On Saturday comics legend Bernie Wrightson passed away at the age of 68. Over the years his name had become synonymous with horror comics in a way few (arguably no) others have before or since. His detailed line work added a naturalistic element to his art which only heightened the sense of atmosphere. His imaginative creature designs mixed the humane with the grotesque, finding their best expressions in Swamp Thing (co-created with Len Wein) and his acclaimed adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (Guillermo del Toro wanted to use Wrightson’s illustrations as the visual basis for a Frankenstein film). His contributions did crossover to superheroes from time to time, most notably in his art for Jim Starlin’s Batman: The Cult miniseries. So, as we extend our sympathies to Wrightson’s loved ones, we also remember the legacy he leaves behind.
Famed artist Bernie Wrightson has passed away after a prolonged battle with brain cancer. The news was announced overnight by his wife Liz via Facebook. In January Wrightson had announced his retirement due to complications from surgeries.
Wrightson is best known as the co-creator (with writer Len Wein) of DC’s Swamp Thing. Wrightson had a long involvement with DC’s horror titles and it is in that genre where he leaves his deepest legacy. Outside of comics, he is most renown for his contributions to an illustrated edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. In addition, he collaborated on several projects with author Stephen King.
Three decades ago a young writer and artist met in the offices of a telephone sales company. They were both novice talents in search of a way to break into the comic book medium. In this case, they were following up on reports that members of said phone firm were considering funding an “exciting” new anthology spotlighting fresh creators. As is often the case with such ventures, the anthology never panned out, but it did provide the opportunity for the writer and artist to have a chat. They decided they would like to work together, and, after a near miss or two, produced a graphic novel. First published 30 years ago, Violent Cases is the first collaboration between Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, whose partnership has evolved over the following decades into one of the most distinctive in the medium’s history. Few others creators have been as closely associated with the other as they have. That history began with a tale of childhood, gangsters and that ever elusive thing called memory.
During this evening’s Kids’ Choice Awards (?!?) DC dropped the final trailer for this summer’s Wonder Woman solo movie. Highlights include an extended glimpse of Paradise Island and Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor deadpan reactions to Diane’s heroics.
Directed by Patty Jenkins, the film features Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Lucy Davis, Robin Wright and, it seems, a variety of takes on what an Amazonian accent sounds like.
The Black Panther first appeared in a 1966 Fantastic Four two-parter (#52 & #53). Not long after that (1968) he joined the ranks of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Black Panther’s time with the Avengers raised his profile, yet, also largely ignored one of his most prominent features: being king of Wakanda. Other superheroes in the past had either been monarchs or had ties to them, most famously Princess Diane, daughter of the Queen of the Amazons. The overlap between Wakanda and Themyscira is intriguing, as they are both technologically advanced cultures created and maintained by minority populations. In his original Wonder Woman stories, William Moulton Marston used Paradise Island as an example for what human civilization could aspire to being, if only women were allowed to live to their full potential. Similarly the scientific glories of Wakanda represent what African minds can achieve when free from the bonds of oppression. Unlike Wonder Woman, this concept was dormant throughout T’Challa’s earliest adventures. His Avengers period kept him in New York, far removed from the tribal politics of his homeland. It was not until the Panther received his first solo stories that creators began tapping the full potential of Wakanda.