But today I find out that one of my favorite graphic illustrators died. Berni Wrightson, co-creator on DC Comic's Swamp Thing and arguably the most influential Gothic Horror visionaries of our era, passed away...
|One of the first posters I ever owned... from Batman: The Cult|
He was also one of the more recognizable Batman illustrators out there. He infamously drew Batman's cape to be longer than his own height.
|In Berni's mind, Batman's superpower was being able to stop himself from tripping on his own cape.|
But I will always remember Wrightson as the one who teamed with Len Wein to create Swamp Thing, one of the best-loved comic books from the early 1970s
I was seven, maybe eight years old, when my family was part of a comic book trade-off at the Dunedin Public Library. We ended up with a copy of the Special Issue re-release of issues 1 and 2 of the original Swamp Thing. It was an eye-opening work, far darker and mature than most of the children's literature I had been reading at the time:
In hindsight, the story itself was pretty simple origin story stuff: good scientist gets killed by mobsters trying to steal his plant formula, the plant formula turns scientist into a monstrous plant-human, the Swamp Thing gets his revenge but not before his wife is also killed, and a vengeful government agent swears to hunt the Swamp Thing down for all the wrong reasons.
But the artwork was incredible, with the beautiful use of shadow, and stylistic camera angles:
|I will remember this sequence to the day I die.|
When I was that age, I dabbled a bit into drawing, to see if I could develop a talent for it. Never really could. I got into writing instead, and I hopefully have some talent to that.
One of the things I want to do as a writer is become a comic book writer, to work in that genre of storytelling. I had hopes of someday getting into the industry, and getting to team up with the aritsts I liked.
Berni Wrightson topped my list.
At least I met him back in 2014 at the Tampa Bay Comic Con:
|Buying a Wrightson-drawn print of two of my favorite characters: Batman and Swamp Thing.|
"He was soon borne away by the waves, and lost in darkness and distance."
- Final line of Frankenstein