Bernard “Bernie" Wrightson (1948 – 2017) was an American comic book artist, best known as the co-creating the DC character Swamp Thing as well as for his lavishly illustrated adaptation of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. Wrightson was largely self-taught with the exception of a correspondence course from the Famous Artists School. In 1966, Wrightson took his first job as an illustrator for The Baltimore Sun newspaper. A chance encounter with legendary fantasy painter Frank Frazetta encouraged him to pursue a career in comics and in 1986 he showed copies of his art to DC Comics editor Dick Giordano and became a freelancer for the publisher working primarily on horror titles like House of Mystery and Weird Mystery Tales. Being a freelancer Wrightson also accepted jobs from Marvel as well and worked on their books Chamber of Darkness and Tower of Shadows.
In 1975, Wrightson accepted a full-time job at Warren Publishing to work on their horror comic anthology magazines Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella were he produced some of his absolute best work.
In the 1980s, Wrightson collaborated with such writers as Stephen King, George R. R. Martin, Harlan Ellison, and Edward Bryant as an illustrator for their novels and short stories. He was also hired as a concept artist for GHOSTBUSTERS (1984, Dir. Ivan Reitman) and later THE MIST (2007, Dir. Frank Darabont).
During his time Wrightson drew a fair number of dinosaurs, most notably this series of five prints for Lands of Enchantment in 1977. Being a horror artist Wrightson’s dinosaurs are naturally horrific. His Allosaurus and Plesiosaurus (which is, of course, not actually a dino) are particularly terrifying with their slathering jaws encased in ghoulish grins. However even Wrightson’s Diplodocus carries a certain degree of Lovecraftian malevolence appearing so impossibly big that one might think it was an island chain come to life.
Wrightson passed away earlier this year on March 18, 2017 after a long battle with brain cancer. Several artists, notably fellow Swamp Thing illustrator Stephen Bissett, have been auctioning off original artwork and other pieces of memorabilia to help Wrightson’s family with various expenses related to his passing. Interested individuals can find out more on Bissett’s Facebook page.