Bernie Wrightson (1948-2017)

Artist Bernie Wrightson, 68, died March 18, 2017 in Austin TX of brain cancer. Wrightson is best known for his comics, including the creation of DC Comics character Swamp Thing (1971, with writer Len Wein), and for his horror illustrations.

Bernard Albert Wrightson was born October 27, 1948 in Dundalk MD. He started work as a newspaper illustrator in 1966, and in 1968 began freelancing for DC Comics. His first professional comic story, “The Man Who Murdered Himself”, appeared in 1969 in DC’s House of Mystery, and he went on to work for Marvel, DC, and other comics companies throughout his career. In 1975 he joined artists’ collective “The Studio” with Jeffrey Jones, Michael Kaluta, and Barry Windsor-Smith. He extensively illustrated Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, culminating in landmark book Bernie Wrightson’s Frankenstein (1983). He illustrated the comic book adaptation of Stephen King’s Creepshow in 1983 and later did illustrations for King’s books Cycle of the Werewolf, The Stand, and Wolves of the Calla. He also illustrated work by L. Sprague de Camp and David J. Schow, among others, and did conceptual art for numerous films. He was twice nominated for Chesley Awards (in 1998 and 2003), and his illustrated narrative “Spuds” (2000) was a Bram Stoker Award finalist.

Wrightson was diagnosed with brain cancer and underwent multiple surgeries before announcing his retirement in late January 2017, when he could no longer travel or produce new art. Wrightson was predeceased by first wife Michele Wrightson in 2015, and is survived by second wife Liz Wrightson, two sons from his first marriage, and a stepson.