Morrow, Gray

Tagged: Art

Working name of American artist Dwight Graydon Morrow (1934-2001). After some brief training in Chicago, Morrow moved to New York in the 1950s and began drawing for Comics, which largely remained the focus of his entire career; among other early assignments, he did some work for Atlas Comics, soon to be rechristened Marvel Comics, and three issues of Classics Illustrated, one being a 1961 adaptation of Jules Verne's Master of the World (1904 as Maître du monde; trans 1911 as Master of the World). His many later projects included work for Warren Publishing's Eerie, Creepy and Blazing Western, stories in DC Comics's House of Mystery and House of Secrets, and the first adventures of the Marvel antihero Man-Thing; he also briefly did the Buck Rogers comic strip and, from 1983 until his death, the Sunday Tarzan strip.

Morrow officially moved into sf art with some interior art for the August 1963 issue of Worlds of Tomorrow, and he also painted the cover of its June 1964 issue, showing an explorer on a snowy mountain threatened by a creature represented only by a tiger-striped hand. In addition to covers for other magazines like Fantastic, If, Galaxy, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Morrow also began painting book covers, first for Avalon and later for Ace Books, Avon Books, and Ballantine Books. Typical Morrow covers would foreground realistically drawn human figures against a misty, more stylized background, though there were interesting exceptions like his 1966 cover for John W Campbell Jr's Invaders from the Infinite (1961), showing an enormous space dragon threatening a Spaceship; he also matched the psychedelic ambience of Chester Anderson's The Butterfly Kid (1967) with brightly-coloured, comic book-style drawings on the wings of a butterfly. Among other covers during this period, he provided Ace's five volume compilation of Neil R Jones's Professor Jameson adventures (1967-1968) with imaginatively diverse covers.

As a sign of his growing prominence in the field, Morrow was nominated for the Hugo as Best Professional Artist in 1966, 1967, and 1968. However, he never received another nomination, probably due to another project he undertook in 1968 – to provide the covers for Ace's series of translated Perry Rhodan novels, which eventually numbered more than 100 volumes. Some of these covers are quite good – he worked especially hard to provide the one-hundredth volume with a memorable cover showing three coloured scenes within a large "100" that included an image of series editor Forrest J Ackerman. But the association with these undistinguished Space Operas could not have helped Morrow's reputation. Still, after abandoning the series in 1976, Morrow did a few more sf book covers before returning to full-time work in the comics, and he completed one widely acclaimed project that drew upon his background in both sf and comics – the Graphic Novel The Illustrated Roger Zelazny (graph coll 1978). [PN/GW]

Dwight Graydon Morrow

born Fort Wayne, Indiana: 7 March 1934

died 6 November 2001

works as illustrator

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