Frank Frazetta dies at age 82
#1
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#2
I actually wrote a short tribute to Frank at the SF-Fandom Wordpress blog this morning before coming in to work. You can read the full article here but here is an excerpt:[indent]But Frazetta’s passing sort of marks the end of an era, like the passing of Jack Kirby or Ray Harryhausen. All three men were associated with very distinctive artistic styles that inspired others but which also imprinted at least two generations of young admirers with fantastic imagery.

Harryhausen’s career as a cinematic animator (he pioneered the stop-action photography techniques that were widely used before video and computer-generated imagery technology were adapted for film and television) was winding down just as Kirby and Frazetta were becoming supercharged in the atmosphere of fame.

Kirby’s elaborate fantastic illustrations depicted costumery that was so improbable the reader’s imagination swept away all doubt and skepticism. You just didn’t care about how ridiculous all the flowing pipe thingamajigees looked.

Frazetta specialized in book covers and poster art, producing a lot life-like acrylics and similar realistic paintings of warriors, wizards, and women. It was probably the women that earned Frazetta a place in fans’ imagination most often but his warriors and wizards were never to be trifled with.[/indent]
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#3
Here is an excerpt from the L.A. Times Blog:[indent]This morning I received some very sad news from a friend of mine. Legendary fantasy artist Frank Frazetta has passed. For anyone who was touched by Frank’s work or knew him personally, the word of his death comes like a shot to the gut. His long bout with illness, having suffered multiple strokes over the past decade, has been well documented, but the toughness instilled in him as a young boy growing up on the streets of New York seemed to keep him alive even through the bleakest of times. But this morning his body finally succumbed, leaving behind a legacy that will be felt and visually apparent for a very long time to come.

Widely regarded as the godfather of fantastical illustration, Frank influenced an entire generation of artists and filmmakers with powerful images of strapping warriors defending curvaceous maidens from creatures that were undoubtedly spawned in hell. Some of the more notable collectors and fans of his work include Hollywood types such as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Peter Jackson, Clint Eastwood, John Milius, Guillermo del Toro and Sylvester Stallone. His impact on the world of illustration, comic and concept art is undeniable. You cannot walk into a game studio, visual-effects house, comics convention or onto a film set without finding someone who was heavily influenced by Frank’s work at a young age, which in turn affected his or her own career decision.[/indent]
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#4
Here is an excerpt from the New York Times[indent]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, Fla. 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.

A satirical advertisement Mr. Frazetta drew for Mad earned him his first Hollywood job, the movie poster for “What’s New Pussycat?” (1965), a sex farce written by Woody Allen that starred Peter Sellers. In 1983 he collaborated with the director Ralph Bakshi to produce the animated film “Fire and Ice.”[/indent]
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#5
Here is an excerpt from a tribute posted on the Washington Post Website:[indent]Among modern fantasy illustrators, could anyone render flesh quite like Frank Frazetta?

Amid all his artwork's massive swords and towering cliffscapes and thundering skies of menace, Frazetta could flat-out make the viewers' eye feel the "meat" of the thing. Coiled pythons. Poised big cats. Rippling torsos posed just so. Frazetta's artwork pulled you into worlds that put you at immediate peril -- and it all started with the sinew. Glorious, striving, all-too-mortal muscle.

If only Mr. Frazetta were with us today to unsheath his ever-deft paintbrush and, wielding it like a New Master, depict his own family's recently resolved squabbles over his multimillion-dollar artwork. His relatives wouldn't be perched at courtroom tables, hoisting pissy-little legal briefs. They would be inserted as in the scenes his longtime wife Ellie, who died last year, once modeled for -- fierce moments of primal titanic struggle -- and his son Frank Jr.'s recent arrest on Frazetta-Museum robbery charges might be a brawny scene akin to the pillaging of Tarzan's jungle, a reptilian attorney underfoot.

Sadly, though, the artist's masterful hand has rendered its last. Mr. Frazetta -- prolific painter of so many Conan covers and Tarzan illustrations and pseudo-futuristic Buck Rogers adventures -- reportedly died Monday in Fort Myers, Fla., after a stroke. He was 82.

The man who once tried out for baseball's New York Giants leaves us a fantasy-art titan himself.

It's impossible to recall the first time I was struck cold by a Frazetta painting. Was it while poring over a dungeon scene from "Conan the Usurper," the chained barbarian posed as if in an old Joe Weider muscle mag, giant reptiles threatening to strike? Or perhaps it was as an impressionable young kid, admiring not the music but the album art when a friend down the street broke out the Nazareth LP "Expect No Mercy." Vinyl may feel dated today, but Frazetta's art never yellows.[/indent]
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#6
Here is a brief excerpt from Wired's tribute to Frank Frazetta:[indent]Yesterday, iconic fantasy illustrator Frank Frazetta died at the age of 82 as the result of stroke-related complications. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of Frazetta’s work within geek circles, where his images of muscle-bound warriors and scantily clad maidens graced innumerable sci-fi/fantasy book jackets, but it’s his contribution to the whole of popular culture that truly exemplifies Frank’s significance.

Brooklyn-born Frazetta’s unlikely career began at the tender age of 16 as a simple comic book artist for the various genre books of the day. From there he rose to prominence thanks to his work in American touchstones like Mad Magazine and Playboy, where the inherent adolescent sexuality of his illustrations certainly struck a chord.[/indent]
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#7
While Frazetta was probably one of the variables that helped launch the Conan Lancers and ERB in the 1960s and early 1970s, I never forget the number of lame, derivative, forgetful fantasy and sf books that got a Frazetta cover (and induced me to buy).

(No slam on Frazetta, just the marketing gurus...)
Mark Hall
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#8
Mark Wrote:While Frazetta was probably one of the variables that helped launch the Conan Lancers and ERB in the 1960s and early 1970s, I never forget the number of lame, derivative, forgetful fantasy and sf books that got a Frazetta cover (and induced me to buy).

(No slam on Frazetta, just the marketing gurus...)

Agreed. His work was certainly the impetus for emptying my pockets many a time. But I actually remember such readings fondly, even if they were poor efforts. Perhaps they were made that much better by Frazetta's covers so that I forgave much.
All your base are belong to us.

It could be that the purpose of my life is only to serve as a warning to others.
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#9
You can't judge a cover by its book, guys ....
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#10
Michael Wrote:You can't judge a cover by its book, guys ....

Unless you're in the 13-35 male demographic! :trio:
All your base are belong to us.

It could be that the purpose of my life is only to serve as a warning to others.
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#11
Quote:
Mark Wrote:While Frazetta was probably one of the variables that helped launch the Conan Lancers and ERB in the 1960s and early 1970s, I never forget the number of lame, derivative, forgetful fantasy and sf books that got a Frazetta cover (and induced me to buy).

Just out of curiosity, which ones were these? I don't recall too many of his works anywhere except Howard and Burroughs covers.... I remember two fairly derivative books about an immortal barbarian named Kane that had a couple of his generic paintings on the covers, but if I recall correctly, the Kane novels were received fairly well in sword & sorcery circles....

In some cases, I think the opposite may have been true. He did two saucy, racy covers for Bantam paperback editions of two of the Flashman novels that looked pretty much like Playboy illustrations, and they probably helped sales, but I doubt too many history or literature buffs would have had any clue from the covers that they were extensively researched historical adventure/romances that were also excellent literary pastiches of Victorian writing styles, and social satires of the mores of the era.

Without starting too much of a flame war, he had covers on some of the Carter Thongor series, one of the Page[?] Prester John, barbarian fantasies,
some other Lancer fantasy books that elude my recall. I'll have to rummage around ans see what else I can jog from my memory. But I do remember let down
in several cases after the ERB and REH books. And boy, do I ever wish when they trot out the ERB books, they would just pony the money up and use
the Frazetta cover--it would probably create an ERB revival!
August  - Jack's Pack Fan # 1, Keeper of the List, 3-Time Speaker of the JoAT Fan Quote of the Week, and the only person ever to have Back 2 Back Jack and Cleo fan quotes !
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#12
All your base are belong to us.

It could be that the purpose of my life is only to serve as a warning to others.
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#13
I think Night Winds was one of those Kane books......

I have seen some of his early comic book art, for The Shining Knight (others too, but I recall that one very well) and it was a lot more subdued and traditional, and not anything that you'd think "Wow, this guy will become THE fantasy artist around within a few years...."

But anyway, I'm just curious as to which books Mark happened to read...
August  - Jack's Pack Fan # 1, Keeper of the List, 3-Time Speaker of the JoAT Fan Quote of the Week, and the only person ever to have Back 2 Back Jack and Cleo fan quotes !
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#14
august Wrote:I think Night Winds was one of those Kane books......

Arrgghh, you're right. Oh well, the other examples are hardly exhaustive. :poke:

Quote:I have seen some of his early comic book art, for The Shining Knight (others too, but I recall that one very well) and it was a lot more subdued and traditional, and not anything that you'd think "Wow, this guy will become THE fantasy artist around within a few years...."

You're certainly right about that. If you look at his cover for Carson of Venus, there's really not that much there. I'm not too familiar with the fantasy/scifi cover art trends from that time.

Quote:But anyway, I'm just curious as to which books Mark happened to read...

Yeah, Mark will have to speak for himself on that.
All your base are belong to us.

It could be that the purpose of my life is only to serve as a warning to others.
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#15
Ungh, having web problems, I eneded up mangling a post....

Anyway, my reply:

Without starting too much of a flame war, he had covers on some of the Carter Thongor series, one of the Page[?] Prester John, barbarian fantasies,
some other Lancer fantasy books that elude my recall. I'll have to rummage around ans see what else I can jog from my memory. But I do remember let down
in several cases after the ERB and REH books. And boy, do I ever wish when they trot out the ERB books, they would just pony the money up and use
the Frazetta cover--it would probably create an ERB revival!
Mark Hall
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