Sunday, June 7, 2009

Bernie Wrighson: Early DC Horror Comics

Bernie Wrightson got his first professional assignment at DC Comics on the strength of his story Uncle Bill's Barrel. This first assignment was Nightmaster, a comic about a rock star thrown into a sword and sorcery world. The early pages of the script were not well matched to Wrightson's talents. Bernie's narrative from A Look Back (p. 50): I took in the first seven penciled pages to DC Editor Carmine Infantino. He looks at them, lifts his chin and says, "Well, to be honest, they could be better. They could be a lot better."

After a conference with another DC editor, Infantino suggested Wrightson work on mystery fillers for Joe Orlando. The stories below are some of these fillers. According to Bernie "The only thing I can say about them was the jobs kept me alive."

Nevertheless, this early stories must have been a learning experience for the young comic book artist. Later on, under the editorship of Joe Orlando, Bernie would produce more polished stories for DC's House of Mystery and House of Secrets titles. His work at DC culminated in some finely rendered covers for DC's horror titles and his classic run on Swamp Thing in 1972-1974.

"Ball of String!" The Unexpected #116. December, 1969.

"The Hound of Night!" The Unexpected #121. October, 1970.

"The Man Who Murdered Himself!" House of Mystery #179. March, 1969.

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