Comics legend Bernie Wrightson passed away this weekend. His impact on the comic book world and horror comics cannot be overstated. Anyone growing up reading comics and especially things like the old Warren comics will be familiar with his work. He was co-creator of Swamp Thing for DC along with writer Len Wein and had a long award-winning career.
In 1975 Wrightson was a co-founder of the studio with artists Jeff Jones, Michael Kaluta and Barry Windsor-Smith. Wrightson worked outside of the comics industry too, producing posters and calendars, working as a concept artist for films like The Thing, Cycle of the Werewolf, and The Mist and illustrating books and album covers.
One of his crowning achievements was a graphic novel version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Wrightson spent seven years creating the fifty pen and ink images for the book. Wrightson’s work on the project is reminiscent of other pen and ink greats of the early 20th century like Franklin Booth and Joseph Clement Coll.
Wrightson was one of those artists that helped kindle my early love of art. The work he and the other artists of the Studio did for comics was always a cut above their contemporaries. He will be missed.
William Bliss Baker was born in New York City in 1859. At 17 he began studying at the National Academy of Design with Albert Bierstadt and Mauritz De Haas. Baker showed ability from the beginning of his studies and quickly became known to art critics. Baker won the Elliott prize during his first exhibit in 1879 at the academy and in 1885 Baker won the Julius Hallgarten Prize at the Academy for his painting Woodland Brook.
Baker built a studio named ‘The Castle’ in Clifton Park on Ballston Lake and also maintained a studio in the Knickerbocker building in New York City. Baker was just beginning his career when he died from complications following a skating accident. In his short time working he completed just over 130 paintings before his death in 1886 at the age of 27.
Bakers work shows a maturity and confidence for someone so young. His vision is fully formed and his statements carry authenticity and reverence for his subjects.
I couldn't find any books on WBB (Information for this bio came from Wikipedia and Quest Royal Galleries and other online sources)
Credit: Historic photo of ‘The Castle’ from John Scherer from an article in the Daily Gazettte by Bill Buel