Today on the site we have Gary Groth's lengthy 1985 interview with Bernie Wrightson. It's a great read.
GROTH: Again, about the Frankenstein book, what I’m interested in finding out is what is the intent of the illustrations? Are you intent upon adding another dimension to the novel?
WRIGHTSON: Not really. I started this in 1976. All this time, and all this work, all this effort and aggravation and what not have gone into this simply to embellish this old book. Which, when I started out, I thought was a terrific book. Now, six years have gone by, and I don’t think it’s such a terrific book, anymore. Okay, we’ve got some good drawings to go in there, some of them are spectacular. And for anybody who does like the book, this is going to be a real good edition of it. My personal feelings have nothing to do with that at all. You should just buy the book because you want it, and enjoy it, and don’t worry about how I feel. When I did the drawings, I was really involved with the book and my intentions were really good when I did them. They had to be or my drawings wouldn’t be that good. I really believe that an artist can’t communicate to a viewer unless he really pours himself into it and tries to do that. And I tried to do it with that, and they work. So, I’m not apologizing for that, I’m not apologizing for anything, I’m just saying that I’m glad I’m still not doing it, because my attitude has changed completely.
GROTH: It sounds like you think a little less of the book now than when you first started.
WRIGHTSON: Yeah, I guess I do.
GROTH: Who are some of your favorite authors?
WRIGHTSON: Stephen King.
GROTH: Poe, I guess? Or isn’t he one of your favorites?
WRIGHTSON: He was real good to start out with, but I don’t think I’d ever read him again. Wells, H.G. Wells, in limited doses.
WRIGHTSON: Nah. He was always a little too ponderous. I have a hard time with the language. There are a few things that he’s done that I’ve really enjoyed, but for the most part I can’t take him.
GROTH: What do you like about King?
WRIGHTSON: What do I like about King? Damn near everything. The guy has an uncanny knack for creating characters who are people that you know, just really solid people. A storyteller par excellence. Absolutely riveting from the first page. A terrific command of the language and colloquialism and slang and bullshit and whatever. And on top of that, he can scare the fucking pants off me.
GROTH: That’s what friends tell me.
WRIGHTSON: Have you ever read him?
GROTH: No, I never have. And friends have told me that they’ve actually gotten frightened reading his books. And I can’t imagine that.
WRIGHTSON: If you’ve never experienced that, I envy you. Because I wish I could re-experience that feeling for the first time.
GROTH: I keep intending to read The Shining, but I’ve not gotten around to it.
WRIGHTSON: I think you ought to start out with Salem’s Lot.
WHITE: How about Firestarter?
WRIGHTSON: Firestarter and Salem’s Lot, I think, are the two best stories he’s written.
Peter Bagge talks about his new graphic biography of Zora Neale Hurston over at CBR.
Comics culture: The Paris Review looks at bodybuilding and the old sand-kicking ads.