Bernie Wrightson: The Walking Dead Season Finale Honors Mystery Man, Who Is He?

Bernie Wrightson was honored with a special “In Loving Memory Of” plaque on the season finale of The Walking Dead, leaving fans to wonder who this mystery person is. The Inquisitr is here with the answer for you.

As the Independent reports, Bernie Wrightson was a comic book artist who created, among other things, The Swamp Thing. His influence on writing, and drawing, sci-fi, and horror in the comic medium extended to The Walking Dead executive producer, director, and makeup guru Greg Nicotero. Nicotero honored his mentor with a “walker” in an episode last season.

BEFORE! Something I’ve wanted to do on the show for some time to take walkers look even further…remove area under the ribs and nose and alas Scott wrote “Wrightson” walker in the script as a tribute to the zombie artwork of genius Bernie Wrightson @amcthewalkingdead @thewalkingdeadamc #berniewrightson #twd

A post shared by Greg Nicotero (@gnicotero) on

Wrightson died of cancer on March 18 at the age of 68. Wrightson’s widow, Liz, made the announcement on Wrightson’s website.

“It is with great sorrow that I must announce the passing of my beloved husband, Bernie. We thank you for all the years of love and support.”

According to his obituary, Wrightson was a largely self-taught artist who developed an interest in the art form by reading comic books as a child. By 1968 he had scored a freelance writing gig for DC Comics.

By the middle 1970’s Wrightson was an established comic book artist, having co-created characters The Swamp Thing and Destiny. Later, he would create artistic treatments of the works of Edgar Allen Poe and H.P Lovecraft, paving the way for a later career in horror and horror comics. He continued to focus largely on horror, doing treatments for Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein and later collaborating with modern horror master Stephen King.

Bustle writer Leah Thomas says that Wrightson influenced not only the creative team behind AMC’s television adaptation of the original graphic novels but also on the franchise’s creators themselves, writer Robert Kirkman and artist Tony Moore.

“His gothic and often black and white style is a clear inspiration for the original Walking Dead comics. While he wasn’t directly associated with the story, it’s nice that the show honored one of the giants whose shoulders it stands upon.”

Bernie Wrightson is not the first person to be honored on a TV show by someone they influenced; in fact, several TV shows contain, or have contained, references to people the show’s creative team(s) have admired. In some cases, they’re more obvious than others.

For example, Adam Goldberg, the producer of The Goldbergs, ends every episode with a “Dedicated To” plaque. He’s honored the baseball stadium where his beloved Philadelphia Phillies used to play; he’s honored Lucky, the family dog; and he’s honored childhood friends who have informed various episodes. In fact, those friends, now adults, often appear in episodes as actors, acting alongside children and teenagers who are portraying them as, well, children and teenagers.

Similarly, The Big Bang Theory contains a huge honor right there in the names of its two main characters, Leonard Hofstadter and Sheldon Cooper. As American Profile notes, the characters’ names are derived from Sheldon Leonard, the 1960’s-era producer and actor behind The Andy Griffith Show, The Danny Thomas Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and other classics of the 60s and 70s.

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