Gahan Wilson (1930-2019)

Gahan Wilson

Cartoonist Gahan Wilson, known for his macabre humor, died November 21 at the age of 89. Paul Winters, Wilson’s stepson who had recently organized a GoFundMe for the artist, made the announcement:

The world has lost a legend. One of the very best cartoonists to ever pick up a pen and paper has passed on. He went peacefully – surrounded by those who loved him.

Gahan Wilson leaves behind a large body of work that is finely drawn, elegant, and provocative.

He was preceded in death by his wife, author Nancy Winters Wilson, and his parents, Allen and Marion Wilson…

To the world at large he was famous for his cartoons in major magazines like Playboy, The New Yorker, and National Lampoon.

Within the sff genre Wilson contributed cartoons to The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, for which he also wrote fiction, and movie and book reviews. His first published story, “Beware of the Dog.” appeared in F&SF in 1964. In the Eighties he was a movie reviewer for The Twilight Zone Magazine, and in the Nineties a book critic for Realms of Fantasy.

He wrote and illustrated a story for Harlan Ellison’s anthology Again, Dangerous Visions (1972). The “title” is a black blob, and the story is about an ominous black blob that appears on the page, growing at an alarming rate.

World Fantasy Award

Wilson designed the original World Fantasy Award trophy, a bust of H.P. Lovecraft, which was presented from 1975-2015, when the design was retired. The World Fantasy Convention presented him a copy as a Special Award in 1981.

He was recognized for lifetime achievement by the Bram Stoker Awards (1992) and World Fantasy Awards (2004), and was named a Living Legend by the International Horror Guild Awards (2005).

He received an Inkpot Award from San Diego Comic-Con in 1989. He also received the National Cartoonists Society’s Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.

Wilson is the subject of a feature-length documentary film, Gahan Wilson: Born Dead, Still Weird, directed by Steven-Charles Jaffe.

Earlier this year his stepson Paul Winters announced that the cartoonist was suffering from advanced dementia, and started a GoFundMe for Gahan Wilson to pay for memory care. More than a thousand people donated $52,175 in the first 14 days, and eventually over $80,000 of donations were received.

6 thoughts on “Gahan Wilson (1930-2019)

  1. Mr. Wilson lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, at least for some time, as my uncle knew him well enough to have highly personalized artwork in his veterinary practice.

    I loved his collected cartoons. I hope the artist is in a far more restful place than his cartoons ever showed…

  2. A standout among cartoonists, with a sense of humor both better and weirder than most. I raise a glass to him.

  3. I’ll be rereading A Night In The Lonesome October sometime in the next few days.

    SIGH
    Requiescat In Pace.

  4. Pingback: AMAZING NEWS FROM FANDOM: 11-24-19 - Amazing Stories

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