Saturday, 7 March 2009

Gray Morrow

And I'm still a day behind. March 7th ( Saturday ) was Gray Morrow's birthday. Gray was one of those great old school illustrators who produced hundreds of book covers during his career, but occasionally ventured into comics too.
He had a lean, realistic style, and though his work looks great in black & white, it looked absolutely incredible in colour. He did loads of stuff for Warren & Joe Orlando's DC horror titles, but one of my favourite things of his was this book he produced for Byron Preiss:

Published in 1978, The Illustrated Zelazny contained adaptations of martian romance A Rose For Ecclesiastes:

Venusian monster tale The Doors Of His Face, The Lamps Of His Mouth:

Planet-hopping epic The Furies:

And a new adventure for Zelazny's fantasy character Shadowjack, along with some superb portfolio's. Morrow's work is stunning throughout, and his use of colour breathtaking.

Gray was a huge fan of the old swashbuckling movies of the '30's, like The Adventures of Robin Hood and The Prisoner Of Zenda. There's a great story in Twomorrow's book Streetwise, of Gray and a pal regularly going out into Central Park with a couple of foils, and practicing their fencing moves, usually before an appreciative audience of park goers.
One time, the two were swashbuckling away, when they noticed a distinguished looking gentleman watching them intently. Looking again, Gray realized his sword skills were being gauged by none other than Guy Of Gisbourne/Sherlock Holmes himself - Basil Rathbone!

Gray indulged his passion for swashing buckles with Orion, a fantasy epic that ran in Heavy Metal, and starred Errol Flynn as the lead character:

One of the last things he did in comics was the Orion like Edge Of Chaos, for Pacific.

Cruelly, Gray suffered from palsy, a disease that took from him the ability to draw, and in 2001, after months of despondency over his illness, Gray Morrow sadly took his own life.


  1. Sad. I don't think I ever knew Gray was a suicide. Some of the best comics and poster art ever!

  2. Did you know that THE FURIES chapter of the Zelazny book was pencilled by Michael Golden?

  3. I didn't know that, but it makes perfect sense when you look at it. Did Golden train with Morrow then?

  4. That's sad to hear about Morrow. He was always one of my favourites.

    I'm loving this blog btw. Great stuff.

  5. I only just now found out that Morrow was the art director on the later seasons of the 1960s Spider-Man show (the episodes directed by Ralph Bakshi and produced by Krantz Animation...not sure if he had anything to do with the earlier season done by Grantray). So I've seen his art my whole life without really knowing it.

  6. Edge of Chaos was cool.

  7. Gray Morrow is a very overlooked genius. Would love to see a big collection of his comic book work.

  8. Would love to see a book reproducing Morrow's best work, preferably from the originals. What a wonderful illustrator!

  9. Especially his Perry Rhodan paperback covers!!!