Gahan Wilson

Gahan Wilson (born February 18, 1930) is an American author, cartoonist and illustrator known for his cartoons depicting horror-fantasy situations.

Wilson was born in Evanston, Illinois. He was married to author Nancy Winters (née Nancy Dee Midyette) from 1966[2] until her death in 2019.[3]

Gahan Wilson
Gahan Wilson 01
Gahan Wilson in 2010
BornFebruary 18, 1930 (age 89)
Known forCartoonist
Nancy Winters (née Nancy Dee Midyette) (m. 1966)


Wilson's cartoons and illustrations are drawn in a playfully grotesque style and have a dark humor that is often compared to the work of The New Yorker cartoonist and Addams Family creator Charles Addams. But while both feature vampires, cemeteries and other traditional horror elements in their work, Addams' cartoons are gothic, reserved and old-fashioned, while Wilson's work is more contemporary, gross, and confrontational, featuring atomic mutants, subway monsters and serial killers. Addams' work often appears to be funny without significant satirical intent, while Wilson often has a very specific point to make.

Wilson was inspired by the irreverent work of the various satiric Mad and Punch cartoonists, as well as the science fiction monster films of the 1950s. His cartoons and prose fiction appeared regularly in Playboy, Collier's and The New Yorker for almost 50 years. In addition to his cartoons for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, he also wrote movie and book reviews for that publication. From 1992 through end of publication, he prepared all the front covers for the annual book Passport to World Band Radio. He has been a movie review columnist for The Twilight Zone Magazine and a book critic for Realms of Fantasy magazine.

His comic strip Nuts, which appeared in National Lampoon, was a reaction against what he saw as the saccharine view of childhood in strips like Peanuts. His hero, The Kid, sees the world as dark, dangerous and unfair—but also occasionally a fun place.

Wilson wrote and illustrated a short story for Harlan Ellison's anthology Again, Dangerous Visions (1972). The "title" is a black blob, and the story is about an ominous black blob that appears on the page, growing at an alarming rate. He has contributed short stories to other publications as well; "M1" and "The Zombie Butler" both appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and were reprinted in Gahan Wilson's Cracked Cosmos (1975).

Wilson created a computer game, Gahan Wilson's The Ultimate Haunted House, with Byron Preiss. The goal is to collect 13 keys in 13 hours from the 13 rooms of a house by interacting in various ways with characters (for example, a two-headed monster, a mad scientist, and a vampiress), objects, and the house itself.

Wilson wrote the 1992 animated short Diner.[4]

In 2009, Fantagraphics Books released Gahan Wilson: 50 Years of Playboy Cartoons, a slipcased, three-volume collection of Wilson's cartoons and short stories for that magazine. A collection of his work, Fifty Years of Gahan Wilson, was published in 2010. Fantagraphics announced a "complete" edition of Nuts in the spring of 2011.

In 2019, his stepson announced that Wilson was suffering from advanced dementia.[3]


In 2005, Wilson was recognized with Lifetime Achievement from the World Fantasy Awards.[5] He received the World Fantasy Convention Award (in the form of the bust of H. P. Lovecraft that he had designed as the award trophy in 1975) in 1981. He also received the National Cartoonists Society's Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.

Wilson is the subject of a feature-length documentary film, Gahan Wilson: Born Dead, Still Weird, directed by Steven-Charles Jaffe.

He was an influence on later alternative cartoonists, including Gary Larson, John Callahan and Bill Plympton.


  • Gahan Wilson's Graveside Manner (1965)
  • The Man in the Cannibal Pot (1967)
  • I Paint What I See (1971)
  • Playboy's Gahan Wilson (i) (1973)
  • Gahan Wilson's Cracked Cosmos (1975)
  • The Weird World of Gahan Wilson (1975)
  • And Then We'll Get Him! (1978)
  • Nuts (strip collection) (1979)
  • Playboy's Gahan Wilson (ii) (1980)
  • Is Nothing Sacred? (1982) ISBN 978-0-312-43707-7
  • Gahan Wilson's America (1985)
  • Eddy Deco's Last Caper (1987)
  • Everybody's Favorite Duck (1988)
  • A Night in the Lonesome October (1993) (illustrated by Gahan Wilson; written by Roger Zelazny)
  • Still Weird (1994)
  • The Big Book of Weirdos (1995)
  • Even Weirder (1996)
  • The Big Book of Freaks (1996)
  • The Cleft and Other Odd Tales (1998) (stories and illustrations by Gahan Wilson)
  • Gravediggers' Party (2002)
  • Monster Party (2003)
  • The Best of Gahan Wilson (2004)
  • Pop Art (2007) (illustrated by Gahan Wilson; written by Joe Hill. 52 hard covers signed by Mr. Hill, limited edition lettered from A to Z. Rare.)
  • Gahan Wilson: 50 Years of Playboy Cartoons (2010) (slipcased three-volume set containing all of Wilson's cartoons for Playboy)
  • Nuts: A Graphic Novel by Gahan Wilson (2011) (collects his entire Nuts comic strip, Fantagraphics)
  • Gahan Wilson Sunday Comics (2013) (Publication Date: September 7, 2013)
  • Gahan Wilson's Out There (2016) (collects material 1964–1981 from Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction)

Children's fantasy

Books edited by Gahan Wilson

See also


  1. ^ Blabber, Blabber, Blabber: Volume 1 of Everything, Lynda Barry, 31 October 2011, page 13, Drawn and Quarterly, ISBN 978-1-77046-052-2
  2. ^ Gehr, Richard. The Comics Journal, April 27, 2011. Archived July 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b Gahan Wilson is Suffering from Advanced Dementia, by D.D. Degg, at The Daily Cartoonist; published March 3, 2019; retrieved March 3, 2019
  4. ^ "Gahan Wilson's Diner". 31 July 1992. Archived from the original on 9 February 2017. Retrieved 26 April 2018 – via
  5. ^ World Fantasy Convention (2010). "Award Winners and Nominees". Archived from the original on 2010-12-01. Retrieved 4 Feb 2011.


Some bibliographical information derived from The Encyclopedia of Fantasy ed. John Clute and John Grant.

Further reading

  • White, Dale Andrew (April 16, 2011). "Little, Wrinkled and Green": an interview with macabre cartoonist Gahan Wilson (ebook). Twin Rivers Press. ASIN B004WTUMGC.
  • Wiater, Stanley. "Gahan Wilson: Overheard In Appreciation". In Boston, MA: The Lovecraft Society of New England (eds). NecronomiCon: The Cthulhu Mythos Convention Aug 20–22, 1993 (convention souvenir book), pp. 13–16.

External links

A Night in the Lonesome October

A Night in the Lonesome October is a novel by American writer Roger Zelazny published in 1993, near the end of his life. It was his last book, and one of his five personal favorites.The book is divided in 32 chapters, each representing one "night" in the month of October (plus one "introductory" chapter). The story is told in the first-person, akin to journal entries. Throughout, 33 full-page illustrations by Gahan Wilson (one per chapter, plus one on the inside back cover) punctuate a tale heavily influenced by H. P. Lovecraft. The title is a line from Edgar Allan Poe's "Ulalume" and Zelazny thanks him as well as others – Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Bloch and Albert Payson Terhune – whose most famous characters appear in the book.

A Night in the Lonesome October was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1994.

A similar theme of conflict surrounding the opening of a gate to another world exists in Zelazny's novel Madwand.

A Walking Tour of the Shambles

A Walking Tour of the Shambles (Little Walks For Sightseers #16) (2002), written by Neil Gaiman and Gene Wolfe, is a novel in the form of a tour guide concerning a fictional part of Chicago called 'The Shambles'. It guides the reader through such non-existent landmarks as The House of Clocks (see the official website), Cereal House (home of the Terribly Strange Bed), and Gavagan's Irish Saloon. A collaboration between Neil Gaiman and Gene Wolfe (cover by Gahan Wilson, with interior illustrations by Randy Broecker and Earl Geier), it was published with two different covers by the American Fantasy Press (one crediting "Gaiman and Wolfe", the other crediting "Wolfe and Gaiman".

Although Chicago doesn't have a Shambles, Philadelphia, for instance, does.

Crypt of Cthulhu

Crypt of Cthulhu is an American fanzine devoted to the writings of H. P. Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos. It was published as part of the Esoteric Order of Dagon amateur press association for a short time, and was formally established in 1981 by Robert M. Price, who edited it throughout its subsequent run.

Described by its editor as "a bizarre miscegenation; half Lovecraft Studies rip-off, half humor magazine, a 'pulp thriller and theological journal,'" it was a great deal more than that. Lovecraft scholarship was always a mainstay, with articles contributed by Steve Behrends, Edward P. Berglund, Peter Cannon, Stefan Dziemianowicz, S. T. Joshi, Robert A. W. Lowndes, Dirk W. Mosig, Will Murray, Darrell Schweitzer, Colin Wilson and Price himself. However the magazine published stories and poems too: resurrected, newly discovered, or in a few cases newly written, by Lovecraft and other such Weird Tales veterans as R. H. Barlow, Robert Bloch, Hugh B. Cave, August Derleth, C. M. Eddy, Jr., Robert E. Howard, Carl Jacobi, Henry Kuttner, Frank Belknap Long, E. Hoffmann Price, Duane W. Rimel, Richard F. Searight, Clark Ashton Smith and Wilfred Blanch Talman. It also had stories and poems by newer writers paying tribute to the old, including Ramsey Campbell, Lin Carter, John Glasby, C. J. Henderson, T. E. D. Klein, Thomas Ligotti, Brian Lumley, Gary Myers and Richard L. Tierney. Several issues were devoted to showcasing one or another of such authors. Its contents were illustrated by such artists of the fantastic as Thomas Brown, Jason C. Eckhardt, Stephen E. Fabian, D. L. Hutchinson, Robert H. Knox, Allen Koszowski, Gavin O'Keefe and Gahan Wilson. Its reviews covered genre books, films and games.

The magazine's run initial run encompassed 107 issues over a span of 20 years. The first 75 issues (dated Hallowmas 1981 through Michaelmas 1990), were published by Price under his own Cryptic Publications imprint. The next 26 issues, (dated Hallowmas 1990 through Eastertide 1999 and numbered 76 through 101) were published by Necronomicon Press. The last 6 issues, (dated Lammas 1999 through Eastertide 2001 and numbered 102 through 107), were published by Mythos Books. The magazine was inactive after 2001; however, Necronomicon Press revived it in 2017 with issue 108 (dated Hallomas 2017).

Dinosaur Tales

Dinosaur Tales is a 1983 short story collection by Ray Bradbury. Several of the stories are original to this collection. Other stories were first published in Collier's and The Saturday Evening Post magazines. The collection contains over 60 pages of illustrations by Gahan Wilson, William Stout, Steranko, Moebius, Overton Loyd, Kenneth Smith and David Wiesner.

Hour of the Wolf (radio show)

Hour of the Wolf is a long-running radio program devoted to speculative fiction. Named after an Ingmar Bergman film of the same title, the program was originally hosted and produced by Margot Adler in 1972. Since 1974 it has been hosted by Jim Freund on WBAI in New York.Freund's guests on the show have included speculative fiction writers such as Douglas Adams, Isaac Asimov, Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C Clarke, Lester Del Rey, Samuel R. Delany, Thomas M. Disch, Joe Haldeman, Frank Herbert, Christopher Lee, Ursula K. Le Guin, Frederik Pohl, Baird Searles, Norman Spinrad, Kurt Vonnegut, Gahan Wilson, Roger Zelazny, and many others.The program ended its 38-year run in the Saturday 5-7 AM time slot on the morning of November 13, 2010, with Adler joining Freund for the occasion. In early December 2010 the show began a new run on early Thursday mornings from 1:30 - 3:00 AM. In February 2017 the slot was extended to run from 1:-3: AM, returning its duration to two hours.

Matthew Looney

Matthew Looney is the title character in a series of four science fiction books for children by Jerome Beatty Jr (1916—2002). Matthew's sister Maria Looney is the title character in Beatty's three subsequent books. The entire Looney series is illustrated by the renowned cartoonist Gahan Wilson.

National Lampoon Comics

National Lampoon Comics was an American book, an anthology of comics; it was published in 1974 in paperback. Although it is to all appearances a book, it was apparently considered to be a special edition of National Lampoon magazine. (The book is described on the first page as being "Vol I, No. 7 in a series of special editions published three times a year".)

The anthology contained material that had been published in the magazine from 1970 to 1974. There is a 13-page Mad magazine parody, various photo funnies (fumetti) and many comics from the "Funny Pages" section of the magazine, including artwork by Charles Rodrigues, Vaughn Bodé, Shary Flenniken, Jeff Jones, Gahan Wilson, M. K. Brown, Randy Enos, Bobby London, Ed Subitzky. Stan Mack and Joe Orlando.

National Lampoon Songbook

National Lampoon Songbook was an American humorous songbook which was issued in 1976. Although it appears to be a book in its own right, it was a "special issue" of National Lampoon magazine and as such it was only sold on newsstands. People who had a subscription to the magazine would still have to buy these special issues; they were not included in the subscription.

Many of the songs in the songbook were from the musical stage show, Lemmings. A few other songs, including the whole musical "Moby!" were from The National Lampoon Radio Hour. Other songs were from the album Goodbye Pop. There were also some visual print pieces (illustrations and photographs) included. The first piece in the songbook is Deteriorata, which was on the album Radio Dinner. The musical arrangements were by Dan Fox.

The songbook was edited by Sean Kelly. The cover illustrations was a drawing showing a number of musicians on stage and a row of the audience. The drawing was a group effort by cartoonists Randall Enos, Gahan Wilson, Bobby London, Jeff Jones, Shary Fleniken and Charles Rodrigues. The songbook was designed by the design studio Pellegrini, Kaestle & Gross, Inc.

National Lampoon The 199th Birthday Book

National Lampoon The 199th Birthday Book: A Tribute to the United States of America, 1776–1975 was an American humor book that was issued in 1975 in paperback. Although it appears to be a regular book, it was a "special issue" of National Lampoon magazine, and therefore was sold on newsstands rather than in bookstores. The book was a collection of new material and was not an anthology of already published material.

The "199th Birthday" of the title is a reference to the fact that in 1976 the United States celebrated its 200th birthday, (the Bicentennial), thus in 1975 when this book was published the United States was 199 years old. The cover art was photographed by Arky & Barrett was conceived and art-directed by Michael C. Gross. It shows a row of four naked female models whose skin has been colored with bodypaint so they resemble the "Betsy Ross flag" with a star for the first American states, previously the Thirteen Colonies. The three naked models on the left wear dark wigs and the one on the right has a red wig, so that even their hair reflects the pattern of the flag.

The editor of the book was Tony Hendra. Contributors included Doug Kenney, P.J. O'Rourke, Michael O'Donoghue, Frank Frazetta, Sam Gross, Bobby London, Gahan Wilson, Jeff Jones, George Evans, and the illustrator Noel Sickles.

National Lampoon The Best of No. 4

National Lampoon The Best of #4 was an American humor book that was first published in 1972. The book was a "special issue" of National Lampoon magazine, so it was sold on newsstands, however it was put out in addition to the regular issues of the magazine.

The book is a "best-of", an anthology, a compilation of pieces that had already been published in the magazine, pieces that had been created by the National Lampoon's regular contributors. It includes pieces by Brian McConnachie, Gerald Sussman, Michael O'Donoghue, Henry Beard, Tony Hendra, Ron Barrett, Gahan Wilson, Doug Kenney, Sean Kelly, Christopher Cerf, Michel Choquette, Chris Miller, M. K. Brown, Rodrigues, and Edward Gorey.

Spooky Stories for a Dark and Stormy Night

Spooky Stories for a Dark and Stormy Night is a children's horror anthology compiled by Alice Low and illustrated by Gahan Wilson. It was published in 1994, and contains nineteen stories by various authors. A majority of the collection is based on retelling folktales from around the world, but some are completely original, such as "Duffy's Jacket" and "Good-bye, Miss Patterson."

The Best of National Lampoon No. 3

The Best of National Lampoon #3 was an American humor book that was published in 1973. The book was an anthology which was "special issue" of National Lampoon magazine, so it was sold on newsstands, but was put out in addition to the regular issues of the magazine. The book is a "best-of", a compilation of pieces that had already been published in the magazine, pieces that had been created by regular contributors to National Lampoon. The pieces were from various 1971 and 1972 (monthly) issues of the magazine.

The comic book artist Neil Adams drew the cover illustration. Written pieces were by Chris Miller, Gerry Sussman, Michel Choquette, Henry Beard, Sean Kelly, Brian McConnachie, Doug Kenney and many other regular contributors to the magazine. There was artwork by Edward Gorey, Bruce McCall, Rick Meyerowitz, and Gahan Wilson.

The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions

The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions is a collection of stories revised or ghostwritten by American author H. P. Lovecraft. It was originally published in 1970 by Arkham House in an edition of 4,058 copies. The dustjacket of the first edition features art by Gahan Wilson.

The collection was revised in 1989 by S. T. Joshi adding an introduction by Joshi, correcting the texts and expanding the contents.

In 2007, Del Rey published a trade paperback version with a new introduction by Stephen Jones, and a brief biography of Lovecraft at the end.

The revised version of Lovecraft's revisions includes Henry S. Whitehead's "The Trap" but not the other two stories by Whitehead in which Lovecraft had a hand ("Cassius" and "Bothon"). The revised version also includes two collaborations by Lovecraft with Robert H. Barlow, but not the other tales on which they worked together, of which there are four or five. Sonia Greene's "Four O'Clock" is omitted from the revised version, S.T. Joshi having determined that this tale is not properly a part of the Lovecraft corpus; the story is entirely Sonia's, Lovecraft having simply made a few suggestions as to its prose style.

The Someday Funnies

The Someday Funnies is an exceptionally large and varied book of comics which was published by Abrams on November 1, 2011. The book was a project that had originally been intended as a special supplement for the magazine Rolling Stone, but this collection of comics about the 1960s rapidly grew too large to be used for that purpose.

The collection was started in the early 1970s, when the humorist Michel Choquette began soliciting work internationally from contemporary writers and artists, 169 of whom responded. Forty years later the book was finally published.

Of those who contributed pieces, many were already well known as cartoonists, but numerous others were leading creative figures of the 20th century in other fields. Pieces were created especially for the book by writers, artists, and composers including the writer William Burroughs, the filmmaker Federico Fellini, the writer Tom Wolfe, the musician Frank Zappa, founding Mad (magazine) cartoonists Harvey Kurtzman and Wallace Wood, the cartoonists Gahan Wilson and Ed Subitzky, the artist Red Grooms, and 160 others.

The Watchers Out of Time and Others

The Watchers Out of Time and Others is an omnibus collection of stories by American writer August Derleth, inspired in part by notes left by H. P. Lovecraft after his death and presented as a "posthumous collaboration" between the two writers (Derleth acted as Lovecraft's literary executor). It was published in an edition of 5,070 copies. Several of the stories relate to the Cthulhu Mythos and had appeared previously in the earliest collections The Lurker at the Threshold, The Survivor and Others, The Shuttered Room and Other Pieces, The Dark Brotherhood and Other Pieces and other Arkham House publications.

Some controversy exists among Lovecraft's admirers as to the ethics of presenting the stories as collaborative works. Upon this volume's publication, Donald Wandrei, one of Arkham House's founders, wrote letters to reviewers complaining that the stories were essentially Derleth's own works, incorporating fragments of unpublished Lovecraft prose. Gahan Wilson agreed that the stories "should really be billed as his [Derleth's] own, and merely based on the notes and letters of Lovecraft, and on the Lovecraftian mythos as he [Derleth] saw it, and no more than that."

Whispers (magazine)

Whispers was one of the new horror and fantasy fiction magazines of the 1970s.

World Fantasy Award

The World Fantasy Awards are a set of awards given each year for the best fantasy fiction published during the previous calendar year. Organized and overseen by the World Fantasy Convention, the awards are given each year at the eponymous annual convention as the central focus of the event. They were first given in 1975, at the first World Fantasy Convention, and have been awarded annually since. Over the years that the award has been given, the categories presented have changed; currently World Fantasy Awards are given in five written categories, one category for artists, and four special categories for individuals to honor their general work in the field of fantasy.

The awards have been described by book critics such as The Guardian as a "prestigious fantasy prize", and one of the three most prestigious speculative fiction awards, along with the Hugo and Nebula Awards (which cover both fantasy and science fiction). World Fantasy Award nominees and winners are decided by attendees of the convention and a panel of judges, typically made up of fantasy authors. Winners receive a small trophy; through the 2015 awards it was a bust of H. P. Lovecraft designed by cartoonist Gahan Wilson. The bust was retired following that year amid complaints about Lovecraft's history of racism; a new statuette designed by Vincent Villafranca depicting a tree in front of a full moon was released in 2017. The 2018 awards were presented at the 44th World Fantasy Convention in Baltimore, Maryland, on November 4, 2018, and the 2019 awards will be presented at the 45th World Fantasy Convention in Los Angeles, California, on November 3, 2019.

World Fantasy Convention

The World Fantasy Convention is an annual convention of professionals, collectors, and others interested in the field of fantasy. The World Fantasy Awards are presented at the event. Other features include an art show, a dealer's room, and an autograph reception.The convention was conceived and begun by T. E. D. Klein, Kirby McCauley and several others.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.