Sunday, December 4, 2011

Gahan Wilson (b. 1930)

Cartoonist, Illustrator, and Author
Born October 18, 1930, Evanston, Illinois

The last illustration in the last issue of Weird Tales (September 1954) was by Gahan Wilson, then just twenty-three and at the beginning of his long career as an artist of the macabre. Born blue and breathless, Allen Gahan Wilson was shocked into life by an alert physician. Raised an atheist by his Catholic mother, Wilson went to the Art Institute of Chicago as she would have liked to do. P.T. Barnum and William Jennings Bryan were relatives, helping to make his family an unusual milieu. It's no wonder that he draws weird, creepy, strange, and demented cartoons. What counts is that they're also funny.

Over the course of his career, Gahan Wilson has drawn cartoons for Playboy, The New Yorker, Collier's, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and National Lampoon. He has also authored and illustrated several books. Fantagraphics Books has recently published a number of collections of his work. Wilson is well known for his cartoons for Playboy. What is less well known is that Hugh Hefner, co-founder and editor-in-chief, was also a reader of Weird Tales.

Gahan Wilson's Illustrations in Weird Tales
"The Night" by Dorothy Quick (Sept. 1954)

Further Reading
See "Gahan Wilson and the Comedy of the Weird," an interview by Richard Gehr, in The Comics Journal on line, April 27, 2011, at:


See also the official Gahan Wilson website at http://www.gahanwilson.com/.

Text and captions copyright 2011 Terence E. Hanley

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