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Legendary artist Bernie Wrightson was notable as one of the famed illustrators who contributed a lot to the revamping of the 1970s horror comics. His horror illustrations had a rare quality with the combination of his distinct drafting ability and a certain modern sensibility. Bernie’s work went a long way in narrowing the gap between the previous years’ giddy optimism and the explosion of more classy content in the future. Bernie recorded several career-highs among which are the adapting of classic horror tales which he did for Warren Publications and co-creating the Swamp Thing character for DC Comics.
The great illustrator later joined Hollywood production design, working on movies like; The Ghostbusters, Spiderman, Galaxy Quest, and The Faculty. He contributed immensely to Land of the Dead by George Romero and also worked on The Mist by Frank Darabont.
The horror illustrator commenced work for the Baltimore Sun newspaper in 1966, the next year, he was inspired to launch his own stories after a chanced meeting with the legendary artist Frank Frazetta at a comic book convention which took place in New York City. In 1968, Bernie bagged a freelance assignment after DC Comics editor Dick Giordano saw several copies of his sequential art.
Who Is Bernie Wrightson?
The talented illustrator was born in Baltimore, Maryland on the 27th of October 1948. Although the details of his family background are not known, Bernie Wrightson was born with the given name of Bernard Albert Wrightson under the zodiac sign of Scorpio. Most of his art training was achieved informally from observing Jon Gnagy on TV and reading EC comics. He later joined a correspondence course at the Famous Artists School. His influence in arts is also linked to legendary artists like; Frank Frazetta, Howard Pyle, Al Dorne, Jack Davis, Al Williamson, and Graham Ingels.
Facts You Need To Know About Bernie Wrightson
- 1. Relationship History
Bernie married his first spouse Michele Wrightson in 1976 and they were together till her death in 2015. During her lifetime, Michele was deeply into underground comix, contributing quality content to popular publications like; Wimmen’s Comix, It Ain’t Me, Babe, as well as Arcade. The couple had two sons namely; Jeffrey and John.
After the demise of his first wife, he got married to his second wife Liz Wrightson through whom he inherited a stepson called Thomas Adamson.
- 2. Awards
The celebrated artist won a plethora of awards and nominations in his career some of which include the 1972 Shazam Award in the Dramatic Division for Best Penciller. He also bagged the same award in 1973 for Best Individual Story as well as Best Inker. Bernie Wrightson was nominated for the 1973 Goethe Award but won it as Favorite Pro Artist the next year when the name of the award was changed to Comic Fan Art Award.
Together with Jim Starlin, Bernie received the 1986 Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award for his effort in Heroes for Hope and in 1987, he landed an Inkpot Award. At the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival which took place in 2007 in Portland Oregon, the veteran illustrator won the H.P. Lovecraft Award AKA “Howie”. He is also the winner of the 2012 National Cartoonists Society’s award in the category of Comic Books. For his work that spanned over 45 years, Bernie Wrightson was credited with the 2015 Inkwell Award Special Recognition Award.
- 3. Notable Works
The illustrator’s major works include his co-creating of the Swamp Thing, his illustration work on the adaptation of the novel titled Frankenstein and his other horror comics and illustrations which include House of secrets and House of Mystery which featured his brushwork, as well as his trademark intricate pen
- 4. Net Worth
Before his demise, Bernie Wrightson amassed a total net worth of $1.2 million from his writings as well as his stint in other areas in the entertainment industry. His annual income was never made public, but he earned a good salary during his lifetime.
- 5. His Demise
An announcement of the illustrator’s retirement came in 2017, Bernie Wrightson himself made the pronouncement that he needed to have a rest from his battle with cancer, hence, the retirement. He eventually passed away in Austin Texas on the 18th of March 2017 at the age of 68. His death was confirmed by his widow, Liz, who revealed his cause of death to be cancer of the brain.