Gahan Wilson

During the ’50s, departing from the good cheer of Peanuts and company, cartoonist Gahan Wilson steered his pen to the Gothic and the grotesque. His macabre comic sensibility was anti-Ike, to mock and distort the white-picket probity of the postwar years. His tamer stuff is familiar from The New Yorker, and tonight he’ll appear to discuss artwork collected in the massive Gahan Wilson: 50 Years of Playboy Cartoons (Fantagraphics, $125), some of it slightly risqué, all of it very funny. Medieval gaolers, bungling vampires, failed seducers, bewildered monsters, lost Martians, and childish mad scientists are among the recurring figures in his panels. Almost 80, Wilson continues to draw with morbid vitality, upholding the tradition of Charles Addams and continuing his influence on younger artists. It’s hard to imagine Seattle’s own Gary Larson (The Far Side) without him, and fellow ghoul Neil Gaiman has penned an introduction to the book. BRIAN MILLER

Sat., Feb. 13, 6 p.m., 2010

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