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October 30, 2014

Wally Wood Estate Suing Tatjana Wood For Return Of Art

Late yesterday evening this site received an e-mail with a PDF attachment indicating that Wallace Wood Properties, LLC has sued Tatjana Wood for the return of several piece of comics art in her possession. Wallace Wood Properties LLC is the Florida-based LLC set up by J. David Spurlock in late 2011 to manage rights and properties related to the late cartoonist. In early 2012, they received an assignment from the executor of Wood's estate -- John H. Robinson -- for "all of their interest in the work, property, copyrights, trademark rights and royalties attributed to or due to the said Wallace Wood."

imageTatjana Wood was married to Wally Wood in 1950; they were divorced at some point in the 1960s. She later became a well-regarded colorist, winning a pair of 1970s industry awards for her work.

Wood died on Halloween Night, 1981, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A major contributed to the EC Comics heyday, the rise of MAD, the revived Marvel superhero comics of the 1960s and the early days of independent comics, Wood's reputation as a sublime image maker and tragic personal case has only grown in legend since his passing. Wood was married twice after Tatjana Wood. His will -- included in the court documents sent -- provided his first wife with "All bank accounts, whether savings, checking, Certificates of Deposit, or otherwise." Everything else went to the estate under Robinson's management.

In dispute is art that was apparently returned to Tatjana Wood at an address it appears that Marvel had on file for the artist when it returned some art in 2005. This actually wasn't clear at first to Spurlock, who takes some time in an earlier letter trying to settle the matter to encompass material that might have been sent as early as the 1960s and 1970s, and in a later letter states that he has no interest in the material gifted by Wood to his first wife when he was alive. You can trace Spurlock's side of his pursuit an amenable-to-both-sides outcome in the PDF, including a cash offer for the art or an agreement for a bigger cash offer upon sale of some of the artwork. The material in the PDF depicts Tatjana's Wood response as summarily dismissive. Granted, there's almost always another side to these things.

It's always sad when there's a dispute of this nature over someone that's now gone. It's also worth noting that unlike many artists, Wally Wood did provide some clue as to his desires through the legal documentation included -- not all artists do. Barring a settlement, it's up to the court to see this adjudicated from this point on; one hopes for the best outcome according to the legal principles involved.

Oh, and here's this: WWPLawsuitAttachment.pdf
posted 12:05 am PST | Permalink

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