The Best of Gahan Wilson

    (Underwood, 2004)
™ and © 2004 Gahan Wilson

Almost since he was born in 1930, cartoonist Gahan Wilson has been drawing the memorably macabre. (He notes of a drawing he did when “a tiny kid”: “on one of the drawings, written in my mother’s loving hand, it says: HORRIBLE MONSTER COMES TO KILL US ALL.”) This delicious volume not only provides a collection of his work but also illuminates via anecdotes interspersed with the cartoons. Here are such memorable examples as the Playboy “I think I won!” carried by many soldiers in Vietnam and the “And then we’ll get him” cartoon that provided the title for an earlier collection. Organization is excellent, with some layouts set up by themes: aliens, Lovecraftian monsters, cave paintings, Dick Tracy, Sherlock Holmes, and the like. Topping off the volume are samples of his National Lampoon work (including Nuts) and “The Conqueror Worm” from his First Comics Classics Illustrated Edgar Allan Poe adaptations. Lovingly done, this is a terrific book will leave readers who relish ghoulishly comic cartoons yearning for more. Stephen King describes Wilson’s work as “genuine weirdness combined with wit and intelligence.” Precisely.

— Maggie Thompson

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