I’m always soliciting people for their own Top 10 Covers list. Part of my “sales pitch” is telling them how much fun it is! No joke, putting these Top 10 lists together is a blast! This week’s especially so. Bernie Wrightson has been my favorite artist since I first laid eyes on his work. Looking through the many, many comic covers he’s done over the years was pure joy. Let’s get to it.
note: I’ve limited my choices to covers which were originally drawn for the published comic. Bernie’s work is often recycled and work he’s done for other projects often times ends up as a comic cover later on. (That’s why you’ll not see any of his stunning Frankenstein work in this list)
#10 – Toe Tags #2. While many, if not most would say Bernie’s “peak” period was the early/mid 70’s, this cover from 2004 proves without a doubt the man still has it.
#9 – Batman: The Cult #1. Bernie Wrightson teamed up with writer Jim Starlin twice in 1988 and in both cases created really treasures. Batman: The Cult was the “prestige” project with it’s glossy card stock covers and high quality pages. This cover, while simple and only just showing us Batman clearly tells the potential buyer all they need to know about the series.
#8 – House of Secrets #103. Need I say anything?
#7 – The Weird #4. This is the other limited series Bernie did with writer Jim Starlin in 1988. As great as The Cult is, this is actually the better series. One of Jim Starlin’s best. (BTW…Jim Starln had yet a THIRD terrific limited series released in 1988 – Cosmic Odyssey. Quite a year for him!) I know this cover doesn’t scream “Top 10”, but I really love the composition and use of color. It’s not your “typical” Wrightson work and I love it.
#6 – House of Mystery #195. A classic example of how Bernie can make something horrific be beautiful. So much of his delicate work was lost in the published cover. Simply beautiful.
#5 – House of Mystery #231. THIS is classic Wrightson. When you think his name, images much like this come to mind. It’s a “typical” Wrightson cover and god damn is it good!
#4 – House of Mystery #236. I mentioned how Bernie can make the most horrific images beautiful. He also can give you the straight up horror. How this cover was approved by the Comics Code Authority is beyond me.
#3 – Weird Mystery Tales #21. No one, I mean NO ONE can draw a werewolf like Bernie can.
#2 – Gargoyle #1. I kept going back and forth on whether or not to include this cover in this list, as it already appeared in my own personal “Top 10 Covers” list. Ultimately I figured not including it would make this list rather lame. This painted cover is simply one of Bernie’s best covers ever.
#1 – Swamp Thing #9. Was there really any doubt what #1 would be? Much like Gargoyle #1, this cover was in my own personal “Top 10” list, but again it HAD to be in this list. This cover is the first example of Bernie’s work I ever saw. Having been burned in the past by amazing cover art on a book with sub-par interior art imagine my delight to find that the amazingly high quality art continued inside! I’d never seen a comic with artwork like this. This was “fine art” slumming in the world of comics! Bernie Wrightson is simply a master artist. We’re just lucky he happens to love comics as much as we do.
Soooo many other examples of Bernie’s work could easily have made this list. What are your favorites?