Frank Frazetta was by all rights a legend both as a comic book artist and artist in general. Even from a young age his talent was undeniable from attending the Brooklyn Academy of Fine Arts as a boy, to beginning his career in comics at the age of 16. His early career included a lot of notable work in Adventure Comics, John Wayne Comics, Al Capp's “Li'l Abner,” and many other classic titles of the 1950's. Despite having attended art school as a youth, Mr. Frazetta was essentially self-taught as instructors basically left him to his own. Mr. Frazetta has been quoted as stating he learned more from his fellow students and friends than from anyone else.
Mr. Frazetta's first published work in comics was the inker for a cartoon comic character called Snowman. It was some of his seminal work which garnered him attention, eventually doing work for Al Capp's "Lil' Abner". Mr. Frazetta had a knack for rendering not only caricatures, but detailed physiques and very nicely drawn good girl art. Indeed, Mr. Frazetta was prolific and sought after as an illustrator and there are many many comics and books which have yet to be concisely catalogued.
Then in the mid -1960's he would begin doing paintings for magazines, books, and movie posters that began to truly define his career. It wasn't long before he had set a whole new standard for science fiction and fantasy art around the world, and would inspire and influence a whole new generation of artists. It was his work on Mad magazine that garnered attention by a movie studio and he began painting movie posters, a lucrative career move for Frazetta at that time.
Along with the posters, his works continued with characters such as Conan, Tarzan, and most infamously, Warren publishing's Vampirella comics. Additionally, his paintings for E.R. Burroughs' "John Carter of Mars" paperback book covers truly set him apart. People would buy the books not for the stories, per se, but for the illustrated covers he did. Mr. Frazetta also painted album covers and amongst his most famous and iconic of these is the "Death Dealer" which he did for the heavy metal band "Molly Hatchet".
Mr. Frazetta was also friends with fellow comic book illustrator Al Williamson (1931-2010) and the two often did collaborative work. Frank Frazetta married Eleanor Kelly in 1956 and they started a family which consisted of Frank Jr., Billy, Holly, and Heidi. Mr. Frazetta struggled with a few health issues throught the years but it was his fight against cancer which, sadly, he lost, a year after the loss of his beloved wife Eleanor.
The impact of his works can felt to this day and the artistic community will forever be the lesser without his brush.
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