Gahan Wilson (2010)
February 8, 1930 |
Gahan Wilson (born February 8, 1930) is an American author, cartoonist and illustrator known for his cartoons depicting horror-fantasy situations.
Life and work
Wilson's cartoons and illustrations are drawn in a playfully grotesque style and have a dark humor that is often compared to the work of The New Yorker cartoonist and Addams Family creator Charles Addams. But while both feature vampires, cemeteries and other traditional horror elements in their work, Addams' cartoons are gothic, reserved and old-fashioned, while Wilson's work is more contemporary, gross and confrontational, featuring atomic mutants, subway monsters and serial killers. It could be argued that Addams' work was probably meant to be funny without a lot of satirical intent, while Wilson often has a very specific point to make.
Wilson was inspired by the irreverent work of the various satiric Mad and Punch cartoonists, as well as the science fiction monster films of the 1950s. His cartoons and prose fiction appeared regularly in Playboy, Collier's and The New Yorker for almost 50 years. In addition to his cartoons for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, he also wrote movie and book reviews for that publication. From 1992 through end of publication, he prepared all the front covers for the annual book Passport to World Band Radio. He has been a movie review columnist for The Twilight Zone Magazine and a book critic for Realms of Fantasy magazine.
His comic strip Nuts, which appeared in National Lampoon, was a reaction against what he saw as the saccharine view of childhood in strips like Peanuts. His hero, The Kid, sees the world as dark, dangerous and unfair—but also occasionally a fun place.
Wilson wrote and illustrated a short story for Harlan Ellison's anthology Again, Dangerous Visions (1972). The "title" is a black blob, and the story is about an ominous black blob that appears on the page, growing at an alarming rate. He has contributed short stories to other publications as well; "M1" and "The Zombie Butler" both appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and were reprinted in Gahan Wilson's Cracked Cosmos (1975).
Wilson created a computer game, Gahan Wilson's The Ultimate Haunted House, with Byron Preiss. The goal is to collect 13 keys in 13 hours from the 13 rooms of a house by interacting in various ways with characters (two-headed monster, mad scientist, vampiress), objects and the house itself.
In 2009, Fantagraphics Books released Gahan Wilson: 50 Years of Playboy Cartoons, a slipcased, three-volume collection of Wilson's cartoons and short stories for that magazine. A collection of his work, Fifty Years of Gahan Wilson, was published in 2010. Fantagraphics announced a "complete" edition of Nuts for the Spring of 2011.
In 2005, Wilson was recognized with Lifetime Achievement from the World Fantasy Awards. He received the World Fantasy Convention Award in 1981 and the National Cartoonists Society's Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.
Wilson is the subject of a feature-length documentary film, Gahan Wilson: Born Dead, Still Weird, directed by Steven-Charles Jaffe.
- Gahan Wilson's Graveside Manner (1965)
- The Man in the Cannibal Pot (1967)
- I Paint What I See (1971)
- Playboy's Gahan Wilson (i) (1973)
- Gahan Wilson's Cracked Cosmos (1975)
- The Weird World of Gahan Wilson (1975)
- And Then We'll Get Him! (1978)
- Nuts (strip collection) (1979)
- Playboy's Gahan Wilson (ii) (1980)
- Is Nothing Sacred? (1982) ISBN 978-0-312-43707-7
- Gahan Wilson's America (1985)
- Eddy Deco's Last Caper (1987)
- Everybody's Favorite Duck (1988)
- A Night in the Lonesome October (1993) (illustrated by Gahan Wilson; written by Roger Zelazny)
- Still Weird (1994)
- Even Weirder (1996)
- The Big Book of Freaks (1996)
- The Cleft and Other Odd Tales (1998) (stories and illustrations by Gahan Wilson)
- Gravediggers' Party (2002)
- Monster Party (2003)
- The Best of Gahan Wilson (2004)
- Pop Art (2007) (illustrated by Gahan Wilson; written by Joe Hill. 52 hard covers signed by Mr. Hill, limited edition lettered from A to Z. Rare.
- Gahan Wilson: 50 Years of Playboy Cartoons (2010) (slipcased three-volume set containing all of Wilson's cartoons for Playboy)
- Nuts: A Graphic Novel by Gahan Wilson (2011) (collects his entire Nuts comic strip, Fantagraphics)
- Gahan Wilson Sunday Comics (2013) (Publication Date: September 7, 2013)
- Matthew Looney series written by Jerome Beatty, Jr., illustrated by Gahan Wilson:
- Harry, the Fat Bear Spy (1973)
- Harry and the Sea Serpent (1976)
- The Bang Bang Family (1974)
- Spooky Stories for a Dark and Stormy Night (1994)
Books edited by Gahan Wilson
- Gahan Wilson's Favorite Tales of Horror (1976)
- The First World Fantasy Awards (1977)
Blabber, Blabber, Blabber
On page 13 of American cartoonist Lynda Barry's 2011 book, Blabber, Blabber, Blabber: Volume 1 of Everything, Barry lists Gahan Wilson as one of her early influences:
"By the time I graduated from high school I knew about bitter and sweet, but thanks to cartoonists like M.K. Brown, Gahan Wilson, and Ed Subitzky I also knew about weird and rare and hilarious ways of changing one into the other. These three cartoonists taught me to watch the people around me and listen to how they talk and to write down what they say. But I learned the most by copying their drawings, and these three were especially good teachers." 
- Gehr, Richard. The Comics Journal, April 27, 2011.
- World Fantasy Convention (2010). "Award Winners and Nominees". Retrieved 4 Feb 2011.
- Blabber, Blabber, Blabber: Volume 1 of Everything, Lynda Barry, 31 October 2011, page 13, Drawn and Quarterly Comics and Graphic Novels, ISBN 978-1-77046-052-2
- White, Dale Andrew (April 16, 2011). "Little, Wrinkled and Green": an interview with macabre cartoonist Gahan Wilson (ebook). Twin Rivers Press. ASIN B004WTUMGC.
- Wiater, Stanley. "Gahan Wilson: Overheard In Appreciation". In Boston, MA: The Lovecraft Society of New England (eds). NecronomiCon: The Cthulhu Mythos Convention Aug 20-22, 1993 (convention souvenir book), pp. 13-16.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gahan Wilson.|
- Official website
- Lambiek: Gahan Wilson
- Audio recording of Mr. Wilson as moderator and participant in panel discussion at the First World Fantasy Convention in 1975.