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Morrissey, Dean W

Entry updated 7 October 2022. Tagged: Artist.

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(1951-2021) American artist, latterly most often credited as Dean Morrissey. The self-trained Morrissey began his professional career with three covers for Dragon magazine in 1978, 1979, and 1980, and in 1986 he started to receive regular assignments to paint book covers. His covers for Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois's anthology Sorcerers! (anth 1986) and John Morressy's five-volume Kedrigern series introduce a recurring figure in his work, the elderly wizard with a large white beard, also observed on his covers for Kevin J Anderson's Gamearth trilogy and for his recent children's book The Wizard Mouse (2011). From the beginning, Morrissey's paintings were distinguished by the extraordinary detail of his realistic renderings of fantastic scenes, made possible in part by his decision to paint on unusually large canvases; for example, his cover for Morressy's first Kedrigern book, A Voice for Princess (1986), impressively displays the variegated clutter on and surrounding the wizard's bookshelf, including old books, an antique globe, a lantern, a half-burnt candle, and a tiny dragon in a birdcage. As these titles indicate, Morrissey primarily specialized in illustrating works of Fantasy, which were especially suitable for his antiquarian style, though he also produced a memorable cover for a 1988 edition of Richard Matheson's The Shrinking Man (1956), showing a tiny man wielding a needle and scissors as weapons as he stands next to a can of paint. He could also display a sense of humour in paintings like his cover for Bill Fawcett's anthology Cats in Space and Other Places (anth 1992), wherein two felines are preparing to launch a homemade Rocket assembled from various pieces of junk.

Since such works also suggested that Morrissey might be especially good at paintings for children, it was perhaps to be expected that he would then move in that direction by writing and illustrating a children's book, Ship of Dreams (1994), which garnered widespread acclaim and persuaded Morrissey to henceforth specialize in that area. He produced four sequels to Ship of Dreams as well as individual titles, some in collaboration with the writer Stephen Krensky, and in addition earned a considerable income by selling his original paintings and limited-edition prints. His work won four Chesley Awards. [GW]

Dean W Morrissey

born Boston, Massachusetts: October 1951

died 4 March 2021



Joey/Magic Door

  • Ship of Dreams (New York: Harry N Abrams, 1994) [children's book: illus/hb/Dean W Morrissey]
  • The Great Kettles: A Tale of Time (New York: Harry N Abrams, 1997) [children's book: illus/hb/Dean W Morrissey]
  • The Christmas Ship (New York: HarperCollins, 2000) [children's book: illus/hb/Dean W Morrissey]
  • The Moon Robbers (New York: HarperCollins, 2000) with Stephen Krensky [children's book: "The Magic Door Book 1": illus/hb/Dean W Morrissey]
  • The Winter King (New York: HarperCollins, 2003) with Stephen Krensky [children's book: illus/hb/Dean W Morrissey]

individual titles

  • The Monster Trap (New York: HarperCollins, 2004) with Stephen Krensky [children's book: illus/hb/Dean W Morrissey]
  • The Crimson Comet (New York: HarperCollins, 2006) with Stephen Krensky [children's book: also reportedly published as Moonlighters to the Rescue, edition not traced: illus/hb/Dean W Morrissey]
  • The Wizard Mouse (New York: HarperCollins, 2011) with Stephen Krensky [children's book: illus/hb/Dean W Morrissey]


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