Wednesday, February 28, 2007

An Interview with Berni Wrightson part 1

Well, I got slightly over a page of this typed in, and it was at a good stopping point, so here's the start of the interview courtesy of Joel.

An Interview with Berni Wrightson
Originally published in CFA-APA #5 (June 30, 1986)

BERNI WRIGHTSON INTERVIEW conducted by Joel Pollack on May 15, 1986.

JP: Do you have a distaste for barbarian subject matter?

BW: No, the real early stuff I did before ever being published was exclusively barbarian and horror. I did a lot of drawings of these big powerful guys with scars all over them. I did some samples for Conan when Marvel was going to do it, but they already had Barry Smith.

JP: They wanted a more gentlemanly Conan?

BW: I guess. Or someone they could push around more. Barry’ll love that. I might take another swing at it sometime.

JP: After Frazetta did the Conan covers, there’s not a lot left to say about it.

BW: There doesn’t seem to be any need for it. He was at his peak. I don’t think he ever got much better than that.

JP: What was the print run on A Look Back?

BW: I couldn’t really tell you. It turned into such a headache. Poor Chris (Zavisa) went through sheer hell. I just tuned it all out when it was happening. All I know is – it’s out of print; you can’t get it; there won’t be another printing.

JP: Any possibility of an abridged version?

BW: I have absolutely no plans. I really couldn’t be less interested. Please tell the fans I’m sorry, but I’d rather get on with the next project. If somebody came to me and wanted to take the project on and do all the legwork and worry about the reproduction and all of that, and just give me a pot of money, that would be fine. I’m not going to strain myself over that.

JP: What of your work showed up in Ghostbusters?

BW: I worked on the Wardogs and it’s hard to tell anymore. It looks like they kept my proportions for the dogs, and not much else. They originally came to me with drawings that other people had done and the dogs looked very much the way they looked in the movie. They said, “We don’t want this reptilian look, we want something that looks a little more like a dog. Put some fur on it and make it more wolf-like.” So, I worked on that, did a lot of drawings, and when the movie comes out they just changed it back to what they told me they didn’t want in the first place. Something of mind did come through: the faces, the facial expressions, mostly the proportions; high in the shoulders, low in the back. I also worked on the librarian sequence; I did a long sequence of her changing. She went through this long change; the way I saw it, it was to have lasted four seconds. They didn’t do it mostly because they didn’t have the budget for it. Ghostbusters was not really a big budget movie in the effects line. They were trying to save money in this. The only thing that survived is when she hushes the guide. That was in my storyboards.

JP: How many finished Frankenstein drawings did you do?

BW: The original idea was to do a hundred. I did somewhere between forty and a hundred; I’d put it about sixty. There are quite a few out there that are unfinished; a lot of those are versions of ones that did get finished. I really made myself crazy on that stuff. be continued in part 2
and part 3.

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