Friday, March 24, 2017

Oklahomans react to death of Swamp Thing co-creator Bernie Wrightson

 The Oklahoman published an article today about Bernie Wrightson and the influence he had over Oklahoman's. Included in the article are a photo of Christophe and Bernie together as well as some of Christophe's thoughts.

A link to the article is here:

Oklahomans react to death of Swamp Thing co-creator Bernie Wrightson

BY MATTHEW PRICE Features Editor   
 Christophe Murdock, left, with Bernie Wrightson in May 2013. [Photo provided by Christophe Murdock]
Christophe Murdock, left, with Bernie Wrightson in May 2013. [Photo provided by Christophe Murdock]
Bernie Wrightson, co-creator of Swamp Thing and one of the foremost crafters of horror art in comics, died over the weekend at 68.
Wrightson began creating illustrations for the Baltimore Sun as a teenager in 1966, The Washington Post reported, and by 20, he was working for DC Comics on titles, including "House of Mystery."
Oklahoma City comic book, game concept and storyboard artist Ellis Goodson compared Wrightson's work both to artist Frank Frazetta and to 1880s-era pen-and-ink illustrator Joseph Clement Coll. Goodson said he followed Wrightson from his very early career.
"How I learned about him was the enviable method," Goodson said. "I was there every time a new piece of his art hit the stands. Fantastic horror comics were a rare item in the mid-late 60s, and I was picking them all up. ... Interior art with that Frazetta quality was rare indeed. And those rare qualities were painterly line art, a mastery at invention, appealing compositions, compelling abstraction and great acting and posing."
In collaboration with writer Len Wein, in 1971 Wrightson created the muck monster that was his greatest claim to fame: Swamp Thing.
His career saw him create his own version of horror touchstones, perhaps the most remembered being his version of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. In the magazines "Creepy" and "Eerie," he adapted classics from Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft.
Wrightson also worked on Hollywood films in art and design, including "Ghostbusters," "Creepshow" and "Spider-Man." Though known for horror, he also worked on many notable superhero characters, including Batman and Spider-Man.
Oklahoma comic fans and creators paid tribute to the creator, many of whom cited the artist as an influence.
"Bernie was probably the biggest influence on my life and art since my childhood," Norman musician Christophe Murdock said. "Nobody's art ever gripped me the way his did. I would lose myself in it for hours."
Murdock credited Wrightson as the inspiration for the art on his 2003 compact disc, and in shaping his sound, as well.
"I got the chance to meet Bernie twice," Murdock said. "The conversations we had will remain with me always. The world was a much better place with him."
Oklahoma comic creator Jerry Bennett ("Nadir's Zenith") said Wrightson's work had long inspired his own.
"I believe the very first graphic novel I ever owned was 'Spider-Man: Hooky,' which was illustrated by Bernie Wrightson," Bennett said. "The pen and ink style to his work has been a seminal influence to my own pen and ink work, and I routinely peruse his black-and-white illustration work to get inspired. He will be missed, but the mark he left is legendary."
Comics historian Michael Vance, of Tulsa, said Wrightson was in rare company.
"Without question, and for all of comics history, the two greatest horror artists were Graham Ingels in the 1950s and Bernie Wrightson," Vance said.
Norman-based comics writer and critic Rob Vollmar said Wrightson's illustrations were filled with skill and personality.
"There are artists who draw comics. There are artists who draw comics masterfully, and then there was Bernie Wrightson, a man who was a masterful illustrator and applied those talents to creating comics of the finest order," Vollmar said. "Along with others of his generation — Barry Windsor-Smith, Mike Kaluta, P. Craig Russell — Wrightson elevated draftsmanship to new heights and, perhaps more so than any of his contemporaries, infused every drawing with an unmistakable personality that was as recognizable as John Bonham's snare drum or William Faulkner's use of syntax."
Vollmar said he believes Wrightson's work will remain an important part of the canon in the future.
"I am among those who would say that the American comics industry was never ambitious enough to fully exhaust Wrightson's potential, but his body of work and the legacy of his profound influence will speak for themselves for decades to come."

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