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.

6 comments:

  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.

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

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

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  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!

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

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