.

Memory says Wally avoided alcohol the entire afternoon.  (I only learned later that he suffered from incurable headaches, and had had bouts with alcoholism.)   I think he was single at the time, and there were noticeable signs of loneliness and melancholy in his attitude and conversation.  It seemed to me that he was very happy to get away from work for a time, and spend a pleasant afternoon with Kelly (and myself, because I happened to be there).  Wally committed suicide eight or nine years later.

As the afternoon drew to a close, Wally asked for sketch paper, and very quickly drew a small but lovely little nymph, which he presented to me as a memento.  It now hangs on the wall beside my desk. 


Joe’s Wally Wood original can be found on this issue’s back cover.

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