Gahan Wilson: 50 Years of Playboy Cartoons

Gahan Wilson, Author, Hugh Hefner, Author, Neil Gaiman, Introduction by . Fantagraphics $125 (942p) ISBN 978-1-60699-298-2

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 Playboy , it's a definitive overview of a remarkable talent and viewpoint. 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. Although best known for his slightly lugubrious subjects—monsters, witches, corpses, vampires and skeletons are frequent visitors to these pages—Wilson also targets consumerism, materialism, and other basic human foibles. As publisher Gary Groth writes in a biography in the third volume, “He has...constructed a world that is eerily family, unsettlingly recognizable and lethally consistent.” Beautifully designed and printed, the books contain cut-out pages, and the slipcase itself becomes a window for a trapped photo of Wilson. Text extras include Wilson's prose short stories and an appreciation by Neil Gaiman. If these three volumes are a bit much for one sitting, periodic dipping in will always satisfy. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 12/21/2009
Release date: 01/01/2010
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FORMATS
Hardcover - 942 pages - 978-1-60699-334-7
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