Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Bill Willingham

You have no idea how much the back cover of X1 deeply impacted my 14-yo mind.

I mean... what's to be said about Bill Willingham? He's a god damn legend. And he's a legend in two distinct domains. He's legendary as one of the artists of TSR's golden age, lending his talents to such immeasurably influential works as the Moldvay/Cook/Marsh Basic and Expert D&D sets and seminal adventure modules such as X1: Isle of Dread. He's also more legendary (to the wider public) as the creator of many comic books ranging from the early 80s' Elementals to the 2000s massively popular Fables (and including the 90s' deliciously pornographic Ironwood, for which there was in fact an RPG based on the Theatrix system).

It would be easy to say Willingham is high on my list of favorites merely because of nostalgia. And it is absolutely true that this has something to do with it. If he hadn't been present in the books I was looking at as my own artistic voice developed then I would certainly not have him on my list. But there's more to it than that. Like Frank Frazetta or Vaughn Bode, Willingham's style, line work, and overall approach to the subject matter resonates with me. I love how he draws forms and shadows. And people in capes.

This front piece from X1 perfectly illustrates Willingham's wonderful use of shadows, I think.

1 comment:

  1. Oh I think I do...