This is a nicely balanced obit that underscores his range of outlets. I’ll try to add more to this post after I revisit his work in the books I have.
The earliest of my Wilson books is the 1965 Ace paperback Gahan Wilson’s Graveside Manner (going for $100 on Amazon), which I know I bought because it so reminded me of another recent paperback discovery, Charles Addams.
My go-to Gahan collection is 50 Years of Playboy Cartoons (classy reproductions, paid big bucks for them and so worked damn hard, and, well, Playboy has to have a few claims on quality cartoons other than the stupid sexist stuff). I’ve run across what I think is the perfect image of the transition from Addams to Wilson in the second picture he sold to the magazine (March, 1958).
Very Addams, yes, but with a strange, unfathomable cosmic oddness that was very Wilson.
Next, you gotta love the ahead-of-its-time morbid psychology of toys imprisoned in the attic planning “someday he’ll get nostalgic and come up here and then we’ll get him!” (The original Playboy version is much more sinister than the image used on the cover of the book of the same name.)
Another advance from Addams is that he was clearly a ’20s-’30s horror-movie guy and Wilson was steeped in those monster flicks from ’40s-’60s.
Weellll, can’t find an image anywhere, but I’ve always suspected that a Playboy Gahan from August, 1969 was at least one of the inspirations for Alien. (A cartoon head pops up out of a patient on the operating table.)