Bernie Wrightson (1948-2017)

Hi all,

I recently received in the mail my copy of Holland Files No. 1: International Swamp Thing Fanzine. I haven’t had time to have a good look at it yet but I’ll read it cover-to-cover soon enough and add some interesting items to the Bibliography. I can already see that it contains some great art, and articles on a wide variety of subjects (well, wider than you might expect in a fanzine devoted to a single comic character).  Thanks to John Boylan for putting this all together – I hope this is only the first of many issues.

I’ve just finished the third series in my big Swamp Thing re-read.  Brian K. Vaughan focuses completely on Tefé, who I find to be a great character with a complicated relationship to her parents.  Her unusual conception and trials as ‘The Sprout’ took up much of Rick Veitch’s run, and Doug Wheeler brought her into the world in his third issue.  While she is still a toddler, she manages to wander into Hell, get attacked by Matango, kidnapped by pirates and a serial child murderer, and possessed by her evil great-uncle.  By the end of the second series, she has been used by the Parliament of Trees as a weapon against humanity and is betrayed, and nearly destroyed, by her own parents.  Vaughan’s run sees the teenage Tefé search for the true purpose of her life and learn to control her temper and frightening powers.

In sad news, Bernie Wrightson has died at aged 68. Bernie was a co-creator of our favourite muck-monster with Len Wein, illustrating Swampy’s first appearance in House of Secrets #92 and going on to illustrate the first 10 issues of Swamp Thing in the early 1970s. The quality of the art during that first series greatly contributed to the ongoing success of the character.  It also established a trend of great artistic talents being involved in the title, and set a high standard for comic illustration in general. While only illustrating 11 Swampy appearances, his name will be forever associated with the character and with the genre of horror comics, and his work will continue to be influential on other artists for many years to come.

If you’re looking for an illuminating interview with Wrightson, you can’t go too wrong with Jon B. Cooke’s ‘Bernie and the Bayou Beast’, which appears in Swampmen: The Muck-Monsters and their Makers, a special issue of Comic Book Creator (2014).

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