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Gahan Wilson: Fifty Years of Playboy Cartoons Hardcover – October 3, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. 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.)
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*Starred Review* Along with the centerfolds and the interviews, Playboy is famous for Gahan Wilson’s cartoons, 50 years’ worth of which are aptly mounted on Playboy-size pages in this boxed set. Glowing introductions by Playboy proprietor Hugh M. Hefner and Wilson’s latter-day friend and writing partner Neil Gaiman, the five Wilson short stories Playboy has also published over the years, and a sterling profile of and interview with the artist by Comics Journal editor Gary Groth accompany the cartoons. Seldom mentioned in any of those supplements is the fact that Wilson’s presence in Playboy is quite anomalous, for Wilson nearly never touches upon sex. The sole exposure in these volumes of bare-breasted women, ubiquitous in other Playboy cartoons, is in an image of witches relaxing in their simmering cauldron, and while their breasts are pneumatic enough, they’re irrelevant to the cartoon’s point. But, a failed cartoonist himself, Hefner knew great cartooning when he saw it, and the satirical undercurrent coursing through Wilson’s work amused him as much as Wilson’s eldritch comic irony, which is wilder than but otherwise of a piece, especially in quality, with that of Wilson’s greatest peer, Charles Addams. And doubtless Hefner admired, along with the rest of Wilson’s ardent following, the flamboyant, wiggly line with which Wilson limns the hideous figures that people his panels. --Ray Olson
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Top customer reviews
Along with Humbug, also from Fantagraphics, this was certainly one of the greatest surprises of the past year. A three volume collection, and in color, featuring all the art Gahan Wilson did for Playboy from the 50's up to the present. Phew! Added bonuses are some stories Gahan Wilson wrote for Playboy and the most in depth interview with him I've ever read.
So I guess that if you wish really hard, sometimes, you'll be granted your wishes.
Now, if we could only have Nuts reprinted, it would make all of us Gahan Wilson fans so very happy.
If you like G. W., by all means get this collection. They will probably never be reprinted again, and they will only grow increasingly hard to find and be much more expensive.
If you share Wilson's odd outlook, and you know who you are, get this while you can. Indulge! Enjoy!
Gahan Wilson has a knack for telling a story in one panel. What a great collection. Get it!