Friday, October 25, 2013

Making a Splash: Bernie Wrightson's Swamp Thing

Greetings, Groove-ophiles! I could gush and rave and go on for hours about how wonderful Bernie Wrightson's Swamp Thing art is. I could talk about how the stars seemed to perfectly align to allow Bernie, writer Len Wein, and editor Joe Orlando to create such an iconic and, yes, near-perfect comicbook (Though, sadly, for a mere ten issues). I could wax nostalgic about how new and fresh, yet how pulpish Wrightson's work was and how that blend of old and new just grabbed my imagination and drew me into that mossy, sloggy world. But then again, I could shut up and let you see for yourself how achingly beautiful horror can be...


  1. I recently read the whole "Rot-World" saga, or most of it, anyway. Yikes. Apparently, much of storyline has been "ret-conned" out of existence, and now Anton Arcane is some kind of super-demon/elemental. So is his niece Abigail.
    While most of the art is great, the writing seems to come out of a guy who learned to write from reading comic books. Badly.

  2. Berni Wrightson sure knows how to set a mood. Love his artwork ! Swamp Thing #7, guest-starring Batman is one of my all-time favorite comics !!

  3. I dare say Wrightson's work on SWAMP THING was the > B E S T < comics art of the 1970s. Yes, there were some better draughtsmen (like Neal Adams, Nestor Redondo, etc.), but for sheer intensity of EXPRESSION, Wrightson's drawing here (and subsequently for Warren in 1974-75) was the greatest to be found in comics. Only Frazetta's work in 1950s comics (one of Wrightson's chief inspirations) comes to mind as evoking an even greater emotional response (and also being better drawn). Still, this work is very great. Apparently, the French reprints in black-and-white do the art even more justice. I won't be surprised at all if IDW doesn't do an oversized volume reprinting all then of these (and HOUSE OF SECRETS #92) if all of the original art (or stats) can be accessed. Amazing work!

    Chris A.

    1. Sorry, an unintentional double negative. I meant to say: I won't be surprised at all if IDW DOES do an oversized volume reprinting all of these.

      Nestor Redondo was a great artist as well, but he never really had a handle on the Swamp Thing character. His best issue was #12 where the time travel theme allowed him to draw a dinosaur, Roman gladiators, lions, medieval Europe, the Confederate South of the Civil War USA, and (then-) present day, but the RIMA, THE JUNGLE GIRL series is where he really got to shine, along with his work over Kubert's layouts on THE BIBLE treasury edition.

      As for Wrightson, I'd have to add the stories he did in BADTIME STORIES prior to SWAMP THING, along with his Warren (CREEPY and EERIE) stories as his best comics work---and the best of the '70s. I wish he didn't burn out in 1980 after his work on FRANKENSTEIN, but by his own admission he did.

      Chris A.

  4. By the way, Berni Wrightson just turned 65 yesterday (he was born on the 28th of October, 1948).



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