For all of you sci-fi aficionados Frank Frazetta is the pinnacle of super-hero fantastical artists, the “uber-godfather” of them all.
I had the honor of working as an apprentice sort of for Ralph Bakshi when I was still in high school and for a few days I sat in on sketching sessions with Frank Frazetta. I had no previous knowledge of his work but it was obvious he was beyond awesome. So if you love Boris Vallejo, and by the hits on my site I know you do then bask in the glory that is Frazetta!
Frank Frazetta (February 9, 1928 – May 10, 2010 was an American fantasy and science fiction artist, noted for work in comic books, paperback book covers, paintings, posters, LP recordalbum covers and other media. He was the subject of a 2003 documentary.
In 1964, Frazetta’s painting of Beatle Ringo Starr for a Mad magazine ad parody caught the eye of United Artists studios. He was approached to do the movie poster for What’s New Pussycat?,and earned the equivalent of his yearly salary in one afternoon.
Frazetta also produced paintings for paperback editions of adventure books. His interpretation of Conan visually redefined the genre of sword and sorcery, and had an enormous influence on succeeding generations of artists. From this point on, Frazetta’s work was in great demand. His covers were used for other paperback editions of classic Edgar Rice Burroughsbooks, such as those from the Tarzan and Barsoom (John Carter of Mars) series. He also did several pen and ink illustrations for many of these books. His cover art only coincidentally matched the storylines inside the books, as Frazetta once explained: “I didn’t read any of it… I drew him my way. It was really rugged. And it caught on. I didn’t care about what people thought. People who bought the books never complained about it. They probably didn’t read them.”
Once Frazetta secured a reputation, movie studios lured him to work on animated movies. Most, however, would give him participation in name only, with creative control held by others. An advertisement based on his work was animated by Richard Williams in grease pencil and paint and shown in 1978. In the early 1980s, Frazetta worked with producer Ralph Bakshi on the feature Fire and Ice, released in 1983. The realism of the animation and design replicated Frazetta’s artwork. Bakshi and Frazetta were heavily involved in the production of the live-action sequences used for the film’s rotoscoped animation, from casting sessions to the final shoot. Following the release of the film, Frazetta returned to his roots in painting and pen-and-ink illustrations. Frazetta’s paintings have been used by a number of recording artists as cover art for their albums. Molly Hatchet‘s first three albums feature “The Death Dealer“, “Dark Kingdom”, and “Berserker”, respectively. Dust‘s second album, Hard Attack, features “Snow Giants”. Nazareth used “The Brain” for its 1977 album Expect No Mercy. Frazetta also created new cover artwork for Buddy Bought the Farm, the second CD of the surf horror band “The Dead Elvi”. The U.S. Army III Corps adopted “The Death Dealer” as its mascot.
Frazetta retained the original Conan paintings, and long refused to part with them. Many were displayed at the Frazetta Museum in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. In 2009, Frazetta’s “Conan the Conqueror” painting, the first to be offered for sale, was purchased for $1 million.
Frazetta died of a stroke on May 10, 2010, in a hospital near his residence in Florida.