Monday, March 21, 2011

If You Blinked You Missed: Woodgod

Greetings, Groove-ophiles! One of the wildest concepts of the Groovy Age had to be Bill Mantlo's Woodgod. Woodgod only appeared three times (not counting an hallucination) during the Groovy Age: his debut in Marvel Premiere #31 (May 1976) and Marvel Team-Up #'s 53-54 (October-November 1976). Think that's ca-razee? You ain't seen nothin' yet, baby!

Woodgod, a genetically engineered hybrid clone of man and animal made to look like a mythological satyr with a child-like mind (yeah, all'a that!) was a wild enough concept--especially when envisioned by the singular stylings of artists Keith Giffen and Klaus Janson--but no, Mantlo was going for something even more far-out. Through his amazing mish-mash of sci-fi, mythology, and super-heroes, Mantlo was looking to create a character who would be able to "make sense of our world". How to do that? Make Woodgod insane! That's right, with a concept called "Scream", which would be the thing that Woodgod would base all of his judgements on, Woodgod would himself define right, wrong, good, evil, and everything else--on his own limited terms. Don't take Ol' Groove's word for it, here's Mantlo being interviewed on the creation of Woodgod for FOOM #13 (Spring 1976)...

...and here's his explanation of "Scream" from the letters page of Marvel Team-Up #53.

Like Ol' Groove said, "wild!" And here's the dyn-o-mite debut of our woeful woodland changeling courtesy of (who else?) Mantlo, Giffen, and Janson!

As I mentioned, Woodgod appeared again with Spider-Man and the Hulk in a couple issues of Marvel Team-Up, drawn by John Byrne...

After that, Woodgod would show up post-Groovy Age in a few issues of the Incredible Hulk (when Mantlo was the mag's writer, natch). Mantlo changed Woodgod up quite a bit in succeeding appearances, making him "The Lawgiver" for an entire group of human/animal hybrid clones.


  1. Hey Groovster!
    I thought you covered Wood-God already. Other wise I would have asked to do this article on him. I forgot about the interview in FOOM#13. I guess as a teen, I really dug those off beat reject type characters. Wood-God, the 3-D Man,Manphibian,etc.

    I really dug the art by Keith Giffen/Klaus Jansen & of course Byrne short run on MTU. Bill used Wood-God in the early 80's also in the Hulk. With a group of circus type freak/mutants like himself called the Changelings. Not sure if Marvel ever used him again. I think this would had made a great SF novel even. Minus the other Marvel superheroes.

    If written more like a genetic engineering gone wrong. Along the lines of Logan's Run, Soylent Green,etc. I hope Marvel starts doing some of their lessner known heroes as movies or TV movies. Love to see this story brought to the big screen or small screen.

  2. Woodgod just made a cameo appearance in HULK #30, along with Impossible Man.

  3. I thought Mantlo was rocking on all cylinders at that time. He produced some wonderfully Gerber-esque material that I loved

  4. Man, that does take me back. I thought I was the only one with a soft spot for ol' woody. Wait a minute, that doesn't sound right!

  5. wood god had a good start.Ihope he appears again.



Blog Widget by LinkWithin
Note to "The Man": All images are presumed copyright by the respective copyright holders and are presented here as fair use under applicable laws, man! If you hold the copyright to a work I've posted and would like me to remove it, just drop me an e-mail and it's gone, baby, gone.

All other commentary and insanity copyright GroovyAge, Ltd.

As for the rest of ya, the purpose of this blog is to (re)introduce you to the great comics of the 1970s. If you like what you see, do what I do--go to a comics shop, bookstore, e-Bay or whatever and BUY YOUR OWN!