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Bernie Wrightson, the co-creator of DC Entertainment’s Swamp Thing and collaborator with Stephen King on a number of projects, has been forced to retire at age 68 due to poor health.
The announcement was made Monday morning by Wrightson’s wife Liz on his Facebook page. “Last November Bernie began falling again, and having obvious problems with perception,” she wrote. “He had to undergo yet another brain surgery to relieve bleeding, and then spend several weeks undergoing in-patient rehabilitation. Unfortunately, it appears that he has lasting damage: he has extremely limited function on his left side, and is unable to walk or reliably use his left hand, among other limitations.”
The Facebook statement continued by declaring the artist “effectively retired: he will produce no new art, and he is unable to attend conventions,” although it added, “Should this situation change I will happily announce it here.”
Wrightson’s career stretches back to 1968’s House of Mystery No. 168. A regular contributor to DC titles in his early career, he not only co-created Swamp Thing with writer Len Wein, but also co-created the character Destiny with Marv Wolfman in Weird Mystery Tales No. 1 in 1972; that character would go on to become a recurring presence in Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman almost two decades later.
Post-DC, Wrightson would go on to work for National Lampoon and create illustrations for a number of prose projects, including editions of Frankenstein and Stephen King’s Cycle of the Werewolf and The Stand. He also illustrated the comic book adaptation of King’s big-screen collaboration with George A. Romero, Creepshow (1982).
Most recently, Wrightson teamed with 30 Days of Night creator Steve Niles for the three-issue comic book series Frankenstein Alive, Alive!
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Melvin Van Peebles