A new show of the art of Basil Wolverton is hanging in New York's Barbara Gladstone Gallery (515 West 24th Street, Chelsea; (212) 206-9300) until Aug 14. The New York Times has a nice potted history (with slideshow) of MAD Magazine's grossest and funniest illustrator to accompany the show.
The Wolverton material best suited to a general audience, though, may be his Bible illustrations, which he was doing in the 1950s and '60s, concurrently with his early Mad work. In 1941 he had become a member of a Protestant sect called the Radio Church of God, later the Worldwide Church of God. He was ordained as an elder in 1943, and as his contribution to the sect he illustrated some of its apocalyptically minded publications, as well as the biblical account of the earth's final days.
Several of his end-of-the-world pictures are in the show, and they're wild. Plagues descend on the sin-ridden human race. Bodies break out in disfiguring boils. Faces burn, shrivel and stretch into masks of fear. In this context even the ultra-bonkers cartoons Wolverton did in the 1960s and '70s for the post-underground Gjdrkzlxcbwq Comics and DC Comics make sense.
Slideshow: The Michelangelo of Mad Magazine
- Basil Wolverton's Bible: the putting the grotesque into the Old …
- Art from Basil Wolverton's Bible – Boing Boing
- Basil Wolverton's Culture Corner — HOWTOs for modern living from …
- Exhibit of cartoonist Basil Wolverton's work – Boing Boing
- Powerhouse Pepper comic book stories, by Basil Wolverton – Boing Boing
- Basil Wolverton was a comic – Boing Boing