Midnight 19: Bernie Wrightson Tribute

Midnight...The Podcasting Hour celebrates the work of horror master Bernie Wrightson one year after his passing. First, PJ Frightful recalls Wrightson's first published work for DC Comics, "The Man Who Murdered Himself" from House of Mystery #179. After that Ryan Daly welcomes guest hosts Sean Ross to discuss "The Secret of the Egyptian Cat" from House of Mystery #186, Jimmy McGlinchey for "All in the Family" from House of Mystery #204, and Siskoid for Swamp Thing #3.


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Music produced by Neil Daly. Additional music: "Burnin' for You" by Blue Oyster Cult.

Thanks for listening!

16 responses to “Midnight 19: Bernie Wrightson Tribute

  1. Brilliant episode with excellent guests – I hope PJ Frightful enjoyed the taste of fresh meat. Siskoid is always great value, Sean was a delight and Jimmy a total treat… I’ve wanted to hear his Irish tones on one of the shows for awhile. Thanks for all the great insights, chaps.

    I’ve never read ‘All in the Family’, full marks to Jimmy for the research… Mary Skrenes, eh? Wonder if the story title was a nod to that US sitcom which began the previous year, 1971, based on our ‘Til Death Us Do Part. Ploog’s art in that one certainly shows him trying to find his feet, it usually works but occasionally is just too weird – Fred looks like he has a plastic bag over his head.

    And good on Sean for pointing out the Sandman link to The Secret of the Egyptian Cat… of course!

    Siskoid on Wrightson’s inking style and light effects was most illuminating.

    As regards Egmont UK’s Shockwave mag, it just didn’t survive on the UK newsstands… maybe we got it wrong, but I remember that getting display space from the main distributor was a bugger, without handing over huge wodges of cash. We did another spooky (not Ookey!) book, Zones. That flopped too!

    Can’t wait for the next show!

    1. You are very kind Martin. Shockwave was a great entry in the newstands and it is a pity it did not last so long. I remember seeing the ads for the vrious titles (Superman/JLI, Batman, Shockwave and DC Heroes) and seeing that Doom Patrol was going to be a future part of the Shockwave title was a tantalising peek which unfortunately never happened due to the title’s cancellation.

  2. So let me get this straight–I was blackballed from this episode in favor of these these jokers?!? WTF!

    JK of course, this was a great show and I loved hearing the new voices (to this show, at least). Sean’s F13th story was simply AMAZING, and Jimmy McGlinchey sounded exactly like I hoped someone with that name would.

    Bernie Wrightson was one of the first comic artists whose style I could pick out at a young age, and I loved it from the beginning. I’m a proud BerniBro.

    Swamp Thing #3 was, strangely enough, the subject of an episode of that Nickelodeon show Video Comics, which was aimed at very young kids. Why this gruesome, blood-soaked tale was deemed appropriate for the show I know not, but it may have been the first time I ever saw the original ST comic and I still remember how beautiful BW’s work looked up close on my TV.

    Great to have this show back!

    1. There’s my claim to fame now – I was picked over the legendary Rob Kelly for this episode! Thanks for the kind words Rob 🙂

  3. Another great episode by Ryan with some great guests……..but who was that Irish bloke in the middle? 😉

    Seriously, it was a great honour to be involved in the show and Ryan did a great job leading me through my first participation in a podcast. To be involved in a show commemorating a legend like Bernie Wrightson was a treat and hopefully we will hear about more of Wrightson’s work in future podcasts. (And, uh, if the Knightcast and the JLI Podcast want to do specials commemorating Wrightson’s work in the Cult and the Weird respectively, I would love to see them do it, if possible!)

    While listening to my portion of the podcast was a surreal experience (Do I really sound like that? lol), both Sean and Siskoid’s section were very entertaining and informative. Sean linking the “Secret of the Egyptian Cat” to the Gaiman/Jones story in Sandman was genius, and it was great to hear Siskoid and Ryan cover another story in the Swamp Thing saga. Finally, a bonus PJ Frightful tale covering a Wrightson’s story was the icing on the cake.

    Thanks again Ryan for a great podcast and I look forward to hearing the next episode of Midnight sometime in the future.

  4. Great tribute to Wrightson! Sean and Jimmy were great guests, and Siskoid’s okay too. 😉

    You and Siskoid brought up the Patchwork Man solo story in House of Secrets. I remember reading a Back Issue article on that, I believe by DC historian John Wells. The story ends in a cliffhanger and the ending was never published in the US. HoS was cancelled for a few months, and when it came back, DC didn’t print the 2nd part, perhaps because the story involved an abortion clinic. It was printed by one of DC’s European publishers in the 80s I believe.

    Interesting how many folks came to Bernie through The Weird and The Cult, which were the first comics I owned that he did a lot of work on, but my then brother-in-law had every Swamp Thing appearance and lots of the DC horror anthologies, so I was able to read all of his vintage copies. Good times, and great comics.


  5. I got to listen to the Sean segment driving home from work, at Midnight! Very serendipitous. If I had been on the ball I could have listened to Jimmy’s segment on St. Patrick’s Day! Missed it by one!
    I recall when I got the first re-print of the Wein-Wrightson Swamp Thing issues (DC Special Series #2 Summer ’77, #14 Summer ’78, #17 Summer ’79, #20 Fall ’79), the introduction stated that Len and Berni were deliberately paying homage the classic Universal Monsters. Minor details like; the feasibility of a small plane’s ability to cross the Atlantic, the motivations and jurisdiction of an FBI man, the physics of a castle built on top of an abyss in a mountain, were probably not given much consideration. Berni liked to draw creepy castles and Un-Men, so let’s find an excuse for him to do so!
    As the podcast is not a visual medium, most of the focus of a podcast like this is on the plot of the stories. However, you all did a great job discussing and analyzing Wrightson’s art. I encourage you to go further, Ryan. Please don’t hesitate, as you continue to look at these horror stories, to talk about perspective in the panels, the weight of lines, the use of shadows, the pacing of the images. Wrightson was certainly a master of these things but even lesser acclaimed artists brought a lot of skill to these tales.
    Keep ’em coming, Ryan! We’ll wait!

  6. A very fine tribute to Mr. Wrightson, but especially Sean’s story about using Wrightson’s art as a visual aid during his English classes – man, why didn’t I have teachers like that when I was in high school?

  7. I’ve known of Bernie Wrightson by reputation for a long time, but never really read any of his books growing up. So, I really enjoyed this retrospective episode, and the new voices (along with the people behind them) that you brought on the show for this tribute.

    I particularly liked the artwork for “The Secret of the Egyptian Cat.” I agree that the transformation sequences are incredibly dynamic, and I love the expressive nature of the priestess in her cat form. My family has an old cat, and my wife and daughter swear that he has different expressions, but I can’t differentiate between them. If our cat was as expressive as Wrightson’s, then I would totally agree with them.

    Finally, I believe that Ryan is correct in assuming the bicarbonate referred to in “All in the Family” is sodium bicarbonate. In the kitchen, it is known as baking soda, but, in the medicine cabinet, it can be mixed with water to serve as an antacid. I’m guessing Gloria is referring to the latter use.

  8. Finally got a chance to catch up on a few podcasts this weekend, including this episode of MIDNIGHT. WOW!! A fantastic tribute and a fantastic episode!!

    Some of my favorite podcasters, and Ryan!! Loved Sean’s story about the students tattoo! Wow. To make that kind of impression on a teenager is really hard. I could use some pointers with my own teenager. 🙂

    And an excellent debut for Jimmy McGlinchy!! True story, I booked Jimmy for the JLI Podcast many, many months ago. However, his issue is still far in the future for coverage, so Ryan swooped in and snatch up Jimmy, giving him his podcasting debut. So glad he did! Great job, Jimmy!!

    Hope we hear more MIDNIGHT sooner vs later. *cough* *cough* *Spectre* *cough* *cough*

  9. First of all, I have never really read any of DC’s horror anthology titles. With that said Ryan, you and your guests always do an amazing job creating such a word picture that while I do want to go out and find these issues, I don’t need to in order to follow along with the story. Also, I’m not sure what I enjoyed more from Sean. His first experience with a horror movie or hearing how he taught Frankenstein. Now that’s a class I would have paid attention to!

    As for “All In The Family”, I think I enjoyed it a bit more than you guys. I really liked how every time I thought it was going to go cliche, it didn’t. I did agree at first how the plot didn’t fully work but as I was listening to the rest of the episode it started to make sense to me.

    Fred was taking them to the house intentionally. That seemed pretty obvious to me. Now unless Mary has a history of prophetic dreams, there is no reason for that. Unless we assume that Gloria and Ookie can sent “visions”. So Fred gets a vision of Mary being eaten, while he appears to be all cozy with Gloria. At the same time Mary has her dream. Now Fred has a reason to believe in these dreams and drive out to the swamp. Yes I know I am going a bit “off page” but it’s the only thing that makes sense to me.

    Onto Swamp Thing. I really need to reread that trade I have of those first 10 issues. I don’t think I gave them the consideration they deserve when I read them years ago. Is Siskoid going to be the new Swamp Partner?

    As for my first experience with Wrightson, it was in the Spider-Man graphic novel, “Hooky”.

      1. Well that bites (except for that one issue)! I do hope Ryan is able to continue doing the Swamp Thing issues at some point.

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