Pg. 9; Bernie Wrightson pencils and inks; image size 10" x 15"
Swamp ThingBernie Wrightson was arguably the best known and greatest of all the artists to rise up from the swamp of fanzines and newsletters that comics-obsessed fans pumped out during the late 60s and early 70s. After working his way up through the ranks at Marvel and DC, mostly on horror anthologies, Wrightson, with writer Len Wein, hit upon the concept that would put their names on the map, Swamp Thing. Wrightson would go on to become one of the most-renowned illustrators in the industry, but his connection to Swamp Thing would remain strong throughout his career. This page, from the character's first appearance, stands as a testament to the lasting power of the shambling and misunderstood hero and is doubly historic as the top panel is the first-ever appearance of the character that would come to define DC horror comics and eventually lead to the creation of the revered Vertigo brand.
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Starting out as an amateur, a meeting with Frank Frazetta at a comic convention in 1967 inspired Bernie Wrightson to pursue his dream of becoming a comic book artist, he began working for DC after contributing work samples to Dick Giordano, in the Silver Age he would illustrate short stories in horror anthologies, in one of those tales he invented the Swamp Thing, who would be granted his own title, which Bernie drew the first ten issues of, then he moved over to Warren, known for their macabre content, and grew his fan base, at one point he was living in the same building as Al Milgrom, Howard Chaykin and Walt Simonson. He left comics to form an artist's collective known as 'The Studio' where he would concentrate on posters and lithographs, portfolios and the like, his adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is commonly regarded as his finest achievement. His pen and ink and brush work on this black and white collection is elegant and emotionally resonant. He also collaborated with Stephen King on adapting his work like Creepshow. In later years he did spot work on comics, while continuing his poster work, notably illustrating the popular Batman: The Cult series. He passed away in 2017 after a long battle with brain cancer.