December 10, 2011

The Art of Frankenstein : Gray Morrow

I hope I’m wrong, but I always felt that Gray Morrow was underrated. Comics fans may have preferred flashier artists, but Morrow was fast, he was reliable and he was prolific, producing realistic art for all the comic book publishers and a collection of dazzling paperback covers in a career that spanned four decades. His science fiction illustrations earned him three Hugo Awards as “Best Professional Artist” and he drew the syndicated Tarzan Sunday strip from 1983 until his untimely death in 2001.

The illustration here was found on Shades of Gray, a wonderful showcase of Morrow’s work, run by blogger Booksteve. In a rough drawing that sizzles with action, Morrow pits the Frankenstein Monster against The Heap, the original comic book “muck monster”, a template for Swamp Thing and Man-Thing.

First appearing in Hillman Comics’ Air Fighters of 1946, The Heap was a WWI ace who had died in a swamp, his body macerated and transformed into a living mass of vegetation. The character would be reconfigured, updated and re-used by various publishers, eventually landing as a menace in Todd McFarlane’s Spawn. The version illustrated by Morrow is from its early 70’s Skywald incarnation where the once indistinct blob had developed a face and a sharp-fanged mouth.

Shades of Gray blog.

Gray Morrow’s superb SON OF FRANKENSTEIN cover for Monster World magazine.


Steve Miller, Writer of Stuff said...

Morrow's finished art always seemed too stiff for my comic-book tastes, but I love the energy in that loose sketch.

David Lee Ingersoll said...

I always liked Morrow's stuff. I'd loved to have seen a finished version.

Guy Budziak said...

Morrow had the misfortune of signing on to EC Comics not long before they dissolved thanks to the inception of the Comics Code Authority. His most memorable work in my opinion was done for Warren's Creepy and Eerie magazines. His level of ability was every bit the equal of the other classic EC artists, who also found work with Warren in the mid-Sixties. Good stuff.

Anonymous said...

This post brings to mind Morrow's delightfully B-movie poster-styled cover art for Popular Library's "Frankenstein Horror Series"-- which reminds me you've not reviewed Paul W. Fairman's "The Frankenstein Wheel" yet (nor Robert J. Myers' two-book Frankenstein saga, for that matter) ... just sayin'.

wich2 said...

Mark me down as a another Morrow maven!

His poster of the original Star Trek crew, his work for the short-lived Red Circle horror comics, etc., all showed a pretty sure hand to these eyes.