Hello my Little Monsters. Today I greet you with a heavy heart, since the art world has lost a legendary member of its ranks, Bernie Wrightson. Bernie had retired in January of this year, citing health issues he had experienced following brain surgery. Sadly, earlier today he lost his battle with brain cancer.
Bernie got his start as an illustrator for The Baltimore Sun, but it was a chance meeting with his one of his major artistic influences (and one of my personal favorites), Frank Frizetta, that inspired him to delve into comic book art. Bernie’s first endeavor for DC Comics was creating the art for a story in the March/April 1968 issue of House of Mystery (No. 179), entitled “The Man Who Murdered Himself”. Three years later Bernie would team with writer Len Wein to create arguably hist most famous creation Swamp Thing for the July 1971 issue of DC’s House of Secrets (No. 92).
Bernie had done the art for several comic book and magazines companies which include: DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Image Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Cry for Dawn Productions, Eclipse Comics, Bongo Comics, Chaos! Comics, Chanting Monks Studios, Fantagraphics , Books, Eros Comix. IDW Publishing, Kitchen Sink Press, Major Publications, New American Library , Pacific Comics, As You Like It Publications, Gemstone Publishing,, Metal Mammoth, Inc., NL Communications, Inc., Skywald Publications, TwoMorrows Publishing and Warren Publishing.
I find it difficult to adequately put into words my appreciation for his work. His illustrations have a depth, detail and texture that are frankly just unbelievable. And while I have always loved his artwork, I have never really aspired to be as talented, because one dares not to try and touch the sun. But like myself, Bernie inspired many a young artist to delve into art and illustration, thus helping us all to find our own styles.
It’s tough to nail down which of his works are my favorites, but the ones that immediately come to mind include: Swamp Thing, Stephen King’s Creepshow and Cycle of the Werewolf, The Lost Frankenstein Pages, Bernie Wrightson’s Frankenstein, The Monsters: Color the Creature Book, The Conan Grimoire and The Conan Reader…just to name a very few.
It is indeed a sad day, my Little Monsters. But even though we have lost a truly astounding artistic talent, Bernie will live on through every illustration he ever created. He and his art will also hopefully fuel imaginations and act as inspiration for future generations of artists.