BOYTOONS MAGAZINE #108 – The Amazing Frank Frazetta!

I have been a fan of Frank Frazetta’s exquisite work for many years now. I remember being in art class in high school, and looking to some of his works for inspiration on projects. I happened to have a very open-minded teacher who thought that his work was pure genius.

Over the years, I have not lost my love of this great artist. Recently (and I suppose this may have a little something to do with the fact that I have been hard at work on Zahn #1), I have been rediscovering his paintings thorough old books I have in my collection as well as recent purchases from my local comic shop. What continues to amaze me about this man’s work is that though much of it was painted in the late 60s and 70s, it somehow manages to remain fresh and avant garde today.

That could be due to the fact that Frank’s vision of fantasy is timeless. Only in a rare few of his works can one actually glimpse indication of the era they were painted in. Usually, it’s his more science fiction themed works that will give you a sense of nostalgia, whereas his fantasy art remains very much a propos.

Another aspect of Frank’s art which I have always admired is his willingness to depict not only sexy women, but men as well. Always heroic, and beautifully depicted, these studly heroes are fearless in the face of danger, and not only rouse the imagination but the libido as well!

Born in Brooklyn, NY, in 1928, Frank Frazetta’s talent was so prodigious that he had his first professional comic story, “The Snowman” in Tally-Ho Comics, published in 1944 at the tender age of 16.

In the early 1950’s, Frazetta burst upon the mainstream comic scene with an incredible explosion of talent and energy. He did series for DC (“The Shining Knight” in Adventure Comics), ME (“White Indian” in Durango Kid – see image at right), Toby (“John Wayne” in John Wayne Comics, with Al Williamson); covers for Eastern (Heroic Comics), Famous Funnies (Famous Funnies Comics – the classic “Buck Rogers” covers), ME (Bobby Benson’s B-Bar-B Riders, Ghost Rider, Straight Arrow, and Tim Holt); and stories (some solo and some with Williamson and friends) for ACG, Avon, DC, Eastern, EC, Standard, and others. Plus he was doing his own newspaper strip, “Johnny Comet”.

The 1965 to 1973 period was as explosive for Frazetta the painter as the early ’50s were for Frazetta the comic book artist. Most of the seminal images we’re so familiar with were done at this time: the Warren Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella covers, the Conan paperback covers, dozens of other covers for magazines and paperbacks, the movie posters, Science Fiction Book Club ERB Martian series and other hardback dust jackets, and a slew of fanzine appearances that served to keep his reputation as a pen & ink master alive through the years.

Today, Frazetta’s work is so highly regarded that even incomplete sketches of his sell for thousands of dollars. Frazetta’s primary commercial works are in oil, but he also works with watercolor, ink and pencil alone. He currently lives with his wife Ellie on a 67-acre estate in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. They maintain a small museum, open to the public, on the estate.

Today, Frazetta remains one of the most important artists of Fantasy and Science Fiction art of our day, and one of my personal favorite creators of strange landscapes, handsome heroes and weird worlds.

If you’re into seeing even more of his works, check out this wonderful unofficial gallery. It contains a lot of wonderful stuff, and it’s where I found most of the pieces for this article.

You may also want to invest in a copy of “Fire and Ice” on DVD. It was a collaboration between Frank and Ralph Bakshi, and is an impressive piece of fantasy animation!

And of course, I highly recommend you visit his official website. The man is a charmer and no one can deny how impressive his achievements and body of work are. Frazetta will undoubtedly continue to inspire artists for years to come.

Biographical information supplied by: All artwork © Copyright and TM 2008, Frank Frazetta. All Rights Reserved.


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  2. Interesting subject…

  3. Though Frazetta isn’t my favorite artist to cover the sword and sorcery genre, I do think he has had a massive impact and inspiration in how the the genre is depicted. I’m more partial to Ken Kelley, but to look at Kelly’s early work he was heavily influenced by Frazetta, granted he also studied under him as well.
    I also see how he could easily have influenced artists who have a much different style like Corben or Bisley.

  4. Hi Patrick,

    Glad to see this article on the great Frazetta! I myself have recently delved into my past and re-discovered all the wonderful artist who have inspired me as an artist. Frank Frazetta was always at the top of my list.

    Recently I purchased the DVD,”FRAZETTA, Painting With Fire”, which I recommend highly, and “Rough Work”, the FF skecthbook. It contains concept art, doodles and sketchbook drawings. To look back on this mans body of work is incredible. From his early days as a cartoonist to his fantastical book cover illustrations. Frank Frazetta is the undisputed master of this genre!

  5. I always marveled at Frazetta’s paintings and inkworks; his men and women were both so sensually drawn (of course I was more focused on the men ;-))

    To be honest I usually notice that most Artists tend to make the gender that they desire more appealing.

    I always found it interesting that a straight artist could make his men so unbelievably desirable. I’m happy that you are putting a focus on this truly great artist

  6. I had one really cool teacher in college– my sequential art prof.

    I realized he was cool when somehow we’d gotten on the topic of fantasy art and I mentioned how much I love Boris Vallejo. My teacher was appalled! Right there in class, he made me leave, go to the library, and get a book on Frazetta. After doing my “required” research, I was able to tell him that yeah, Frazetta is a genius. I still secretly like Boris too, but was told that I wasn’t allowed to say that in class– haha.

  7. Hiya Rdot, Tina, Charvoth, Dave Erb, Raasbwoy and JC…

    Thanks so much for all the cool comments on this Frazetta posting, you guys!! I really think the man is a genius and he is such an inspiration!

    It’s very true that he doesn’t shy away from making his male subjects sexy, which is one of the reasons I personally really adore him and his work. But his sheer talent is simply amazing. You can totally see his influence in Vallejo’s style. Boris is a great artist too, but I really see Frazetta as the father of modern fantasy art… sort of like the way I see Tom of Finland as the father of Gay erotic art!

    Thanks to you all for stopping by!
    Patrick XOXOXO

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