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And, no. Nobody had him in the Dead Pool.

Frank Frazetta died today. Stroke. 82.

Me, I was a huge fan of his art — a thing I am completely unembarrassed to admit, despite the pulp-y, porn-y nature of so much of his work.

He had the best grasp of how all the pieces of the human body interlock and slide around each other since Bridgeman — which is not surprising. Apparently, early in his career, he was given a copy of one of Bridgeman’s books — probably Constructive Anatomy — took it home, copied every drawing in it, brought it back and said, “okay. Now I know anatomy.”

I have reproductions of some of his early work — notably Shining Knight comics — and they were…oh, what is the word?… really not very good. There were only a couple of hints that he was an artist of extraordinary promise.

How he went from that to the painter and draughtsman he became is, I guess, tribute to the gigantic amount of art a comic artist has to crank out to make a living. Practice making perfect, and all.

At the height of his skill, he not only made a living, he was one of the few to get rich at it. I remember reading in the Seventies that he just painted whatever he wanted and they found books to suit them. Frazetta covers moved merchandise.

His wife died last year and he’s been ill with one thing and another for a very long time, so. Well. Rest in peace. I wouldn’t sell my immortal soul to be able to draw like that, but I might hock it for a few months.


Comment from EW1(SG)
Time: May 10, 2010, 10:36 pm

Even a non-arty person like me knew who he was.

I didn’t know he was 82, however. But, I guess I date myself remembering his work in the 70s.

Comment from Dennis
Time: May 10, 2010, 10:52 pm

I used to have a poster of his of the the “Snow King being pulled in his sleigh by polar bears” in my office. Real staid office, but everyone, and I mean everyone, was totally taken with it. He drew good broads, too.

Comment from Uncle Pinky
Time: May 10, 2010, 11:05 pm

Well, there’s no point in picking up that van now, if’n I can’t get him to do the side mural.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 10, 2010, 11:07 pm

I was going to post a link to a picture of that for you, Dennis, but it looks like all the Frazetta image sites are kinda busy tonight 🙂

Comment from Enas Yorl
Time: May 10, 2010, 11:09 pm

Franzetta was good, but when I was in school Boris Vallejo had kinda taken the fantasy art crown.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 10, 2010, 11:22 pm

I hate Boris Vallejo with a flamey white-hot hatey hate, Enas. He’s a photograph-tracer, or I’ll eat my hat.

Which is one step down from a meat camera.

Comment from Allen
Time: May 10, 2010, 11:41 pm

What on earth is a meat camera? For some reason I’m visualizing slapping a steak over your eyes and playing peek-a-boo.

And I’m really not liking that visual. Please to help?

Comment from Enas Yorl
Time: May 10, 2010, 11:42 pm

^Hee! I figured that would get a reaction from you. I dunno about photograph tracing though. I got a couple books of his paitings back in the day and one of them showed his work process. He used some reference photos for the models (who, btw were often himself and his then-wife (damn nice-looking couple too – he was pretty buff and Doris was scorching hot (yah Boris & Doris – isn’t that too cute?))) and he definitely came up with all the landscape, background and critter imagery himself. It had some of his pen & ink and pencil drawings stuff too – the man can definitely draw. What makes you think he does tracings?

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: May 10, 2010, 11:55 pm

One of the few areas Her Stoatliness and I disagree on, this. I hate Frazetta with a passion. Cheesy homo-eroticism, if you ask me.

Which nobody does, of course.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 10, 2010, 11:55 pm

I suspect tracing because I’ve done a shitload of it myself. I know the look. As an illustrator working for an engineering and research company, I was expected to be fast and accurate. Artistic pretensions came…second? Fifth? Nowhere? I have legitimately used every “cheating” method known to man.

Maybe Vallejo didn’t literally trace his photos, but he was WAY too dependent on his references.

Frazetta pulled all that stuff out of the aether.

And a meat camera, Allen, is an artist’s derogatory reference to someone who uses…ummm…unartistic techiques to make images. I’m trying to nail that down a bit better, but it’s a term of art; vague to the outsider but precise to the participant.

Comment from jw
Time: May 11, 2010, 12:08 am

I don’t know him from…uh..adam? But I like what you have up there of his work.

Any one have Lena Horne? 93. Hell of a voice, but a bitchy bitchy woman.

RIP, Ms. Horne.

Comment from Og
Time: May 11, 2010, 12:27 am

The late-teen version of me loved his work because of its pulp-y, porn-y nature. (Flasback to Head Shop poster rack) Must say, I’m quite enjoying his sketches you posted. (Wimmin should have curves!) Thanks for the bio.

@Uncle Pinky. LOL!

Comment from Enas Yorl
Time: May 11, 2010, 2:36 am

*Eyeballs all Frank’s sketches of nekkid wimmens Stoaty posted* “Homo-eroticism” – you use that word Uncle Badger, but I do not think it means what you think it means.

I hear you about Boris Stoaty – I dunno if he resorted to tracing, but at a point in his career he did become extremely formulaic and mechanical in his work. He obviously just cranks it out by rote now and has for many, many years. But in that respect he isn’t very different from many other artists of all types who hit a certain level of popular success where almost all their later work follows that successful formula. From then on there really isn’t much of the growth or exploration that made them interesting in the first place.

Comment from d3ft punk
Time: May 11, 2010, 3:40 am

Guys like Frazetta made me like comics. Sad to see him go. Saw a special on him a while ago, for something.

And the tracing stuff has gotten ridiculous. I lost count of how many covers of dollar-store coloring books that I could grab an X-Men from the 90s (Jim Lee) and show you where they got that really detailed picture of Batman. There’s one famous tracing where somebody crashed through a window, and pretty much every copyartist has put it into a comic somewhere.

Something from the Frazetta special: he was working with somebody on some cartoon movie they were doing. They said they had to get a bunch of models in there…uh…modeling, whatever. Without their kit, if you will. He said he leaned over to the other guy and said something about having a heck of a job.

Sure was.

Comment from Hotrodelectric
Time: May 11, 2010, 3:41 am

I wouldn’t sell my immortal soul to be able to draw like that, but I might hock it for a few months

Oh, I could sell my immortal soul, but I would likely get more for the 10-year old Ford Taurus wagon.

Comment from scubafreak
Time: May 11, 2010, 5:00 am

I actually think that his wife, Julie Bell, has the advantage over him. Boris has done, however he did it, some remarkably attractive works. However, Julie Bell seems to have taken the torch out of his hands…..

Comment from Bill (still the .00358% of your traffic that’s from Iraq) T
Time: May 11, 2010, 9:30 am

Whoever commissioned Frank Frazetta for Dell’s late-’60s reprinting of Howard’s Conan and Bran Mak Morn tales was a genius. The covers looked like the scene would appear if you were viewing them through a hole in Time.

“Snow King” was great — Frazetta realized a god wouldn’t need reins to control the bears — but my personal favorite was “Death Dealer.” Prolly wouldn’t be a good idea for me to try to analyze why…

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: May 11, 2010, 9:33 am

Enas Yorl – Oh, butI do know what it means. And I stick by it. Yes, he painted wimmin too, but so did Michelangelo. I think his obsession with bulging muscles (in either sex) is pretty gay.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: May 11, 2010, 10:56 am

Eh. Don’t mind him. A homosexual ran over his dog once. Or something.

I had this one up in my room in High School:

Brilliant piece of work, though it has a flaw. The fix holding the axe is aimed straight out of the picture, but the axe itself is at an angle.

Comment from Clifford Scridlow
Time: May 11, 2010, 1:17 pm

As a lad, between Frazetta and Roger Dean, you could hardly see the color of the walls of my room.

Comment from Pablo
Time: May 11, 2010, 3:33 pm

I had that one too, Stoaty.


Comment from Allen
Time: May 11, 2010, 3:56 pm

It’s not whether I like Frazetta’s work or not, but now I know what a “meat camera” is. Kind of like Al Gore’s approach to science.

I tell ya I learn something new every day.

Comment from surly ermine
Time: May 11, 2010, 5:03 pm

Boy, I live under a rock. Thanks for the news Stoaty. Frank will be missed.

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: May 11, 2010, 6:35 pm

I love Frazetta’s work, we even have his animated film Fire and Ice – not great, but fun to watch.

Comment from The War Planner
Time: May 11, 2010, 6:35 pm

The Death Dealer, a personal favorite of mine especially when I am in a belligerent mood.

..oh yea, the broads — you know the ones who are creeping out from behind that pillar with them eye-mense breastses were good too!

Comment from JuliaM
Time: May 11, 2010, 6:42 pm

“Frank Frazetta died today. “


Why didn’t this make the news!? Stupid Brown resignation!

Vale, Frank. You’ve gone to a better world, I hope….

Comment from Jon
Time: May 11, 2010, 7:27 pm

I hear what you’re saying Uncle B about the muscle-liking, but I choose to disagree. Hooray for the 1st Amendment!

Now back to some bitter clinging. Wish I had a Frazetta-style lady with whom to cling. 😉

Comment from David Gillies
Time: May 11, 2010, 7:41 pm

I was never really into the swords and sorcery stuff, or it’s SF equivalent, space opera. I was a hard SF fan (Asimov, Aldiss, Blish, Clarke, Niven) and for me the apotheosis of pulp book covers were by Chris Foss. I definitely would have pawned my soul to be able to draw like that.

It was only much later I found he did the original B+W illustrations for The Joy of Sex. Holy Humping Hippies, Batman!

Oh, and I claim Gordon Brown. I mean, he’s politically dead, isn’t he? Hello? Anyone?

I’ll get me coat…

Comment from mommer
Time: May 11, 2010, 9:16 pm

My ex used to collect that Boris Vallejo stuff. Ugh. I might not have disliked it so if I hadn’t been intoduced to it via him trying to be a “collector of art”. He had one that supposedly was signed and numbered that he loved. It was a chick on a rock and was titled “Estacy”. I used enjoy pissing him off by telling him “look dude, she playing with herself, look were her hands are”! Ah, life was good. lol.

I think I used to look a bit like the flying booby girl in the upper right corner but that was a very long time ago. Like the late jurassic.

My ex used to call his art (snicker, snort snort) Boris and Julie. Wonder what happened to Doris?

Comment from memomachine
Time: May 12, 2010, 2:19 am


My favorite of all time was Outlaw of Torn.

I based an entire D&D campaign world from that one single painting.

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: May 12, 2010, 2:51 am

I love Vallejo too, and the Brothers Hildebrand (pretentious but good marketing). Larry Elmore less so.

Comment from d3ft punk
Time: May 12, 2010, 3:25 am

Ah, yes, Fire and Ice. That was it. Much thanks, Mr. Christopher Taylor .

Comment from JuliaM
Time: May 12, 2010, 4:31 am

“It was only much later I found he did the original B+W illustrations for The Joy of Sex. “

Good grief!

Oh, well, all those years of drawing bulging engine nacelles must have come in handy… 😉

Comment from Bill (still the .00358% of your traffic that’s from Iraq) T
Time: May 12, 2010, 2:09 pm

Here’s something I hadn’t known — Frazetta allowed III Corps to adopt Death Dealer as its *official* symbol.


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