A Bookshelf of Childhood Memories

To: Crecente
From: Crecente

I know Frank Frazetta died on Monday, but his passing didn't really hit home until I saw the collection of tribute art created by video game artists for Kotaku.

It reminded me of the first time I laid eyes on Frazetta's rich artwork on the cover of an illicit copy of Vampirella that I some how managed to find while on a ski vacation in South Korea. The art, and to a lesser extent the stories, captivated me as my parents drove my brother and I across the country.

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Later I would rediscover Frazetta as I got into the old paperback editions of Conan and, eventually, fell in love with the film Fire and Ice. It was Frazetta's work that also led me to The Savage Sword of Conan, another illicit discovery in Korea, and the wonder of illustrations by the likes of John Buscema, Boris Vallejo and Ernie Chan.

So much of the way I fashioned the fantasies of my childhood were in direct response to Frazetta, that viewing his artwork sometimes leaves me yearning for a youth of jungles, creatures and curvy women that I obviously never really experienced.

And I'm sure I'm not the only one.

He will be greatly missed and I can't think of a more touching tribute than those fond farewells delivered though paint, pencil and ink on Kotaku today.

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Video Game's Finest Pay Tribute To Artist Frank Frazetta

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DISCUSSION

I have a couple of his older collections from back in the 70s. I can think of a couple of Molly Hatchet albums in the late 70s that used his artwork, and of course he was on a ton of the old Warren magazines in the 60s and 70s (Creepy, Eerie and early Vampirella).

He also had a comic story in the first issue of Creepy, which unfortunately was the last traditional comic he did. He used to work for a variety of publishers in the 40s and 50s, including EC Comics (mostly science fiction, sometimes paired up with Al Williamson and Roy G. Krenkel), and of course was a long-time ghost artist for Al Capp's Lil' Abner.

I have another cover he did for a record in the mid-60s, that was in essence a parody album of the politics of the day (looked nothing like the typical art; he did various politicos as golden heads on a chessboard...oh, here it is) called "Welcome to the LBJ Ranch". For some reason I have a lot of political parody vinyl records ^_^.

I am glad those licensed comics came out a few years back, if only for the reason it kept his name out there. It'd be a shame if the only reason people ever heard of this incredibly talented and influential artist was because of the family troubles of recent months.

Even though there are a lot of talented fantasy painters out there, Frazetta truly turned the artform into what we know today. There will never be another like him.