A Tribute to the of

Welcome to the latest edition of the Silver Age Sage: #444. If you're looking for a previous interview, please scroll down to the bottom of this page to the Special Features header. There you will find a list of links to all the creators who have been interviewed in the past.

This time of year inevitably brings the great Bernie Wrightson to mind. If anyone personified the spirit of Halloween, it had to be Bernie. Coincidentally or maybe not so coincidentally, his birthday was October 27th and I’ve heard his epic birthday/Halloween parties were something you really, really hoped to receive an invitation to attend. I wasn’t able to get quite as close to Bernie as I did other interviewees [Sage #207], but he was pleasant, kind and just a sweet guy that I still miss.

Furthermore, I continue to be unable to resist DC's new 100-pagers at Walmart. A large part of it, I'm sure, is simply the joy of nostalgia, not only in those square bound beasts themselves, but the ability to pick up a comic at the store again. If only they were in a spinner rack, the experience would be complete. Anyway, they just rolled out the Swamp Thing Halloween Horror issue, featuring, of course, Bernie's signature creation and even Bernie himself thanks to his cameo in the reprinted Batman [#237] story, "Night of the Reaper!" I was also pleased to discover the final story in the book was a reprint of Len Wein and Bernie's original Swamp Thing story from House of Secrets #92 [Sage #196] from July of 1971. I found it an enjoyable read and recommend you checking it out for yourself if you're a fan of the genre.

In the spirit of the season and keeping Mr. Wrightson’s wondrous legacy in mind, I’ve selected a story from the House of Mystery title that Bernie plotted and illustrated and did a typically “monstrous” cover for, to boot. It’s issue #204 from July of 1972. Editing was done by the great Joe Orlando, who of course earned his own horror chops at EC Comics back in the day. While Bernie is credited with the plot for “All in the Family,” it was scripted by “Virgil North,” the nom de plume of Mary Skrenes, who, sadly, avoids interviews like the plague.

Sharp eyed readers may have noticed that the lower right hand corner of the splash page is signed "Wrightson '70" while the cover signature is dated '72; I do remember Tony DeZuniga, I believe it was, telling me how big an inventory Joe Orlando kept on hand, so, it's hard to believe that Bernie's work would just sit around that long, perhaps that's exactly what happened.

It’s only a 9-pager, but as usual, that’s more than enough room for Bernie to draw you into horrifying worlds with his incredible attention to detail, lighting and flat out nightmare inducing imagery. C’mon along. It’ll be okay…

Fred and Mary are in Bernie’s favored setting of a swamp and their car has, er, bogged down and Mary isn’t happy about it at all. “I knew I shouldn’t let you drive! Now look what you’ve done—you incompetent boob!” A couple of panels later, the verbal abuse continues from the shrew with, “What are you going to do now, dummy?!” Hen-pecked Fred suggests they go find a phone someplace and after about an hour of bumbling through the swamp the located they predictable, but still spectacular, ancient, spooky house.

Mary then gapes at the strange door knocker and tells Fred that she’s seen it before, in a nightmare. She then recounts to Fred the awful dream, wherein she was lost in this very swamp, then came to this same house and was greeted by a pair of off-putting people. One, a hunched crone and the other a tall, gawky man, “A pair of side-show freaks right out of those stupid old horror movies you collect!

Then, the man grabs her and throws her into a darkened room where she could hear a gurgling noise, smelled something like death and then determined that something was sliding toward her. Then she saw the horror (much like that amazing cover) coming toward her. “It was like a mass of cranberry jelly with tentacles and eyes!

She then awoke screaming and is worried that it may have been a premonition. Fred dismisses it with some rude commentary of his own, telling her she’s nuts and it was all a silly dream. They utilize the ancient knocker and are greeted by a lovely woman named Gloria carrying a candlestick. Fred explains their dilemma and she invites them in to dinner, commenting that she’ll help in any way possible, but she doesn’t have a phone.

Over a wonderful meal, Mary tells the woman about her odd dream and she remarks that it sounds like a perfect description of her parents. A shocked Mary asks if she’s an only child and the woman replies that no, she has a brother. Mary then turns to see the same gelatinous horror moving toward her. Their hostess calmly addresses “Ookey,” stating that he’s late for dinner again.

As Mary struggles with the slithering creature, Fred and the lovely Gloria politely converse and are oblivious to Mary’s pleadings and shrieks. Finally, after Mary has apparently been eliminated, Fred’s thoughts reveal his intentions: “It’s me and Gloria now. Goodbye, Mary!” He then excuses himself to take care of the car and Gloria tells him to hurry back, that she’ll have a nice surprise for him upon his return.

Making certain the car is on its way to the bottom of the bog, Fred thinks that it’s all worked out exactly as he’d planned and he picks up a lily to take back to Gloria. Bounding back through the rotting bog, Fred is surprised to be greeted by a familiar couple. They invite him back in and seat him on the sofa, explaining that Gloria is just changing into something more comfortable.

The final panel shows Fred sitting contentedly on the sofa, holding the lily, while a gloppy, tentacled creature creeps up behind him, ending this short story.

As per usual, attempting to describe the wondrous art of Bernie Wrightson is a fool’s errand. This story, along with pretty much everything the Master of the Macabre ever did, has to be seen to be truly appreciated, so I invite one and all to find this story (it’s been reprinted several times) and take it all in, from the swamp to the creepy interiors of the house to the shadows and lighting, which were all formidable tools in Bernie’s repertoire. I can only imagine the amount of time the pain-staking details required, but the results. Oh, the results.

Happy Halloween, readers! Until we return the first of November with the latest review. Meanwhile, you know the drill. Feel free to send an e-mail with your comments, questions and other feedback. professor_the@hotmail.com is the place to go.

Join us then and…

Long live the Silver Age!

© 2000-2018 by Bryan D. Stroud

This feature was created on 05/01/00 and is maintained by

Bryan D. Stroud


Special Features

Gaspar Saladino Interview

Arnold Drake Tribute

Joe Kubert Interview

Joe Giella Interview

Carmine Infantino Interview

Sheldon Moldoff Interview

Neal Adams Interview (Pt. 1)

Neal Adams Interview (Pt. 2)

Ramona Fradon Interview

Bob Rozakis Interview

Dick Giordano Interview

Denny O'Neil Interview (Pt. 1)

Denny O'Neil Interview (Pt. 2)

Irwin Hasen Interview

Lew Sayre Schwartz Interview

Al Plastino Interview (Pt. 1)

Al Plastino Interview (Pt. 2)

Jim Mooney Interview

Russ Heath Interview (Pt. 1)

Russ Heath Interview (Pt. 2)

Frank Springer Interview (Pt. 1)

Frank Springer Interview (Pt. 2)

Jerry Robinson Interview (Pt. 1)

Jerry Robinson Interview (Pt. 2)

Jerry Robinson Interview (Pt. 3)

Joe Simon & Creig Flessel Interviews

Jim Shooter Interview (Pt. 1)

Jim Shooter Interview (Pt. 2)

Len Wein Interview #1

Len Wein Interview #2

Tony DeZuniga Interview

Jerry Grandenetti Interview

Murphy Anderson Interview

Mike Esposito Interview (Pt. 1)

Mike Esposito Interview (Pt. 2)

Stan Goldberg Interview

Marv Wolfman Interview

Bernie Wrightson Interview

Clem Robins Interview (Pt. 1)

Clem Robins Interview (Pt. 2)

Joe Rubinstein Interview (Pt. 1)

Joe Rubinstein Interview (Pt. 2)

Jack Adler Interview (Pt. 1)

Jack Adler Interview (Pt. 2)

Elliot S! Maggin Interview

Mike Grell Interview

Joe Kubert School Interviews

Anthony Tollin Interview

Sam Glanzman Interview

Ernie Chan Interview

Steve Skeates Interview (Pt. 1)

Steve Skeates Interview (Pt. 2)

Mike Friedrich Interview

Tom Orzechowski Interview (Pt. 1)

Tom Orzechowski Interview (Pt. 2)

Walt Simonson Interview

Gene Colan Interview

Gerry Conway Interview

Guy H. Lillian III Interview

Frank McLaughlin Interview

Al Milgrom Interview (Pt. 1)

Al Milgrom Interview (Pt. 2)

Irene Vartanoff Interview

Don Perlin Interview

John Workman Interview (Pt. 1)

John Workman Interview (Pt. 2)

Tom Palmer Interview

Paul Levitz Interview

Jay Scott Pike Interview

Jack C. Harris Interview (Pt. 1)

Jack C. Harris Interview (Pt. 2)

Carl Potts Interview

Larry Hama Interview

Joe Kubert School Interviews 2

Greg Theakston Interview (Pt. 1)

Greg Theakston Interview (Pt. 2)

Michael Netzer Interview (Pt. 1)

Michael Netzer Interview (Pt. 2)

Alan Kupperberg Interview

Joe D'esposito Interview

Steve Mitchell Interview (Pt. 1)

Steve Mitchell Interview (Pt. 2)

Ralph Reese Interview

Bob McLeod Interview

Bob Smith Interview

Jose Delbo Interview

Joe Staton Interview (Pt. 1)

Joe Staton Interview (Pt. 2)

Frank Thorne Interview

Bob Wiacek Interview

Nick Cardy Interview (Pt. 1)

Nick Cardy Interview (Pt. 2)

John Calnan Interview

Sy Barry Interview

Cary Bates Interview

John Severin Interview

Liz Berube Interview

Thom Zahler Interview

Paul Kirchner Interview

Sheldon Moldoff Interview #2

Mike Royer Interview (Pt. 1)

Mike Royer Interview (Pt. 2)

Joe Barney Interview (Pt. 1)

Joe Barney Interview (Pt. 2)

Ken Bald Interview

Sal Buscema Interview

Angelo Torres Interview

Alex Ross Interview

Howard Chaykin Interview

Also check out the Sage's contributions.

hit counter

The Silver Lantern Site Menu + Map & Updates

HomeThe SageSage Archives1934-19551956
1967196819691970GL Data

All characters mentioned, artwork, logos and other visual depictions displayed, unless otherwise noted, are © by DC Comics. No infringement upon those rights is intended or should be inferred. Cover, interior and other artwork scans and vid-caps are used for identification purposes only. The mission of this non-profit site is to entertain and inform. It is in no way authorized or endorsed by DC Comics and/or its parent company. The Webmaster assumes no responsibility for the content or maintenance of external links.