Frank Frazetta

Frank Frazetta was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1928. As early as age three he was drawing and at eight he is reported to have been selling his work! He later went to the Brooklyn Academy of Fine Arts.

In 1944, at the tender age of 16, his first professional comic work appeared in Tally Ho comics, under his mentor John Giunta. This job would lead to others and for several years he illustrated funny animals for text stories in Coo Coo and Happy comics.

He illustrated eight "Shining Knight" stories at DC which are highly acclaimed and also did stories for "Heroic Comics", including a one page anti drug story which was used repeatedly for several years.

During this time he met and befriended Al Williamson and Roy Krenkel, two of comics' greatest talents. Each was inspired and influenced by the other, but Al and Frank were taught much by Roy and would later profess a great profit from his genius.

Frank worked for numerous companies including Standard, Lev Gleason, and at Toby with Al Williamson, and later at M.E. where he drew "White Indian" and his own creation "Thun'da" .

Thun'da, actually a derivation of Edgar Rice Burrough's "Tarzan" was a great achievement by any standards and Frank's talent glowed like a supernova with this effort.

During this time he also worked for Bill Gaines at EC Comics, and it is here that he did a number of classic stories and covers, almost entirely in collaboration with Williamson and Krenkel. One effort entitled "50 Girls 50" is hailed as one of the greatest stories of all time, and another story, "Squeeze Play" is a fabulous "Shock Suspenstory".

He contributed to the Buck Rogers mythos by illustrating seven covers for the Famous Funnies comic in the early fifties. Among these seven covers are some of the most respected comic book covers ever created. Kinetic, visceral works; these pieces jump off the books and drill into your gut with their emotional and angry action scenes.

In 1952, Frank created his famous comic strip "Johnny Comet", later "Ace McCoy". Lasting for one and one half years, it was a finely drawn and brilliantly conceived strip about a race car driver; his girl, the gorgeous Jean and his friends, Mom and Pop Bottle. Unfortunately the scripting by Peter DePaolo was not on a par with the art and after an initial period of success, the strip was dropped in 1953.

Also in 1952 he went to work for Al Capp assisting on the "Lil Abner" strip. Staying with Capp until about 1960 or so, Frank quit after Capp informed him that his salary would be cut - after Frank had re-located to be closer to Capp's studio!

After leaving Abner he toiled for paperback publishers doing interior illustrations (these books are highly sought after and command high prices), and then wound up at Warren Publications where a number of the EC artists had gathered to work on Creepy, Eerie, Blazing Combat and Vampirella.

Frank's assignments where mostly cover paintings and these works are some of the most memorable pieces of the baby boomer generation.

"Egyption Princess" (Eerie #23), "Sorcerer" (Eerie #2), "Wolfman" (Creepy #5), "Sea Monster" (Eerie #3) and scores of others, each is a masterpiece. While at Warren he also drew a "Creepy's Loathsome Lore" page and another famous story (possibly his best comic story ever) "Werewolf", the story of a crazed "wolf-hunter" who is himself the hunted. These five pages are a momentous achievement for the comic medium.

He was commissioned by Canaveral Press and Doubleday Books to do illustrations for E.R.Burroughs stories which naturally included the Tarzan and Mars series' and he also did a number of ERB covers and interiors for the entire spectrum of Burroughs stories for Ace Books. Some are great, others are less so. He admittedly did three covers in one weekend to meet a deadline after putting the assignment aside for almost three months. Two of these are rather dull Frazetta compositions, but one of them - "Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar" is an outstanding work of art.

The fierce Tarzan leaping in mid-air, about to land on the back of the attacking lion; juxtaposed with the frozen beauty of the woman in mortal danger is electric. The forest trees in the back are living creatures as well, and you can hear the crackle of the campfire burning in the background.

Frazetta's incarnation of "Conan the Barbarian" for Lancer Books paperback series are also revered. His painting for the cover of the first book in that series aptly titled "Conan the Barbarian" is most likely Frank's greatest single achievement.

Frank has been variously been referred to as having influenced the mythology of Conan, or having revitalized popular interest in the character.

In later years Frank has worked in films, most notably on "Fire and Ice", and he has done a series of paintings for the "Scientologists".

The recent return of the "Death Dealer" under the pen of author Jim Silke has given us the opportunity to feast on more of Frank's work and he continues to paint for other companies, and occasionally does commissions for his fans.

A very prolific artist, Frank has been one of the most influential and therefore one of the most important artists of the twentieth century, Frank is certain to have carved his niche in the history of American Art.

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