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Acclaimed Horror/Comedy Artist Gahan Wilson Dies at 89

Gahan Wilson, the critically acclaimed longtime cartoonist best known for his offbeat cartoons that took a humorous look at horror situations, passed away this week at the age 89.

Over the years, Wilson drew cartoons for Playboy, The New Yorker, Collier's, Look and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Wilson's offbeat style took a while to get accepted by the magazine world. He explained on his website how he got his big break, ”My big break came when the cartoon editor for Colliers – who, like everybody else, thought the readers wouldn’t understand the cartoons I did – left to become the cartoon editor of Look. In the interim, the art director took over. Not being a trained cartoon editor, he did not realize my stuff was too much for the common man to comprehend, and he thought it was funny. I was flabbergasted and delighted when he started to buy it! He wasn’t in all that long, about a month and a half, but by that time my cartoons had started to appear. The guy who had gone to Look saw them in Colliers, and I guess a great dawning occurred, so he started buying them for Look, and that was it – I was now a big-time cartoonist! Absolutely foolish, but that’s the way it happened. That was the chink in the armor, and I just got through it."

RELATED: Gahan Wilson Says “Nuts” to Childhood

Wilson worked in the tradition of the famed New Yorker cartoonist, Charles Addams, who also drew macabre situations with a humorous edge to them. Wilson, though, took a more modernist approach to his cartoons, like a vampire done in by Daylight Savings Time....

For the most part, though, Wilson's work stood out for just how darkly humorous his cartoons could be. They had a stark edge to them, like this disturbing Christmas classic...

and perhaps his most famous cartoon, the murderous eye doctor with a sense of humor...

RELATED: 50 Years of Gahan Wilson

During the 1970s, Wilson also wrote and drew the excellent comic strip, Nuts, which starred a nameless "everyman" child who went through those universal experiences that kids deal with that few other comic creators were able to capture, like the feeling when you miss a couple of days of school when you're sick and when you return you have trouble catching up...

Nuts could be practically haunting at times, like the minor rotten stuff you sometimes do that haunts you forever...

Wilson also illustrated the popular Matthew Looney children's novels by Jerome Beatty...

In the 1990s, Wilson scared a whole new generation through is Ultimate Haunted House computer video game...

Wilson continued working well into his 80s, even after he was diagnosed with dementia. His family had recently started a GoFundMe page to help pay for his care. They raised nearly $85,000. They announced his passing on the page.

Our condolences to all of Gahan Wilson's family and friends. His work touched the lives of numerous generations.

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