Artist Bernie Wrightson Dies
Bernie Wrightson, the prolific artist who revolutionised horror comics, died on Sunday following a battle with brain cancer. He was 68.
Wrightson, inspired by the EC horror comics published during the 1950s, is probably best known for creating the Swamp Thing character, together with writer Len Wein, and illustrating the Swamp Thing comic book during the early 1970s.
That title revolved around a research assistant who, following an incident with a lethal chemical, was transformed into the swamp creature of the title. Wes Craven helmed a big screen version in 1982, and Jim Wynorski’s The Return of Swamp Thing materialised in 1989.
Wrightson launched his career as a freelance illustrator for the Baltimore Sun, and started working for DC Comics after showing his work to the Dick Giordano, a DC editor. During his early work, he went by “Berni” in an attempt to avoid confusion with an Olympic athlete named Bernie Wrightson.
During the 80s’ Wrightson’s career expanded further – he illustrated a comic book version of Stephen King’s Creepshow – directed by George A. Romero – and conjured up the images for a 1983 illustrated edition of Frankenstein. Wrightson’s visions of Shelley’s classic, which was re-released back in 2008 – are considered to be some of the artist’s best work.
Jumping back into the world of Stephen King, Wrightson provided the illustrations for the novelist’s The Cycle of the Werewolf, which was later adapted into the feature film Silver Bullet, and the restored edition of The Stand. He later went on to illustrate the hardback editions of King’s From a Buick 8 and Dark Tower V.
Wrightson also served as a conceptual artist on films such as The Mist, Land of the Dead, Galaxy Quest, Ghostbusters and Creepshow.
In addition to his wife, Wrightson is survived by his two sons, John and Jeffrey and one stepson, Thomas Adamson.