Gahan Wilson by Gahan Wilson
50 Years of Playboy Cartoons (Three-Book Slipcased Set) (Fantagraphics)

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Synopsis

Nominated for two 2010 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards: a three-volume slipcased full-color set: over one thousand cartoons, spanning fifty years of a legendary career.

Gahan Wilson is among the most popular, widely-read, and beloved cartoonists in the history of the medium, whose career spans the second half of the 20th century, and all of the 21st. His work has been seen by millions—no, hundreds of millions—in the pages of Playboy, The New Yorker, Punch, The National Lampoon, and many other magazines; there is no telling, really, how many readers he has corrupted or comforted. He is revered for his playfully sinister take on childhood, adulthood, men, women, and monsters. His brand of humor makes you laugh until you cry. And it’s about time that a collection of his cartoons was published that did justice to his vast body of work.

When Gahan Wilson walked into Hugh Hefner’s office in 1957, he sat down as Hefner was on the phone, gently rejecting a submission to his new gentlemen’s magazine: “I think it’s very well-written and I liked it very much,” Hefner reportedly said, “but it’s anti-sin. And I’m afraid we’re pro-sin.” Wilson knew, at that moment, that he had found a kindred spirit and a potential home for his cartoons. And indeed he had; Wilson appeared in every issue of Playboy from the December 1957 issue to today. It has been one of the most fruitful, successful, and long-lived relationships between a contributor and a magazine, ever.

Gahan Wilson: 50 Years of Playboy Cartoons features not only every cartoon Wilson drew for Playboy, but all his prose fiction that has appeared in that magazine as well, from his first story in the June 1962 issue, “Horror Trio,” to such classics as “Dracula Country” (September 1978). It also includes the text-and-art features he drew for Playboy, such as his look at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, his take on our country’s “pathology of violence,” and his appreciation of “transplant surgery.”

Wilson’s notoriously black sense of comedy is on display throughout the book, leaving no sacred cow unturned (an image curiously absent in the book), ridiculing everything from state sponsored executions to the sober precincts of the nouveau rich, from teenage dating to police line-ups, with scalding and hilarious satirical jabs. Although Wilson is known as an artist who relishes the creepy side of modern life, this three-volume set truly demonstrates the depth and breadth of his range—from illustrating private angst we never knew we had (when you eat a steak, just whom are you eating?) to the ironic and deadpan take on horrifying public issues (ecological disaster, nuclear destruction anyone?).

Gahan Wilson has been peeling back the troubling layers of modern life with his incongruously playful and unnerving cartoons, assailing our deepest fears and our most inane follies. This three-volume set is a testament to one of the funniest—and wickedly disturbing—cartoonists alive.

Nominated for two 2010 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards (Best Archival Collection/Project: Strips; Best Publication Design). Illustrated throughout in color and black-and-white
 

About Gahan Wilson

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In his ninth decade as a human being and his sixth as a master cartoonist, Gahan Wilson (born dead in 1930) continues to produce cartoons for a variety of magazines including Playboy and The New Yorker.
 
Published October 3, 2011 by Fantagraphics. 1056 pages
Genres: Comics & Graphic Novels, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography, Horror, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Gahan Wilson

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George Harland's retelling of Charles Dickens's ``Captain Murderer'' has little Charles's nursemaid giving him a truly gruesome account of a man who married many women and then ate them.

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From macabre cartoonist Wilson, a verbal cartoon pitting the evil genius of Professor Moriarty, Fu Manchu and Fantomas against the off-setting brilliance of a Holmes/Nero Wolfe and a Watson/Archie Goodwin--here named Enoch Bone and John Weston.

Nov 01 1988 | Read Full Review of Gahan Wilson: 50 Years of Pla...

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Harry, the fat bear, is an unromantic kind of spy who is impatient with complicated precautions, who mislays his false identification papers (with the consequence that he must wear on his cloak a large button labeled SPY throughout the adventure), and who would rather be working as a chef -- or e...

Oct 15 1973 | Read Full Review of Gahan Wilson: 50 Years of Pla...

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“Brains for lunch again / ‘Stop moaning and just eat it.’ / Lunch lady humor.” Middle schooler Loeb (pun intended) is a Zombie.

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In —The Power of the Mandarin,— only Evan Trowbridge stands between the malevolent Mandarin and his conquest of the world—and the storyteller Aladar Rakas has allowed the Mandarin to kill Trowbridge, Pillar of the Establishment and Pride of the Empire.

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Publishers Weekly

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Few cartoonists ever had as lavish a tribute as a three-volume-slipcased collection, but few are as deserving as Wilson. Collecting 50 years worth of his monthly single page gag cartoons from <EMPH

Dec 21 2009 | Read Full Review of Gahan Wilson: 50 Years of Pla...

Publishers Weekly

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Featuring sharp-toothed yet ultimately benign monsters, round-headed children and a few nonthreatening witches and ghosts, the inimitable Wilson's art for this volume is playful rather than hair-raising.

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Publishers Weekly

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Considering the timeframe, Wilson's fabled black humor and art style remain remarkably consistent—as time passes, the drawing renders into slightly blobbier shapes that retain all of their wit just the same—but the source and degree of the humor is a constant.

Dec 21 2009 | Read Full Review of Gahan Wilson: 50 Years of Pla...

Publishers Weekly

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Though he's better known for his darkly funny cartoon grotesqueries than for his short stories, Wilson has written numerous tales whose weird wit matches that of his drawings.

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Examiner

When it comes to the arts, doing the expected can, and often does, mean death - unless you are Fantagraphics Books.

Nov 09 2011 | Read Full Review of Gahan Wilson: 50 Years of Pla...

Book Reporter

It’s hard to know exactly where to start with this one, but let’s begin with the obvious: Gahan Wilson: 50 Years of Playboy Cartoons is enormous.

Oct 03 2011 | Read Full Review of Gahan Wilson: 50 Years of Pla...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

Unless you're a Playboy reader, chances are you've never seen any of the 800-plus fantastic cartoons in this massive three-volume collection of one-panel gags by Gahan Wilson, all of which first appeared in that once-scandalous girlie mag.

Dec 18 2009 | Read Full Review of Gahan Wilson: 50 Years of Pla...

Reader Rating for Gahan Wilson
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