Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Frank Frazetta: February 9, 1928 – May 10, 2010

Sad to say that Frank Frazetta has passed away, as the result of a stroke, on Mothers Day evening, after spending time with his family.

Frazetta was one of the comic book industry’s real superstars, as evidenced by the fact that his art could, and did, hit the million dollar mark when a buyer, reported to be Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammet, bought his famous 'Conan The Conqueror' painting for just that amount in November, 2009.

Frazetta started in comic books as a very young age, sixteen to be precise, when he drew his first story in 1944, and he leaves behind an staggering amount of work, both in the field of comic books and beyond. His versatility was always evident, as he could move from the humour required of a Mad Magazine, through to the horror of Warren, realism as required with movie posters, album covers and the fantasy art that adorned the Conan The Barbarian paperbacks as issued by Lancer.  Frazetta was so good that Gene Simmons couldn't hire him, although he tried.  The result of that meeting was that Frazetta would only draw a Kiss cover if he owned the art and the copyright, plus his price at the time - around $10,000 - was too high for Simmons.  Such a shame, a Destroyer cover drawn by Frank Frazetta would have been amazing.

It was via the Lancer Conan covers that I first discovered Frazetta.  His incredible covers often had nothing whatsoever to do with the story inside, but they were worth the price of the novels alone and I bought more than one of them just to admire the paintings that they came with.  The contents, well I eventually read those as well, and it was via the Lancer paperbacks, with their stunning covers, that I discovered Conan The Barbarian,Robert E Howard, the Marvel Comics as drawn by John Buscema and written (adapted) by Roy Thomas and ultimately Frank Frazetta.  It was always a dream of mine to own something, anything, art wise by Frank Frazetta, but unless I hit the mother load, that's just not going to happen anytime in the near future.  I'll settle for owning an original '70s Gauntlet movie poster that Frazetta painted.  Clint Eastwood never looked that good in his life.

Frazetta leaves behind a body of work that'll be remembered by art lovers everywhere, and won't easily be replicated by anyone soon.  And who amongst us males in the '70s didn't have that Vampirella cover up on their wall as a kid, either as a poster, or just torn off the book like I did.

Rest easy Frank.

1 comment:

George said...

I knew that Frank wouldn't be long for this world when his beloved wife Ellie passed away last year. He finally gets to rejoin her. God bless them both.