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In Memoriam and Celebration: Comic Artist Bernie Wrightson 

Bernie Wrightson at Calgary Comic Con 2012. Photo: Sergei (Creative Commons)

We’re sorry to report the passing of US comic artist Bernard Albert “Bernie” Wrightson, sometimes credited as Berni Wrightson, after a battle with brain cancer. The news was shared on his web site by his wife, Liz Wrightson.

He was 68.

He is perhaps best known for co-creating DC Comics  Swamp Thing with writer Len Wein, his Frankenstein illustration work, and for his other horror comics and illustrations, all featuring his trademark intricate pen and brush work.

Among the many tributes across the web to this much-loved comic creator was this reflection and celebration of his work and life by British comic creator and publisher Dave Elliot of AtomekArt, co-founder of Atomeka Press.

We are grateful to him for permission to re-publish his appreciation here on downthetubes.


I woke to my feed filled with beauty!

Wonderful black and white artwork for as far as the eye could see.

All of it from one of the greatest artists to influence the hearts and minds of millions.

Bernie Wrightson.


His talent touched us all directly, but his empathy and personally touched us through others.

A lot of people I knew were close person friends with Bernie. I wish I was one of them but never got to know him that well, but the limited time I did spend with him I took away the humor and warmth he generated even in the face of adversity.

His life reminded me of Frank Frazetta. A fantastic talent whose life was a struggle against illness, but refused to let that illness define them. Talking to him at a show, knowing he had recently been very ill and knowing that it would be only a matter of time before he would succumb again to illness, he was smiling and joking. His warmth contagious.

Bernie was one of the first artists I would buy a comic for just for the cover. Along with Barry Windsor Smith, Mike Kaluta, Jeff Jones, and Charles Vess, he would shape the later generations of artists to follow.

He will always be known as the Frankenstein artist, the Swamp Thing artist, but I equally loved the humor he displayed with his collaborations with Von Bode.

Bernie has passed away, but he hasn’t gone. He’s still with us. The warmth and friendship he had with others is being felt by all of us now. You felt it if you liked the Frankenstein pieces he did that didn’t have the creature in them.

Let’s continue to celebrate Bernie’s legacy. Make sure that the next generation knows who he is and what he gave us. His life and his soul.

• Bernie Wrightson, born 27th October 1948, died 18th March 2017

Official Site: berniewrightson.com

All art copyright respective creators or publishers

About John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative" who is currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 25 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary, including DEATH'S HEAD II and WARHEADS. At Marvel he wrote strips for THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS, THUNDERCATS, DOCTOR WHO and co-created SHADOW RIDERS with Brian Williamson and Ross Dearsley. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor. He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY. He has written comics for Marvel UK, Judge Dredd Megazine, Lucky Bag Comic, CGL (an Italian publisher), STRIP Magazine and ROK Comics; and edited some of Titan's British comics collections including Dan Dare and Charley's War. Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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