Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Wilson, Gahan

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(1930-2019) US cartoonist, illustrator and writer; after a first appearance in Fantastic (January/February 1954), with further cartoons in Amazing Stories and Weird Tales following in the same year, his artwork became widely known through slick magazines like Playboy, Collier's and later The New Yorker. In 1964 he began his long association with The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, contributing numerous full-page cartoons – mostly macabre – plus movie reviews. His first collection was Gahan Wilson's Graveside Manner (graph coll 1965); others include The Man in the Cannibal Pot (graph coll 1967), I Paint What I See (graph coll 1971), Playboy's Gahan Wilson (graph coll 1973; same title for completely different graph coll 1980), Gahan Wilson's Cracked Cosmos (graph coll 1975); Weird World of Gahan Wilson (graph coll 1975), "... and then we'll get him!" (graph coll 1978), Is Nothing Sacred? (graph coll 1982), Gahan Wilson's America (graph coll 1985) Still Weird (graph coll 1994) and Even Weirder (graph coll 1996). GW draws in distinctively sprawling lines which encourage distortions and grotesques, a good visual match for his habitual black Humour (inevitably compared with that of Charles Addams); funerals, Death, Devils, oozing Monsters, Vampires and seedy versions of Heaven and Hell regularly appear, as do sinister Children. Nuts (graph coll 1979) assembles his eponymous National Lampoon cartoon strips on vividly remembered fantasies and horrors of US childhood. GW's fiction includes a part-graphic story in Harlan Ellison's Again, Dangerous Visions (anth 1972): its title is an unpronounceable blob, which proves carnivorous. Gahan Wilson's Diner (1973) is an Animated Movie. Eddy Deco's Last Caper: An Illustrated Mystery (1987) is farcical Detective/Thriller Fantasy with integral illustrations; another spoof mystery, Everybody's Favorite Duck (1988) also has fantasy elements, with Fu Manchu and Sherlock Holmes characters. GW received a special World Fantasy Award in 1981 (earlier, he had designed this trophy), and the Bram Stoker Award for life achievement in 1982. [DRL/SD]

other works: Harry, the Fat Bear Spy (1973); The Bang Bang Family (1974); Harry and the Sea Serpent (1976); Harry and the Snow Melting Ray (1978); Spooky Stories for a Dark and Stormy Night (coll 1994) – all Children's Fantasy.

as editor: Gahan Wilson's Favorite Tales of Horror (anth 1976); First World Fantasy Awards (anth 1977).

Gahan Wilson


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.