American author, cartoonist and illustrator Gahan Wilson died yesterday, according to his family’s GoFundMe page. He was 89. The notice reads, “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.”
Born in Evanston, Illinois, on February 18, 1930, Wilson’s dark, horror-inspired cartoons and prose stories regularly appeared in the pages of Playboy, Collier’s and The New Yorker. He also created the comic strip “Nuts,” a darker, more cynical answer to “Peanuts” which ran in National Lampoon magazine.
As well as his work as a cartoonist, Wilson illustrated Jerome Beatty Jr.’s children’s science fiction series Matthew and Maria Looney, and Roger Zelazny’s final book, the 1993 gothic homage A Night in the Lonesome October. He also designed the World Fantasy Convention Award in 1975, which was modeled after his idol H.P. Lovecraft.
Wilson was married to author Nancy Winters from 1966 until her death on March 2, 2019. He was diagnosed with dementia, and had been living with her in an assisted living facility in Arizona until her death, which required his family to raise funds to move him to a memory care unit. He is survived by his stepsons, as well as his daughter-in-law, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
So honored to have published the hilarious and horrifying work of the great Gahan Wilson. He'll be missed! pic.twitter.com/6HK2nQuZZl
— Fantagraphics Books (@fantagraphics) November 22, 2019
Widely celebrated for his monsters and maniacs, Gahan Wilson also excelled at capturing small moments of joy. RIP. pic.twitter.com/zkuFa01WTK
— Paul_Dini (@Paul_Dini) November 22, 2019
R.I.P., Gahan Wilson…you were one of my favorite cartoonists ever. No one did oddball, macabre cartoons like you. pic.twitter.com/jJmCQFteBV
— Pat Brosseau (@droog811) November 22, 2019
One of the great cartoonists of all time has died, Gahan Wilson. I especially loved his Nuts comic strip in National Lampoon. It was really ahead of its time in showing a real kid’s view of being a kid. pic.twitter.com/Uk9IVDdfjv
— Tom the Dancing Bug (@RubenBolling) November 22, 2019
RIP Gahan Wilson (1930-2019) cartoonist for The New Yorker, Playboy, National Lampoon, the Magazine of Science Fiction & Fantasy & much else. He did spooks, ghouls, & monsters better than anyone since Charles Addams. pic.twitter.com/eN7fD7di5K
— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) November 22, 2019
Gahan Wilson once wrote me a letter praising our Dick Tracy books and even his hand-written letters were like little works of art. I recommend this 3-volume retrospective of his stuff for starters. He leaves behind a wealth of immense creativity and whimsy. pic.twitter.com/aOHxHoQlh1
— Chris Ryall (@chris_ryall) November 22, 2019
Gahan Wilson was what you might get if Charles Addams read the Necronomicon in one sitting. Editor, author, critic, illustrator but most of all, a one-of-a-kind, funny as hell and morbid as hell cartoonist. And it wasn't all gruesome, the NUTS strip is terrific, find a copy. #RIP
— Evan Dorkin (@evandorkin) November 22, 2019