March 23, 2017 by T.E. Grau
This is what Kelley Jones does:
This is what Bernie Wrightson has done:
Jones does what Jones does in large part due to what Wrightson did. The influence and inspiration is that direct. Further, Jones met and spent quality time with his childhood hero, and his hero not only lived up to the lofty expectation, he far surpassed it, in terms of generosity and character. That is rare stuff, as wonderful as it is refreshing.
Bernie Wrightson passed away March 18, 2017, after a long battle with brain cancer. When I heard the news, after fighting through my shock and sadness at losing one of the great artists of our time, I – like many – immediately thought of Kelley, as I know just how much Bernie meant to him, both professionally and personally.
“My life changed when I was 12 years old.
I can remember it like it was yesterday. That’s because it’s still influencing me to this day… to this very hour. Pretty dramatic to say, you think, then consider: I read Swamp Thing #2 when I was 12.
To be fair, at first I hated it. The Un-Men, creepy Arcane, the strange architecture of the castle and deep-shadowed forests, and Swamp Thing himself. It scared me, I’ll admit.
Swamp Thing #2 bothered me, so two hours or so later I went back and reread it.
My whole opinion changed and that’s when it happened. Bam. It was over.
I flipped to the credits page, something I’d never done before. There was this strange name… Wrightson.
And Bernie Wrightson was my hero from that instant.”