Web of Horror!
October 24, 2008 3:44 PM   Subscribe

Oh boy. Thanks for the post.

I remember when Web of Horror was really hard to find in the pre-internet days (early to mid-1980's). It was $12 to $20 back then, when you could find ot. It seems to be relatively easy to find nowadays and I think they can be had for around $20 (slabbed and graded I'm sure it's a lot more, but fuck it, I read these things.) There was supposed to be a fourth issue, but the publisher ran off with their artwork. A fanzine called Scream Door (self-link to cover) had on the inside (sorry no scan) a mockup of Berni's cover for that issue and a Michael Kaluta story that I believe was also intended for that issue.

I've enjoyed Berni's work for a long time. I probably have 90% of his published work from when he first started up until the late 1980's early 1990's. Plus I got some original art. I corresponded with him for a little while, we mostly talked about horror movies and swapped a few videotapes. I think that's why he wrote me back, we really didn't talk about his work much. I still treasure those letters. I got in good with a guy who ended up interviewing him for a fanzine and he went up to his place a bunch of times. He used to send me photocopies of all kinds of unpublished stuff. Those were fun days.

I got to meet Berni once at a con in Greensboro NC probably around 1990 or 1991. The night before the con some of us gathered in a room off the lobby of the hotel. Berni, Murphy Anderson, Scott Hampton and Brian Bolland were all there. Bolland had a portfolio of the originals of a bunch of his DC covers, everybody was drooling over them. I had the original art to a late 1960's Wrightson House of Mystery story. Everybody loved it but Berni was embarrassed.

Berni's best? Probably his stuff for Warren: Creepy and Eerie. Scroll down for a look at Jenifer, one his best stories. Also the first four or five Swamp Things and the stronger Frankenstein plates. Something about his late 1960's early 1970's DC stuff just grabs me though. You can see a real youthful exuberance and a kind of joy like "I can't believe they're paying me to do this!"

I could go on, and probably will later. Some more Wrightson goodness I uploaded to Flickr awhile back here and here.

A few weeks back I went through my collection of fanzines and scanned a bunch of them, I had a blast looking at all that stuff again.
posted by marxchivist at 4:22 PM on October 24, 2008 [2 favorites]

Berni's best? Probably his stuff for Warren: Creepy and Eerie. Scroll down for a look at Jenifer, one his best stories.

Oh, dude, you are totally my hero for that. I've been wanting to see that story in its glorious original black and white for ages. I have the Pacific/Eclipse Master of the Macabre mini from the early '80s that reprints a lot of Wrightson's early horror, but sadly all of it is in well-after-the-fact color (which I'm sure must have thrilled him to no end). Thank you; thank you. And hey: I guess it's "Berni" and not "Bernie," then? I've never been sure...
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:38 PM on October 24, 2008

I think it's Bernie now. It was Berni back when I first discovered his stuff.
posted by marxchivist at 4:45 PM on October 24, 2008

There's some pretty high res images from Bernie Wrightsons black and white Frankenstein as desktops on the Dark Horse site - they're great images, very striking with an amazing level of detail.
posted by Artw at 4:49 PM on October 24, 2008

It's a very comicsy week, isn't it?
posted by Artw at 4:55 PM on October 24, 2008

It kinda seems like it, not that there's anything wrong with that. I'm getting a little exhausted by all the political stuff, you know?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:05 PM on October 24, 2008

Well, looks like it is just the three of us for now.

Some very early Wrightson stuff here.

A wonderful sample page Berni did for DC's The Shadow. It ended up being used as an ad in a few comics, Kamandi #2 was one of them I believe.

Michael Kaluta talks about Berni Wrightson.

Can anyone draw a better stack of books than Berni Wrightson?

I've been enjoying the political stuff, but it is getting difficult to keep up with. This is refreshing.
posted by marxchivist at 5:39 PM on October 24, 2008

Oh, I forgot one. Berni Wrightson's Ultimate Frankenstein. Wonder whatever happened to that? Last update on the site is 2005. I would've paid some serious $$ for that.

Anyone get the Dark Horse edition? Is it appreciably better than the original Marvel edition?
posted by marxchivist at 5:41 PM on October 24, 2008

Jeff Jones early Sword and Sorcery stuff all looks like bad Frazetta, presumably because that's what those buying his stuff demanded. Anyway, the bio linked above shows enough of his other work to demonstrate that he was a talent in his own right. To me, he looks more from the Barry Windsor-Smith school of romanticism, after Barry dumped Conan for opera. Anyway, not mentioned in the bio is that Jeff got a sex-change in the 90s, something that allowed him to speak authoritatively on the lack of difference between male and female artists.
posted by CCBC at 5:42 PM on October 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

Jeff Jones early Sword and Sorcery stuff all looks like bad Frazetta

I don't know if I'd say "bad Frazetta." Frazetta was obviously an influence but even early on it looks like Jones was going for something quieter and more contemplative. Definitely more impressionistic. He never seemed to me to have the in your face "I'm a barbarian yaarghh!!" sense of Frazetta. That's how I see it anyway. He really did go on and develop his own unique artistic vision.

I remember hearing about the sex change. I bet that puts a whole different spin on those perpetually pregnant girl strips he did for...National Lampoon I think it was.
posted by marxchivist at 5:50 PM on October 24, 2008

It looks like the Dark Horse version of the Wrightson Frankenstein is still forthcoming -- which is cool, because I didn't even know about it, and I'd love to have a copy. (Somewhere back home in Cleveland I have an old withdrawn library book version that was falling apart from multiple readings before I even got it, hence my psychedness for a new one.)

The Jeff Jones sex change story is kinda like...wow. I had no idea until I looked up the Wikipedia link on her for the FPP. I haven't had a chance tonight to more than skim it, but an interview from '04 about Jones's work and life to that point can be found here.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:27 PM on October 24, 2008

(Uh, which is actually the same link CCBC posted, I now see. Oops.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:32 PM on October 24, 2008

marxchivist: I'd say the cover to the linked comic is bad Frazetta. I think both the human figures are swipes from Frank F. and the snakes/tentacles are Bad. That's what I'm talking about. But, it should be noted, at the same time Jones was doing quite interesting work for paperback covers that weren't S&S. (In fact, looking at some Jones links, I found a few on my shelves that I had liked but hadn't realized were from Jones.)
posted by CCBC at 4:10 AM on October 25, 2008

BTW, not to derail or anything (maybe this deserves its own post) but Jones' Idyll in National Lampoon and I'm Age in Heavy Metal are okay (somebody compared Idyll to Seinfeld = "There's nothing going on." or whatever that formula was.) But Jones herself has mentioned this strip, "I Bled the Sea" as a favorite.
posted by CCBC at 4:20 AM on October 25, 2008

Yeah CCBC, I'll concede on the WOH cover presented here. It is one of Jones' more derivative pieces. Wrightson started out as a bad (his very early paintings and wash drawings) Frazetta imitator and a fairly decent Frazetta imitator (his 1970-72 brush work) too. I'm glad Frazetta was around to inspire these guys, about a third of the way down this page Kaluta tells the story of their first meeting with Frazetta.
posted by marxchivist at 10:42 AM on October 25, 2008

Cover rough for never-released Web of Horror #4.
posted by marxchivist at 1:32 PM on October 25, 2008

Thanks, marxchivist, that was a good interview. Interesting the way that Frazetta discovered that he had been discovered.
posted by CCBC at 1:51 PM on October 25, 2008

Wow, this is a mind-blowing post and thread, thanks so much everybody.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:21 PM on October 25, 2008

A Ralph Reed strip? Really??

(No, Ralph Reese.)
posted by asusu at 11:34 PM on October 25, 2008

Oh, dude. I can't believe I did that. I can't believe no one else caught that!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:57 PM on October 26, 2008

Look, as long as everyone else is sick of politics and economics and the coming apocalypse, well, let's just keep going, shall we? Ralph Reese is a guy whose work I always admired. It was like he had some of the best parts of both Wally Wood and John Severin (yes) grafted onto his hand. His people have Severin-like distinguishability and his general approach is Wood. Plus, his drawing has texture. Always.
Anyway, I couldn't find on-line the story for (I think) NatLamp about love and cockroaches -- which is a classic -- but I did find "The Day After the Martians Landed" [Beware: soundtrack on this link, but if you scroll just past the subject matter, you can turn the damned thing off] which I was prepared to scan for all you drooling fans. A little back story: Long, long ago, when Marvel was convinced they were cool and not just another corporate publishing pig, they put out a few really interesting comics. Worlds Unknown was a conscious attempt to revive the old EC great SF comics. "Day After" is based on a Frederik Pohl story written for Harlan Ellison's Dangerous Visions. Cool, right? Worlds Unknown had three good issues, then collapsed into formula. Another day, we'll discuss Marvel's Comix Book which printed Underground-type stuff. Oink!
Next up (from the same site, see warning above) is a Reese adaptation of one of Robert Howard's Solomon Kane stories done for the Warren Publishing Company. In its heyday, Warren never had to pretend to be cool.
posted by CCBC at 1:19 AM on October 27, 2008

Jeez. Talk about not being cool! At least I could've cleaned the Googlgism out of that first link.
posted by CCBC at 1:24 AM on October 27, 2008

Yeah, Ralph Reese. I never thought of him much but whenever I ran across something by him I was always like "Oh yeah, he's good, I'll read this." I bought the two-issue series Reese's Pieces back in 1985. I might even still have it.

Thanks for pointing out the Martian story, that was good.
posted by marxchivist at 6:05 AM on October 27, 2008

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