Wilson's cartoons and illustrations are drawn in a playfully grotesque style, and have a dark humor that is often compared to the work of The New Yorker cartoonist and Addams Family creator Charles Addams. But while both men sometimes feature vampires, graveyards and other traditional horror elements in their work, Addams's cartoons tended to be more gothic, reserved and old-fashioned, while Wilson's work is more contemporary, gross, and confrontational, featuring atomic mutants, subway monsters, and serial killers. It could be argued that Addams's work was probably meant to be funny without a lot of satirical intent, while Wilson often has a very specific point to make.
His cartoons and prose fiction have appeared regularly in Playboy, Collier's Weekly, The New Yorker and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. For the last he also wrote some movie and book reviews. He has been a movie review columnist for The Twilight Zone Magazine and a book critic for Realms of Fantasy magazine.
His comic strip Nuts, which appeared in National Lampoon, was a reaction against what he saw as the saccharine view of childhood in strips like Peanuts. His hero The Kid sees the world as a dark, dangerous and unfair place, but just occasionally a fun one too.
Wilson also wrote and illustrated a short story for Harlan Ellison's anthology Again, Dangerous Visions. The "title" is a black blob, and the story is about an ominous black blob that appears on the page, growing at an alarming rate, until... He has contributed short stories to other publications as well; "M1" and "The Zombie Butler" both appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and were reprinted in Gahan Wilson's Cracked Cosmos.
Additionally, Gahan Wilson created a computer game titled Gahan Wilson's The Ultimate Haunted House, in conjunction with Byron Preiss. The goal is to collect 13 keys in 13 hours from the 13 rooms of a house, by interacting in various ways with characters (such as a two-headed monster, a mad scientist, and a vampiress), objects, and the house itself.
He received the World Fantasy Convention Award in 1981, and the National Cartoonist Society's Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.
Gahan Wilson is the subject of a feature length documentary film, Gahan Wilson: Born Dead, Still Weird, directed by Steven-Charles Jaffe.
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- Harry and the Sea Serpent (Gahan Wilson)
- Meeting Harry (Harry's Adventures Book 1) (Gahan Wilson)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5, Part 1) (Gahan Wilson)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2) (Gahan Wilson)
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- The Harry Bosch Novels, Volume 1 (Harry Bosch, #1-3) (Gahan Wilson)
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- The Harry Potter trilogy (Harry Potter, #1-3) (Gahan Wilson)
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