FAREWELL TO THE MASTER: FRANK FRAZETTA R.I.P.

Published on: May 10, 2010
FAREWELL TO THE MASTER: FRANK FRAZETTA R.I.P.

Iconic Conan, Tarzan, sci-fi fantasy  book and movie poster artist who's mastery  inspired generations, FRANK FRAZETTA, is dead at 82.

The Brooklyn born Frazetta was revered for his dynamic paperback artistry of such heroic characters as Conan the Barbarian, Tarzan, John Carter of Mars, and numerous comics and classic movie posters has died after being rushed to the hospital after suffering a final stroke, his rep confirmed. 

Frazetta never used models nor reference for his paintings save movie star portraits for such film posters as Clint Eastwood’s The Gauntlet, The Night They Raided Minsky'sBattlestar Galactica, and What's New Pussycat?   

The Frazetta Style, which depicted muscular warriors and scantily-clad women often locked in combat with hideous monsters, was the pinnacle of fantasy and science fiction illustration in the late 20th Century. 

Yet his humorous and satirical illustration displayed the same kinetic motion, economy of line and sheer ferocity. 

Frank began his art career during the 1950s working for the notorious EC horror and science fiction comics before they were silenced by Senate investigation into juvenile delinquency.  Others early comics included Buster Crabbe and Buck Rogers for Famous Funnies.

Frazetta also ghosted for Al Capp on Lil’ Abner comic strip and with Mad magazine founder Harvey Kurtzman on the Flash Gordon comic strip before branching into paperback cover art notably for Ace Paperbacks' Edgar Rice Burroughs titles as well as creating the definitive Conan for Lancer  Books.

Frank helped launch the James Warren line of B&W horror comics with dazzling covers for Creepy, Vampirella and Eerie magazines challenging the Comics Code Authority with stark and beautiful imagery. 

Noted animator/producer/director Ralph Bakshi collaborated with Frank on Fire and Ice, a heroic fantasy film based solely on his visual design concepts. 

Frazetta also illustrated album covers for heavy metal LPs like Molly Hatchet's Flirtin' With Disaster and Nazareth's Expect No Mercy.

Despite his penchant for muscular heroics and bizarre creatures, Frazetta painted the most beautiful and sexiest women ever to grace canvas.  The Frazetta Woman was reportedly based on his late wife Ellie. 

Recently, Frank had been in ill health for some time following a stroke.  Unable to use his right hand to sketch, Frazetta taught himself to draw with his left. 

The ENQUIRER previously reported a few weeks back the Frazetta heirs had settled a long standing family feud  over the rights to the estate that was conservatively estimated to be in the millions.   

Sadly, now we know why. 

For collectors, admirers and generations of artists, Frank was truly the master.

-- DICK SIEGEL in New York
special to The National Enquirer