Frank Frazetta (born Frank Frazzetta (/frəˈzɛtə/); February 9, 1928 – May 10, 2010) was an American fantasy and science fiction artist, noted for comic books, paperback book covers, paintings, posters, LP record album covers and other media. He was the subject of a 2003 documentary.
Frank Frazetta self-portrait (1962)
Frank A. Frazzetta
February 9, 1928
Brooklyn, New York
|Died||May 10, 2010 (aged 82)|
Fort Myers, Florida, U.S.
|Education||Brooklyn Academy of Fine Arts|
|Known for||Illustration, painting, sculpting|
|Awards||Chesley Award (1988, 1995, 1997)|
Hugo Award (1966)
Spectrum Grand Master of Fantastic Art Award (1995)
Born Frank Frazzetta in Brooklyn, New York City, Frazetta removed one "z" from his last name early in his career to make his name seem less "clumsy". The only boy among four children, he spent much time with his grandmother, who began encouraging him in art when he was two years old. In 2010, a month before his death, he recalled that:
When I drew something, she would be the one to say it was wonderful and would give me a penny to keep going. Sometimes I had nothing left to draw on but toilet paper. As I got older, I started drawing some pretty wild things for my age. I remember the teachers were always mesmerized by what I was doing, so it was hard to learn anything from them. So I went to art school when I was a little kid, and even there the teachers were flipping out.
At age eight, Frazetta attended the Brooklyn Academy of Fine Arts, a small art school run by instructor Michel Falanga. "[H]e didn't teach me anything, really," Frazetta said in 1994. "He'd come and see where I was working, and he might say, 'Very nice, very nice. But perhaps if you did this or that.' But that's about it. We never had any great conversations. He spoke very broken English. He kind of left you on your own. I learned more from my friends there."
In 1944, at age 16, Frazetta, who had "always had this urge to be doing comic books", began working in comics artist Bernard Baily's studio doing pencil clean-ups. His first comic-book work was inking the eight-page story "Snowman", penciled by John Giunta, in the one-shot Tally-Ho Comics (Dec. 1944), published by Swappers Quarterly and Almanac/Baily Publishing Company. It was not standard practice in comic books during this period to provide complete credits, so a comprehensive listing of Frazetta's work is difficult to ascertain. His next confirmed comics works are two signed penciled-and-inked pieces in Prize Comics' Treasure Comics #7 (July 1946): the four-page "To William Penn founder of Philadelphia..." and the single page "Ahoy! Enemy Ship!", featuring his character Capt. Kidd Jr. In a 1991 interview in The Comics Journal, Frazetta credited Graham Ingels as the first one in the comic book industry to recognize his talent, and to give him jobs at Standard Comics in 1947.
Frazetta was soon drawing comic books in many genres, including Westerns, fantasy, mystery, and historical drama. Some of his earliest work was in funny animal comics, which he signed as "Fritz". For Dell's subsidiary company, Famous Funnies, Frazetta did war and human interest stories for Heroic Comics, as well as one pagers extolling the virtues of prayer and the evils of drug abuse. In comics like Personal Love and Movie Love, he did romance and celebrity stories, including a biography of Burt Lancaster.
In the early 1950s, he worked for EC Comics, National Comics (including the superhero feature "Shining Knight"), Avon Comics, and several other comic book companies. Much of his work in comic books was done in collaboration with friend Al Williamson and occasionally his mentor Roy G. Krenkel.
Noticed because of his work on the Buck Rogers covers for Famous Funnies, Frazetta started working with Al Capp on Capp's comic strip Li'l Abner. Frazetta was also producing his own strip, Johnny Comet at this time, as well as assisting Dan Barry on the Flash Gordon daily strip.
In 1961, after nine years with Capp, Frazetta returned to comic books. He also helped Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder on three stories of the bawdy parody strip Little Annie Fanny in Playboy magazine.
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. He did several other movie posters.
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 Burroughs books, 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."
After this time, most of Frazetta's work was commercial in nature, including paintings and illustrations for movie posters, book jackets, and calendars. Primarily, these were in oil, but he also worked with watercolor, ink, and pencil alone. Frazetta's work in comics during this time were cover paintings and a few comic stories in black and white for the Warren Publishing horror and war magazines Creepy, Eerie, Blazing Combat and Vampirella.
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. 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.
In the early 1980s, Frazetta created a gallery, Frazetta's Fantasy Corner, on the upper floors of a former Masonic building at the corner of South Courtland and Washington streets in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. The building also housed a Frazetta art museum that displayed both his own work and, in a separate gallery, that of other artists. From 1998 to 1999, Quantum Cat Entertainment published the magazine Frank Frazetta Fantasy Illustrated, with cover art and some illustrations by Frazetta. In his later life, Frazetta was plagued by a variety of health problems, including a thyroid condition that went untreated for many years. A series of strokes left his right arm almost completely paralyzed. He taught himself to paint and draw with his left hand. He was the subject of the 2003 feature documentary Frank Frazetta: Painting With Fire.
By 2009, Frazetta was living on a 67-acre (0.27 km2; 0.105 sq mi) estate in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, with a small museum that is open to the public. On July 17, 2009, his wife and business partner, Eleanor "Ellie" Frazetta, died after a year-long battle with cancer. He then hired Rob Pistella and Steve Ferzoco to handle his business affairs.
By December 2009, Frazetta's son, Alfonso Frank Frazetta, 52, known as Frank Jr., sold his local professional golf shop and preserved 90 paintings to display in the Frazetta museum in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Frank Jr. and Ellie had run the family business until Ellie's death, when infighting over the paintings began. Frank Jr.maintains he was trying to prevent the paintings from being sold, per the wishes of his father, who he says had given him power of attorney over his estate. After siblings Billy Frazetta, Holly Frazetta Taylor, and Heidi Grabin filed a lawsuit against Frank Jr. in March 2010, claiming misappropriation of their father's work, which they said the artist had transferred to a company controlled by those three, the family issued a statement on April 23, 2010, that said, "all of the litigation surrounding his family and his art has been resolved. All of Frank's children will now be working together as a team to promote his ... collection of images...."
Frazetta died of a stroke on May 10, 2010, in a hospital near his residence in Florida. As of 2017, Frank Frazetta Jr. and his wife Lori are the sole owners of the estate property. They continue to keep the Frazetta museum open to the public - complete with guided tours, with the 90 remaining paintings on rotating display as well as Frazetta's earlier work including timed illustration studies and his childhood artwork.
Frazetta has influenced many artists within the genres of fantasy and science fiction. Yusuke Nakano, a lead artist for Nintendo's Legend of Zelda series, cites Frazetta as an influence. Fantasy artist and musician Joseph Vargo cites Frazetta as a primary influence, and his art calendars since 1998 mark Frazetta's birthday. Chris Perna, art director at Epic Games, stated in an interview in 2011 that Frazetta was one of his influences. Other artists influenced by Frazetta include comics artist such as Marc Silvestri and Shelby Robertson.
As of 2013, Holly Frazetta's collection was traveling throughout the U.S. with public showings at comics conventions. She also co-founded Frazetta Girls LLC alongside daughter Sara Frazetta in 2014. The Frazetta Girls company operates as a web store for official Frank Frazetta merchandise, and has a large social media presence for daily postings of Frazetta's work.
Year and date painted
Source unless otherwise noted:
Beatin' the Odds is the third studio album by American southern rock band Molly Hatchet, released in 1980. This is the first album with new vocalist Jimmy Farrar, who replaced Danny Joe Brown. A remastered edition of the album was issued in 2008 by Rock Candy Records, with four live bonus tracks and extensive liner notes. The remastering was directed by famous British producer Jon Astley. The album was also reissued under the SPV/Steamhammer label in 2013 and only included the original tracks.
The cover art for the album was "Conan the Conqueror" by Frank Frazetta.Both Sides of Herman's Hermits
Both Sides of Herman's Hermits is the fourth album released by MGM Records in the U.S. and Canada for the band Herman's Hermits. It was released in August 1966. Val Valentin was the recording supervisor. The original artwork was by Frank Frazetta. In October 1966, the band's UK label, EMI/Columbia, released an album of the same name but with different artwork and track listing. The UK version was re-released on CD in 2000 by Repertoire with bonus tracks that mostly combine the two albums.Christian McGrath
Illustrator Christian McGrath is an American artist best known for his work on The Dresden Files. He was born in the Bronx in 1972 and became interested in art and illustration as a small child. In his youth, he was initially interested in comic books, but when he discovered the work of Frank Frazetta, he knew he wanted to be a book cover artist.
His work stands out for both its atmospheric qualities and its realism of weight and proportion.
McGrath received his degree from The School of Visual Arts in 1995, and spent time teaching guitar. In 2001, he started doing illustration professionally, and considers himself lucky to create art as his "real" job.Conan the Destroyer (disambiguation)
Conan the Destroyer is a 1984 film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Conan the Destroyer may also refer to:
Conan the Barbarian, the fictional character created by Robert E. Howard
Conan the Destroyer (comics), comic book based on the film
Conan the Destroyer (novel), novelization of the film by Robert Jordan
Conan the Destroyer (painting), 1971 painting by Frank FrazettaConan the Destroyer (painting)
The Destroyer is a 1971 painting by American artist Frank Frazetta. Notwithstanding the prolific use of the word "Conan" that's been attached to Frazetta's work for many years, none of his paintings bear the "Conan" name. The painting depicts Conan the Barbarian in the act of swinging an axe with dead warriors around him.Death Dealer (painting)
Death Dealer is a 1973 fantasy painting by American artist Frank Frazetta. It depicts a menacing armor-clad warrior with a horned helmet, whose facial features are obscured by shadow, atop a horse, holding a bloody bearded axe and shield. The image eventually led to spin-offs of varying merchandise, including subsequent paintings of the warrior, novels, statues, a comic book series published by Verotik and another by Image Comics, and related D&D adventures, published by Goodman Games.
Frazetta later painted several other Death Dealer paintings, including ones to be used as covers for the comic book series.Dimensions (Wolfmother)
Dimensions is the second extended play (EP) by Australian rock band Wolfmother, released on 31 January 2006. It includes a total of four tracks and two music videos; three of the four songs were previously released on the band's self-titled album (one, "Love Train", only on the international version).Expect No Mercy
Expect No Mercy is the ninth studio album by the Scottish hard rock band Nazareth, released in 1977. The original version was rejected by the label and these versions were the bonus tracks on the Salvo CD. The originally released version saw the reintroduction of a heaviness after the two previously more laid back albums.Fire and Ice (1983 film)
Fire and Ice is a 1983 American epic high fantasy adventure film directed by Ralph Bakshi. The film, a collaboration between Bakshi and Frank Frazetta, was distributed by 20th Century Fox, which also distributed Bakshi's 1977 release, Wizards. The animated feature, based on characters co-created by Bakshi and Frazetta, was made using the process of rotoscoping, in which scenes were shot in live action and then traced onto animation cels.
The screenplay was written by Gerry Conway and Roy Thomas, both of whom had written Conan stories for Marvel Comics. Background painter was James Gurney, the author and artist of the Dinotopia illustrated novels. Thomas Kinkade also worked on the backgrounds to various scenes. Peter Chung, of Aeon Flux fame, was a layout artist.Flirtin' with Disaster
Flirtin' with Disaster is the second studio album by American southern rock band Molly Hatchet, released in 1979 (see 1979 in music). In 2001, Sony Music re-issued the album under their subsidiary label Epic/Legacy with the production of Jeff Magid and four bonus tracks. It is their best-selling album.
The cover is a painting by Frank Frazetta entitled "Dark Kingdom."Hard Attack (Dust album)
Hard Attack is the second and final album by Dust, released by Kama Sutra Records in 1972. The cover art featured a previously published piece by Frank Frazetta titled "Snow Giants".Judy of the Jungle
Judy of the Jungle is a fictional character from the Golden Age of Comics; she appeared in comic books published by Nedor Comics. She first appeared in print in Exciting Comics #55 (May 1947).Molly Hatchet (album)
Molly Hatchet is the self-titled debut album by American southern rock band Molly Hatchet, released in 1978 (see 1978 in music). The cover is a painting by Frank Frazetta entitled "The Death Dealer". Starting off both the album itself and the recording career of the band, the first song famously begins with lead singer Danny Joe Brown growling "Hell yeah!"
"Dreams I'll Never See" is a cover of The Allman Brothers Band's song "Dreams" from their debut album, via Buddy Miles's reworking of the song from Them Changes (1970).National Lampoon The 199th Birthday Book
National Lampoon The 199th Birthday Book: A Tribute to the United States of America, 1776–1975 was an American humor book that was issued in 1975 in paperback. Although it appears to be a regular book, it was a "special issue" of National Lampoon magazine, and therefore was sold on newsstands rather than in bookstores. The book was a collection of new material and was not an anthology of already published material.
The "199th Birthday" of the title is a reference to the fact that in 1976 the United States celebrated its 200th birthday, (the Bicentennial), thus in 1975 when this book was published the United States was 199 years old. The cover art was photographed by Arky & Barrett was conceived and art-directed by Michael C. Gross. It shows a row of four naked female models whose skin has been colored with bodypaint so they resemble the "Betsy Ross flag" with a star for the first American states, previously the Thirteen Colonies. The three naked models on the left wear dark wigs and the one on the right has a red wig, so that even their hair reflects the pattern of the flag.
The editor of the book was Tony Hendra. Contributors included Doug Kenney, P.J. O'Rourke, Michael O'Donoghue, Frank Frazetta, Sam Gross, Bobby London, Gahan Wilson, Jeff Jones, George Evans, and the illustrator Noel Sickles.Thun'da
Thun'da is a fictional character created by artist and conceptualist Frank Frazetta for comic-book publisher Magazine Enterprises. The character debuted in Thun'da #1 (1952), with writer Gardner Fox scripting. After only a few issues the title was discontinued in 1953. The character, played by Buster Crabbe, was the main character in the 1952 Columbia Pictures serial King of the Congo.War to End All Wars (album)
War to End All Wars is the thirteenth studio album by guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen, released on 7 November 2000 through Pony Canyon (Japan), Spitfire Records (United States) and DreamCatcher Records (Europe). While on tour for this album, singer Mark Boals left the band and was replaced for a brief period by Jorn Lande; however, Boals returned to finish the tour. The instrumental song "Molto Arpeggiosa" is often mislabelled as "Arpeggios from Hell". The phrase "the war to end all wars" was historically used as a description of World War I, especially in the period from 1918 to 1939.Weird Science-Fantasy
Weird Science-Fantasy was an American science fiction-fantasy anthology comic, that was part of the EC Comics line in the early 1950s. Over a 14-month span, the comic ran for seven issues, starting in March 1954 with issue #23 and ending with issue #29 in May/June 1955.What's New Pussycat?
What's New Pussycat? is a 1965 French-American comedy film directed by Clive Donner, written by Woody Allen in his first produced screenplay, and stars Allen, Peter Sellers, Peter O'Toole, Romy Schneider, Capucine, Paula Prentiss, and Ursula Andress.
The Academy Award-nominated title song by Burt Bacharach (music) and Hal David (lyrics) was sung by Tom Jones. The movie poster was painted by Frank Frazetta, and the animated title sequence was directed by Richard Williams.Wolfmother (album)
Wolfmother is the debut studio album by Australian rock band Wolfmother, originally released on 31 October 2005 in Australia. The album was later released internationally at various dates in 2006, with the addition of "Love Train" and a rearranged track listing. Wolfmother peaked at number three on the Australian ARIA Albums Chart and was certified five times platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association. Six singles were released from Wolfmother's debut album: "Mind's Eye" (with "Woman"), "White Unicorn", "Dimension", "Woman", "Love Train" and "Joker & the Thief", the latter of which charted the highest at number eight on the ARIA Singles Chart. The album cover, which is taken from The Sea Witch by Frank Frazetta, shows a nymph standing against a blue/orange sky, on a rock, though because it displays nudity the album is sold in Wal-Mart stores with an alternate cover featuring simply the band's white logo against a black background. It is the only album to feature co-founding members Chris Ross and Myles Heskett, who left the band in August 2008.