Frank Frazetta was an American fantasy and science fiction artist, noted for comic books, paperback book covers, paintings, posters, LP record album covers and other media. He was inducted into the comic book industry’s Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1995 and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1999. Born in Brooklyn, New York City, at age eight, he attended the Brooklyn Academy of Fine Arts, a small art school run by instructor Michel Falanga.
In 1944, at age 16, Frazetta began working in comics artist Bernard Baily’s studio and his first work was inking the eight-page story “Snowman”, penciled by John Giunta, in the one-shot Tally-Ho Comics. Frazetta was soon drawing comic books in many genres, including Westerns, fantasy, mystery, and historical drama. In the early 1950s, he worked for EC Comics, National Comics, Avon Comics, and several other comic book companies.
In 1964, Frazetta’s painting of Beatle Ringo Starr for a Mad magazine ad parody caught the eye of United Artists studios. He was approached to do the movie poster for What’s New Pussycat?, and earned the equivalent of his yearly salary in one afternoon. Frazetta also produced paintings for paperback editions of adventure books. His interpretation of Conan visually redefined the genre of sword and sorcery, and had an enormous influence on succeeding generations of artists. From this point on, Frazetta’s work was in great demand.
After this time, most of Frazetta’s work was commercial in nature, including paintings and illustrations for movie posters, book jackets, and calendars. Primarily, these were in oil, but he also worked with watercolor, ink, and pencil alone. Frazetta’s work in comics during this time were cover paintings and a few comic stories in black and white for the Warren Publishing horror and war magazines Creepy, Eerie, Blazing Combat and Vampirella.
Once Frazetta secured a reputation, movie studios lured him to work on animated movies. In the early 1980s, Frazetta worked with producer Ralph Bakshi on the feature Fire and Ice, released in 1983. The realism of the animation and design replicated Frazetta’s artwork. Bakshi and Frazetta were heavily involved in the production of the live-action sequences used for the film’s rotoscoped animation, from casting sessions to the final shoot.
Frazetta’s paintings have been used by a number of recording artists as cover art for their albums. Molly Hatchet’s first three albums feature “The Death Dealer”, “Dark Kingdom”, and “Berserker”, respectively. Dust’s second album, Hard Attack, features “Snow Giants”. Nazareth used “The Brain” for its 1977 album Expect No Mercy. The U.S. Army III Corps adopted “The Death Dealer” as its mascot. Frazetta retained the original Conan paintings, and long refused to part with them. Many were displayed at the Frazetta Museum in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. In 2009, Frazetta’s “Conan the Conqueror” painting, the first to be offered for sale, was purchased for $1 million. Frazetta died of a stroke on May 10, 2010, in a hospital near his residence in Florida. (Source: Wikipedia)