It's not been a happy day for comics fans today, with the death of legendary artist Bernie Wrightson at the age of sixty eight.
I must confess that, thanks to pure happenstance, my childhood acquaintance with Bernie Wrightson's work was all but non-existent, thanks to me never having encountered any comics drawn by him.
Instead, I first encountered him via the book The Studio which featured a collection of his work alongside that of Barry Smith, Mike Kaluta and Jeffrey Jones and, even to my untutored eyes, it was obvious at once that Wrightson's work possessed a remarkable mixture of style, character, mood, dark humour and technical expertise that went far beyond and above the norm. Some artists, through sheer force of talent, make it impossible for you to ignore them and Bernie Wrightson was one of them.
*Also above and beyond the norm, in its own way, was 2000 AD which in February 1979 reached the milestone of its 100th Prog. Had anyone ever doubted that it'd make that milestone?
Not if they had any sense, they hadn't. It was clear from the start that it was a comic that had the potential to become a phenomenon - and a phenomenon it became.
But just what was it offering us in that fateful spell, thirty eight years and one month ago?
Apart from it hitting its centennial, the main points of interest are the rather belting Brian Bolland cover for Prog 98 and the fact that we get the return of Dan Dare and Sam Slade, both of whom, I think, had disappeared mid-story when we'd last seen them. Now, at last, we got our chance to find out what had happened to them.
What with this and Judge Dredd's epic Judge Cal storyline, we must all have felt we were being well and truly spoiled.