Sunday, May 10, 2015

Frank Frazetta: In Memoriam to an Artistic Giant

Frank Frazetta
On this day five years ago the world lost a great artist. Robert E. Howard fans lost the single most influential artist to elevate Howard's character Conan the Cimmerian into a rejuvenated and unprecedented limelight. On May 10th 2010, Frank Frazetta died. Frazetta left an enduring legacy of amazing art that has only gained momentum and popularity since his death.

 I have told this story a gazillion times, but it was Frank Frazetta's artwork on a 1981 Ace mass market paperback book that I discovered Conan, and thus Robert E. Howard. The artwork is one of his most famous Conan pieces. It illustrated Howard's story Rogues in the House. And to this day I can still remember, quite vividly, my reaction to that cover on that small paperback book. I've been a Robert E. Howard and Frank Frazetta fan ever since.

Frank Frazetta's "Manape" illustration used for
Robert E. Howard's Rogues in the House
To say that Frazetta's artwork is great is actually doing it an injustice. Frazetta's artwork is not merely great. It is beyond great. It is magnificent. The detail he provided captured millions of people's imaginations. It also captured thousands of other artists imagination, influencing them in immeasurable ways. Over his lifetime, Frazetta's artwork has appeared on/in countless book covers, magazines, sculptures, fanzines, comic books, in films (e.g. Fire and Ice), in art galleries, posters, LP record covers, t-shirts, and so many other places. Hundreds of books collecting his works have been published. Most recently film writer and director Robert Rodriguez has traveled around the U.S. displaying and promoting Frazetta's work. Rodriguez has the single largest collection of Frazetta's original artwork, which was recently on display at SXSW in Austin, TX. Another staple in promoting Frazetta's artwork in printed collective form is J. David Spurlock. Spurlock has helped edit several high quality Frazetta book collections. At various comic cons, and other sci-fi/fantasy shows, Spurlock sets up booths to promote and sell not only Weird Tales collections, but Frazetta collections as well. I have bought several collections from Spurlock at several different comic cons over the last 8 years.

More importantly, Frazetta's family continues to honor the memory of Frank Frazetta by promoting his work and legacy. The Frazetta girls have their own website, a very nice Facebook page, and if you are a fan you can meet them at the major comic cons and Sci-fi/Fantasy shows around the U.S.. So as you can see, Frazetta and his work are still as alive and thriving today as ever. In fact, I think it's safe to say that the man and his work will still be thriving a hundreds from now.

Here are some excellent examples of his artwork from over the past decades (since the 1950s). Many of these pieces have had a phenomenal cultural impact. If you've lived in any decade over the past 50 years you will probably recognize a few of these pieces . . .

Molly Hatchet's self titled album
with Frank Frazetta's Death Dealer on the cover

The book cover for Burroughs'
A Princess of Mars

Wolfmother's self-titled album cover
with Frazetta's Mammoth illustration

The Fire and Ice DVD cover from the film's movie poster

Oct. issue number 11 magazine

Famous Funnies Buck Rogers comic book cover
from the 1950s 

And here are some books, prints, book covers, etc. from my own collection from over the many years I have been collecting Frank Frazetta's work . . .

Rough Work: Concept Art, Doodles, and
Sketchbook Drawings by Frank Frazetta

Frazetta: The Definitive Reference

Testament: The Life and Art of Frank Frazetta

Frank Frazetta Book One

Frank Frazetta: The Living Legend

Frank Frazetta has been sorely missed but his life and work have endured. 

In Memoriam to an Artistic Giant
Feb. 9th 1928—May 10th 2010

Frank Frazetta in 1984

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