Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Frank Frazetta R.I.P


Frank Frazetta the iconic fantasy artist has died, the following is from a tribute written in the New York Times by Bruce Weber.

"Frank Frazetta, an illustrator of comic books, movie posters and paperback book covers whose visions of musclebound men fighting with swords and axes to defend scantily dressed women helped define fantasy heroes like Conan, Tarzan and John Carter of Mars, died on Monday in Fort Myers, Florida. He was 82.

The cause was complications from a stroke, said Rob Pistella and Stephen Ferzoco, Mr. Frazetta’s business managers.

Mr. Frazetta was a versatile and prolific comic book artist who, in the 1940s and ’50s, drew for comic strips like Al Capp’s “Lil’ Abner” and comic books like “Famous Funnies,” for which he contributed a series of covers depicting the futuristic adventurer Buck Rogers.

His most prominent work, however, was on the cover of book jackets, where his signature images were of strikingly fierce, hard-bodied heroes and bosomy damsels in distress. In 1966, his cover of “Conan the Adventurer,” a collection of four fantasy short stories written by Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague de Camp, (top image above) depicted a brawny long-haired warrior standing in repose on top of a pile of skeletons, his sword thrust downward into the mound, an apparently naked young woman lying at his feet, hugging his ankle.

The cover created a new look for fantasy adventure novels and established Mr. Frazetta as an artist who could sell books. He illustrated many more Conan books (including “Conan the Conqueror,” “Conan the Usurper” and “Conan the Avenger”) and works by Edgar Rice Burroughs (including “John Carter and the Savage Apes of Mars” and “Tarzan and the Antmen”).

"Paperback publishers have been known to buy one of his paintings for use as a cover, then commission a writer to turn out a novel to go with it,” The New York Times reported in 1977, the same year that a collection of his drawings, “The Fantastic Art of Frank Frazetta,” sold more than 300,000 copies."

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