Saturday morning, Liz Wrightson, announced that her husband and legendary horror artist, Bernie Wrightson, had passed away from a long battle with brain cancer.
“Bernie Wrightson had just broken up with a girlfriend, and we were sitting in my car just talking about life – all the important things to do when you’re 19 and 20 years old, and I said, ‘You know, I just wrote a story that actually kind of feels like the way you feel now.’ I told him about Swamp Thing, and he said, ‘I gotta draw that.'”
Wrightson’s profound influence and respect was wildly felt on Twitter yesterday:
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) March 20, 2017
As it comes to all of us, the end came for the greatest that ever lived: Bernie Wrightson. My North dark star of youth. A master.
— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) March 19, 2017
— Joss Whedon (@joss) March 19, 2017
Hard to be sad about Chuck Berry & Bernie Wrightson 'cuz they changed the art forms they pursued and thus lived amazing lives.
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) March 19, 2017
Bernie Wrightson was the first comics artist whose work I loved. Oddly, I don't mourn the artist. I mourn the lovely man who told bad jokes.
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) March 19, 2017
Deeply saddened by the loss of Bernie Wrightson-1 of the all-time greats whose superb artistry will live on forever! My condolences to Liz. pic.twitter.com/Ehask8HT4K
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) March 19, 2017
Bernie Wrightson is also know for co-creating the character Destiny for Weird Mystery Tales No. 1, which Neil Gaiman would use in his works, later on. His art and style have been seen in properties from Marvel to Stephen King and much more. His talents are so great that I have posted his official obituary below:
A Message From Liz Wrightson
After a long battle with brain cancer, legendary artist Bernie Wrightson has passed away.
Bernie “Berni” Wrightson (born October 27, 1948, Baltimore, Maryland, USA) was an American artist known for his horror illustrations and comic books. He received training in art from reading comics, particularly those of EC, as well as through a correspondence course from the Famous Artists School. In 1966, Wrightson began working for The Baltimore Sun newspaper as an illustrator. The following year, after meeting artist Frank Frazetta at a comic-book convention in New York City, he was inspired to produce his own stories. In 1968, he showed copies of his sequential art to DC Comics editor Dick Giordano and was given a freelance assignment. Wrightson began spelling his name “Berni” in his professional work to distinguish himself from an Olympic diver named Bernie Wrightson, but later restored the final E to his name.
His first professional comic work appeared in House of Mystery #179 in 1968. He continued to work on a variety of mystery and anthology titles for both DC and its principal rival, Marvel Comics. In 1971, with writer Len Wein, Wrightson co-created the muck creature Swamp Thing for DC. He also co-created Destiny, later to become famous in the work of Neil Gaiman. By 1974 he had left DC to work at Warren Publishing who were publishing black-and-white horror-comics magazines. There he produced a series of original work as well as adaptations of stories by H. P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe. In 1975, Wrightson joined with fellow artists Jeff Jones, Michael Kaluta, and Barry Windsor-Smith to form “The Studio,” a shared loft in Manhattan where the group would pursue creative products outside the constraints of comic book commercialism. Though he continued to produce sequential art, Wrightson at this time began producing artwork for numerous posters, prints, calendars, and coloring books.
Wrightson spent seven years drawing approximately 50 detailed pen-and-ink illustrations to accompany an edition of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, which the artist considers among his most personal work. Wrightson drew the poster for the Stephen King-penned horror film Creepshow, as well as illustrating the comic book adaptation of the film. This led to several other collaborations with King, including illustrations for the novella “Cycle of the Werewolf,” the restored edition of King’s apocalyptic horror epic, “The Stand,” and art for the hardcover editions of “From a Buick 8” and “Dark Tower V.” Wrightson has contributed album covers for a number of bands, including Meat Loaf. The “Captain Sternn” segment of the animated film Heavy Metal is based on the character created by Wrightson for his award-winning short comic series of the same name.
Characters he worked on included Spiderman, Batman and The Punisher, and he provided painted covers for the DC comics Nevermore and Toe Tags, among many others. Recent works include Frankenstein Alive Alive, Dead She Said , the Ghoul and Doc Macabre (IDW Publishing) all co-created with esteemed horror author Steve Niles, and several print/poster/sketchbooks series produced by Nakatomi.
As a conceptual artist, Bernie worked on many movies, particularly in the horror genre: well-known films include Ghostbusters, The Faculty, Galaxy Quest, Spiderman, and George Romero’s Land of the Dead, and Frank Darabont’s Stephen King film The Mist.
Bernie lived in Austin, Texas with his wife Liz and two corgis – Mortimer and Maximillian. In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, John and Jeffrey, one stepson, Thomas Adamson, and countless friends and fans. A celebration of his life is planned for later this year.
RIP, from all of us at GGA.