Bill Willingham

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bill Willingham
Willingham at the 2012 New York Comic Con
BornWilliam Willingham
1956 (age 66–67)
Fort Belvoir, Virginia, U.S.
Area(s)Writer, Penciller, Inker
Notable works

William Willingham (born 1956) is an American writer and artist of comics, known for his work on the series Elementals and Fables.


William Willingham was born in Fort Belvoir, Virginia.[1] During his father's military career the family also lived in Alaska, California, and finally three years in Germany.[2] Willingham got his start from the late 1970s to early 1980s as a staff artist for TSR, Inc., where he illustrated a number of their role-playing game products. He was the cover artist for the AD&D Player Character Record Sheets, Against the Giants, Secret of Bone Hill, the Gamma World book Legion of Gold, and provided the back cover for In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords. He was an interior artist on White Plume Mountain, Slave Pits of the Undercity, Ghost Tower of Inverness, Secret of the Slavers Stockade, Secret of Bone Hill, Palace of the Silver Princess, Isle of Dread, The Mansion of Mad Professor Ludlow,[3] Food Fight,[4] In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords, the original Fiend Folio, Descent into the Depths of the Earth, Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords, Against the Giants, Queen of the Spiders, Realms of Horror, and the second and third editions of the Top Secret role-playing game. He also wrote and illustrated a couple of 1982 adventures for the game Villains & Vigilantes for Fantasy Games Unlimited, Death Duel with the Destroyers and The Island of Doctor Apocalypse.[5] Willingham also produced the alien race design artwork for the original Master of Orion video game.[6]

He first gained attention for his 1980s comic book series Elementals published by Comico, which he both wrote and illustrated; this series featured the Destroyers characters from his Villains & Vigilantes adventures as guest-stars.[5] He contributed stories to Green Lantern and started his own independent, black-and-white comic book series Coventry which lasted only 3 issues.[7] He also produced the pornographic series Ironwood for Eros Comix.

In the late 1990s, Willingham produced the 13-issue Pantheon for Lone Star Press and wrote a pair of short novels about the modern adventures of the hero Beowulf, and a fantasy novel Down the Mysterly River published by the Austin, Texas writer's collective, Clockwork Storybook, of which Willingham was a founding member. In the early 2000s, he began writing for DC Comics, including the limited series Proposition Player, a pair of limited series about the Greek witch Thessaly from The Sandman, and the series Fables.[8] In 2003, Fables won the Will Eisner Comic Industry awards for best serialized story and best new series.[9]

He describes himself as "rabidly pro-Israel" and says that Fables "was intended from the beginning" as a metaphor for the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, although he argues that Fables is not "a political tract. It never will be, but at the same time, it's not going to shy away from the fact that there are characters who have real moral and ethical centers, and we're not going to apologize for it."[10]

Willingham worked on the Robin series from 2004 to 2006, and established Shadowpact, a title spun off his Day of Vengeance limited series. He also wrote Jack of Fables, an ongoing spin-off of his Fables series, co-written by Lilah Sturges.[11] At the 2007 Comic Con International, he announced that he would be writing Salvation Run, a mini-series about supervillains who are banished to an inhospitable prison planet.[12][13] He handed over the writing to Sturges after two issues because of illness.[14] He worked on DCU: Decisions, a four-issue mini-series that deals with Green Arrow's endorsement of a political candidate.[15] Again with Sturges, he began writing the Vertigo series House of Mystery,[16] and DC's Justice Society of America with issue #29.[17][18]

In 2009, Willingham agreed to write for Angel by IDW Publishing, initiated a new storyline titled "Immortality for Dummies".[19]

In late 2010 (with cover dates January–April 2011), Willingham wrote the four-issue mini-series Warriors Three for Marvel Comics, illustrated by Neil Edwards.[20]

At 2013 New York Comic Con it was announced that Willingham would be writing a seven-part mini series for Dynamite Entertainment (with art by Sergio Fernandez Davila).[21] The series is Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure and includes some of Dynamite's licensed and public domain characters in a steampunk setting. The series was released in January 2014, and a collected edition was published in January 2015.[22]


The issues listed include those where writing credits are for at least one story included in the issue.

Title Issue(s) Cover Dates Publisher
Justice Machine Annual #1 1983 Texas Comics
Elementals #1–23 1984 – March 1988 Comico
Justice Machine Featuring The Elementals #1–4 May–August 1986 Comico
Elementals Special #2 January 1989 Comico
Elementals vol. 2 #1–16
March 1989 – May 1991
June 1991 – March 1992
Morningstar Special #1 1990 Comico
Time Wankers #4–5 April–August 1991 Fantagraphics
Ironwood #1–11 1991 Fantagraphics, Eros Comix imprint
Elementals: Sex Special #1 1991 Comico
Elementals: Ghost of a Chance #1 December 1995 Comico
Elementals: The Vampire's Revenge #2 August 1996 Comico
Coventry #1–3 November 1996 – July 1997 Fantagraphics
Mythography #2, #4 February, June 1997 Bardic Press
Pantheon #1–13 May 1998 – August/September 1999 Lone Star Press
Pantheon: Ancient History #1 August/September 1999 Lone Star Press
Flinch #7 December 1999 DC Comics, Vertigo imprint
Proposition Player #1–6 December 1999 May 2000 DC Comics, Vertigo imprint
The Dreaming #55 December 2000 DC Comics, Vertigo imprint
The Sandman Presents: Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Dreams... But Were Afraid To Ask #1 July 2001 DC Comics, Vertigo imprint
The Sandman Presents: The Thessaliad #1–4 March–June 2002 DC Comics, Vertigo imprint
Fables #1–150 July 2002 – July 2015 DC Comics, Vertigo imprint
X-Men Unlimited #49 August 2003 Marvel Comics
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #168 August 2003 DC Comics
Robin vol. 2 #121–147 February 2004 – April 2006 DC Comics
The Sandman Presents: Thessaly: Witch for Hire #1–4 April–July 2004 DC Comics, Vertigo imprint
Batman Vol. 1 #631–633, #643–644 October–December 2004, Early–Late October 2005 DC Comics
Day of Vengeance #1–6 June–November 2005 DC Comics
Day of Vengeance: Infinite Crisis Special #1 March 2006 DC Comics
Shadowpact #1–16 July 2006 – 2007 DC Comics
Jack of Fables #1–50 September 2006 – March 2011 DC Comics, Vertigo imprint
Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall 2006 DC Comics, Vertigo imprint
DCU Infinite Holiday Special #1 February 2007 DC Comics
Peter and Max: A Fables Novel 2009 DC Comics, Vertigo imprint
Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #29–40 2009–2010 DC Comics
Angel: Immortality for Dummies #28–32 2010 IDW Publishing
Warriors Three #1–4 January–April 2011 Marvel Comics
Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure #1–7 2014 Dynamite Entertainment
Lark's Killer #1–10 2017–2018 1First Comics


  1. ^ "Bill Willingham". Lambiek Comiclopedia. Archived from the original on October 15, 2012.
  2. ^ Bill Willingham. "About". Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
  3. ^ "Dragon Magazine #42" (PDF). Dragon.
  4. ^ "Dragon Magazine #44" (PDF). Dragon.
  5. ^ a b Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. p. 75. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
  6. ^ Master of Orion Developer Diaries #2. YouTube. September 10, 2015. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021.
  7. ^ Robinson, Tasha (August 6, 2007). "Bill Willingham". The A.V. Club. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  8. ^ Irvine, Alex (2008), "Fables", in Dougall, Alastair (ed.), The Vertigo Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, pp. 72–81, ISBN 978-0-7566-4122-1, OCLC 213309015
  9. ^ Willingham, Bill 1956–. Contemporary Authors. January 1, 2005. Archived from the original on June 10, 2014. Retrieved June 29, 2013. – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  10. ^ Deppey, Dirk (September 18, 2006). "Bill Willingham (excerpts)". Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved July 31, 2007.
  11. ^ Irvine, Alex (2008), "Jack of Fables", in Dougall, Alastair (ed.), The Vertigo Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, pp. 100–101, ISBN 978-0-7566-4122-1, OCLC 213309015
  12. ^ "SDCC '07: Bill Willingham on Salvation Run". Archived from the original on September 29, 2007.. Newsarama. July 27, 2007
  13. ^ "Baltimore Comic Con '07 – DC Universe Panel". Archived from the original on May 12, 2008.. Newsarama. September 9, 2007
  14. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Willingham Explains 'Salvation Run' Departure". Comic Book Resources. January 28, 2008
  15. ^ "Dan Didio on DCU: Decisions". Archived from the original on May 14, 2008.. Newsarama. May 9, 2008
  16. ^ "Sturges & Willingham on the New House of Mystery". Newsarama. February 20, 2008. Archived from the original on December 16, 2009.
  17. ^ "Talking JSA With Willingham & Sturges". Comic Book Resources. January 19, 2009
  18. ^ Willingham and Sturges Talk Justice Society of America. Newsarama. December 26, 2008
  19. ^ Bill Willingham Talks About Angel & Fables[permanent dead link],, October 7, 2009
  20. ^ Rogers, Vaneta (November 3, 2010). "BILL WILLINGHAM Explores Marvel Mythology in WARRIORS THREE". Newsarama. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
  21. ^ Sunu, Steve (October 9, 2013). "NYCC EXCLUSIVE: Willingham Unites Heroes in "Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure"". Comic Book Resources.
  22. ^ Willingham, Bill (2015). Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure. Mt. Laurel, NJ: Dynamite Entertainment. ISBN 9781606905944.


External links[edit]

Preceded by
Jon Lewis
Robin writer
Succeeded by
Preceded by Batman writer
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Shadowpact writer
Succeeded by
Preceded by Justice Society of America writer
Succeeded by