Monday, July 19, 2010

Groove's Faves: Bernie Wrightson's "The Muck Monster"

Hey, hey, hey, Groove-ophiles! Can you think of a better way to start a new workweek than with a bizarre-yet-beautiful Bernie Wrightson terror tale? Neither can Ol' Groove! This achingly beautiful piece is from Warren's legendary Comix International #2 (Fall 1975), reprinted from Eerie #68 (July 1975). Considering Bernie's main claim to fame at the time was his co-creation of DC's Swamp Thing, 'tis no wonder he would come up with a creature feature like..."The Muck Monster"! Dig it, baby!


  1. I always thought that page with the mountain was from Wrightson's FRANKENSTEIN. In fact...much of this looks as though it could be from FRANKENSTEIN. Maybe it wa from an early, unpublished version and was re-written at Warren to tie it vaguely to SWAMP THING?

  2. Bernie from COMIC BOOK ARTIST:

    CBA: Then you did "The Muck Monster." I was surprised to see it colored.

    Bernie: It wasn't supposed to be colored. Something happened that issue and whoever was supposed to be doing the color insert didn't deliver the work so they needed something at the last minute. They said, "Hey, can we use 'The Muck Monster'?" I said, "Well, it really wasn't meant to be colored." Then it was, "Please, please, please!" So I said, "Yeah."

    CBA: Did you supervise the coloring at all?

    Bernie: No.

    CBA: Were you happy with the results?

    Bernie: No. [laughs]

    CBA: Up to that time, this story was your definitive take on the Frankenstein monster.

    Bernie: It was almost like a dry run for me. I had Frankenstein in mind and I wanted to do it. I had an idea what I wanted the drawings to look like; and "The Muck Monster"—and a few other things I did for Warren—were the embryonic version of the penwork that finally showed up in Frankenstein.

    CBA: Setting the stage.

    Bernie: Exactly.

  3. Breath taking art & I love the coloring! I've never seen this before. Thanks so much for posting this groovy piece. I'm going to e-mail it onto Mike Ploog. To see what he has to say. I'd still love to see Mike Ploog & Bernie Wrightson work together.

    On a DC Swamp Thing vs Marvel's Man-Thing book. Or heck a Monster Mash book, with the classic monsters in a battle royal. Let's Get Ready To RRuummbblleee!!! Be Afraid! Be Very Afraid!

  4. gorgeous. one of my favourite Wrightson strips. I've been meaning to run the b&w version of this for ages. might have to dig it out, sooner rather than later.

  5. Great detective work, Booksteve! I'd forgotten all about the mention of this story in that CBA/Wrightson interview. Bernie sure loved Frankenstein and it showed every time he did a story like this.

    I see you found the b&w version, Joe! Sweet! Go to Joe's blog and look, Groove-ophiles!

  6. Strange that Wrightson didn't like the coloring on this. We loved it! It also seems to have a little influence on the legendary "Anatomy Lesson" where Swampy finds out he isn't really a man at all.

    Speaking of colors, we did prefer Wrightson's original colors of his Swamp Thing run. While we love Tatjana Wood's work on the series, comparing her color choice in the "Roots" reprints to Bernie's originals leaves something to be desired, even if the higher production standards make the art more crisp and clear.

  7. I still prefer the Steve Oliff-colored version, in BERNI WRIGHTSON: MASTER OF THE MACABRE 1, July 1983, when Wrightson's Warren material was reprinted by Pacific Comics. The first 3 issues were all beautifully colored by Oliff, issues 4 and 5 more functionally by several other colorists. To see "The Muck Monster" in its original-intended black and white, pick up CREEPY 113, an all-Wrightson reprint issue.



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Special thanks to Mike's Amazing World of Comics and Grand Comics Database for being such fantastic resources for covers, dates, creator info, etc. Thou art treasures true!

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