Sunday, July 30, 2006
Basil Wolverton is on the Top 10 list of just about every fan of Golden Age comics because there wasn't anyone like him. Literally. At the beginnings of the comic book era Basil Wolverton seemingly sprang forth out of the forehead of the God of Mirth. Or the God of Nightmares.
As funny as Wolverton could be (and this episode of Bingbang Buster from Black Diamond Western #17, January 1950, is typical in that it is so funny), he could just as easily switch gears and draw some very unfunny and horrific visions, which he did for several memorable horror comics of the early 1950s.
What makes it even more remarkable is that he was also a religious person, who was an elder in The Worldwide Church of God, under its leader, evangelist Herbert W. Armstrong. He even went so far as to transfer his nightmare fantasies into several apocalyptic illustrations for his church's publications.
My introduction to Wolverton was like that of many others: I saw his work in Mad. His grotesque caricatures jarred me out of my complacency about what humorous illustration is or should be.
Wolverton's body of work was scattered around between many comic book companies, but luckily for us fans a lot of it--maybe all?--has been reprinted in one accessible form or another. Just look on eBay or Amazon.com under Basil Wolverton.
Those of you with dial-up are in for a straight wait, Skate! Don't be in a fluster, Buster. Relax with some snacks.