is an American cartoonist, and a longtime contributor to both Playboy
and The New Yorker
magazines. not to mention The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction
. He also drew a Newspaper Comics
series, titled simply Gahan Wilson's Sunday Comics
, and produced animated inserts for Sesame Street
. His subject matter tends heavily toward the grotesque and whimsical.
Although he is usually known for his cartoons, Wilson contributed some book reviews to F&SF
, and his story "[The title is an inkblot]" was included in Harlan Ellison
's anthology Again, Dangerous Visions
. The titular inkblot (which is drawn in his distinctive style) plays an integral part in the story. He also did the illustrations for Roger Zelazny
's Nebula Award
-nominated novel, A Night in the Lonesome October
Gahan Wilson works with their own trope pages include:
Wilson's other works provide examples of:
- Alien Lunch
- Attack of the Killer Whatever: "Seagulls", as the title suggests, is about a swarm of evil seagulls.
- "Traps" features sentient rats menacing an exterminator.
- Bad Humor Truck: "Mr. Ice Cold" features an Ice Cream Man who takes a special interest in his customers.
- Black Comedy
- Body Horror: Gahan loves drawing mutants, aliens, and monsters.
- Humanoid Abomination: One notable cartoon has a flasher exposing his tentacled, multi-eyed, multi-mouthed torso to a terrified woman.
- Dada Comics
- Dinner Order Flub: One cartoon shows a patron with an inedible pile of ashes on his plate, while a snooty waiter says, "It's a burnt telephone book. We gave it a fancy French name and you ordered it."
- "Far Side" Island
- Fluffy Cloud Heaven: A frequent subject. One notable subversion shows some angels (basically guys in cheap costumes with cardboard wings and wire halos) standing around in a small grubby room labeled "Heaven", with one of them commenting "I expected the place to be a lot more classy!"
- Freudian Couch: This is a particular favorite with him.
- Ghost Story: "Campfire Story" centers around one that may or may not be Rewriting Reality.
- "Have a Nice Day" Smile: He hates them, feeling they represent phony or enforced good cheer. He's gone so far as to do a cartoon with a Hitler Expy whose symbol is the smiley face rather than the swastika.
- Infant Immortality: Averted constantly.
- Is Nothing Sacred?: There's a cartoon in which ornately robed monks are praying to an ornate but quite empty pedestal. A passerby utters the phrase in question.
- Living Statue: "The Marble Boy"
- Nightmare Fetishist: Gahan himself, but he also did a cartoon of a man painting a picture of horrific nightmare beings, cheerfully telling an anxious onlooker "I paint what I see!" - and this was the title of one of his cartoon collection books.
- Rage Against the Author: "The Power of The Mandarin"
- Rewriting Reality: Many of his short stories use this as a plot point.
- Santa Claus: A popular subject, usually messed with in some hilarious way (being a werewolf, being an child-harvesting alien). Word of God is that a favorite cartoon was one where a chimney sweep tells a lady "Well, we found what's been clogging your chimney since last December" as they stand over a skeletal body in a Santa Claus outfit...