Legendary Horror Artist Bernie Wrightson Passes Away

Bernie Wrightson

Influential horror artist Bernie Wrightson, whose work inspired and entertained generations of creators and fans, passed away Saturday after a lengthy battle with brain cancer. He was 68.

His death was announced overnight on his Facebook page by his wife Liz Wrightson. The artist's official website now carries his obituary.

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Famed as the co-creator of DC Comics' Swamp Thing, Wrightson began his comics career in 1968, with "House of Mystery" #179, after first working as an illustrator for The Baltimore Sun. He continued to work for DC until 1974, when he left to work for Warren Publishing, where he created a series of black-and-white adaptations of tales by H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe. He also joined with fellow artists Jeff Jones, Michael Kaluta and Barry Windsor-Smith to form The Studio in a loft in Manhattan to pursue work outside of comic books.

In the 1980s, Wrightson branched out into film concept work, and produced the poster for the Stephen King horror movie "Creepshow." He went on to provide illustrations for a number of the author's books; his work for King's "Cycle of the Werewolf" was the subject of a recent Kickstarter campaign.

Although Wrightson is best known for horror and mystery, he also dabbled in superheroes, including DC's Batman and Marvel's Captain Marvel, and produced covers for "Aquaman," "Green Lantern," "Superman/Batman," "Wonder Woman," "The Incredible Hulk" and others.

Wrightson announced his retirement from comics in January after bleeding on the brain left him unable to walk or reliably use his left hand. According to his website, "a celebration of his life is planned for later this year."

Already, social media is full of tributes for the artist, with fans and fellow comics professionals alike posting their favorite pieces of Wrightson's work. DC Entertainment Co-Publisher Jim Lee praised the artist's "masterful, evocative line work."

While Scott Morse highlighted his eye for detail.

And Becky Cloonan described him as a "true master of pen & ink"

RIP Bernie Wrightson: There were giants in those days. 1991, when all the world was young. (L to R, Frank, me, Bill, Bernie and Dave.) pic.twitter.com/ExVrRjjjm6

— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) March 19, 2017

Bernie Wrightson was the first comics artist whose work I loved. Oddly, I don't mourn the artist. I mourn the lovely man who told bad jokes.

— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) March 19, 2017

I loved Bernie's great art, but loved Bernie the man, my friend, even more. His horror was so powerful because it came from an empathic soul https://t.co/0Xb9OHSlAf

— Bill Sienkiewicz (@sinKEVitch) March 19, 2017

In addition to his wife Liz, Wrightson is survived by two sons, John and Jeffrey, and a stepson, Thomas Adamson.

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