The world of illustrated art lost a true legend this past weekend with the passing of Bernie Wrightson, the noted master of ink and brush work, who was revered throughout the world of comics and graphic design.
Born in Maryland in 1948, Wrightson started a career in illustration in 1966 with a job at the Baltimore Sun. After meeting world renowned illustrator Frank Frazetta, he was inspired to try his hand at producing illustrated comic stories. In a few short years, he was drawing for both DC and Marvel.
In 1971, Wrightson found fame in the comic world with the launch of Swamp Thing, a charcter he co-created with Len Wein. He worked steadily throughout the next decades, both in and out of the world of comics. Wrightson spent seven years working on a series of drawings for an illustrated publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Three years later, he did the illustrations for Stephen King’s Cycle of the Werewolf. He also designed an album cover for Meat Loaf, inked a cover for TV Guide, and contributed character design to Serenity, the full-length swan song for tv’s much beloved Firefly.
Wrightson’s work garnered him countless accolades and awards in his lifetime. His creation Swamp Thing netted him several Shazam Awards in the early ‘70s. In 1985, he won the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award for his work producing Heroes For Hope, a one-off comic to raise money for African famine relief. He has also been awarded the Inkpot Award, The H.P. Lovecraft Award, The National Cartoonists Society Award, and the Inkwell Lifetime Recognition Award.
Though his passing is sad, through his career spanning half a century Wrightson earned a level of immortality that few ever enjoy. He will be with us forever in his drawings and his inspiration will live on for countless generations of illustrators.
Through his career spanning half a century Wrightson has earned a level of immortality that few ever enjoy. His drawings will outlive him and his inspiration will be evident in generations of illustrators to come.