Fantasy Artist Frank Frazetta Dies At 82

Illustration for article titled Fantasy Artist Frank Frazetta Dies At 82

Painter Frank Frazetta, best known for his striking fantasy work with characters like Conan the Barbarian, Vampirella and the original Death Dealer, died today at the age of 82.

While Frazetta's direct contributions to video games were unfortunately minimal—a video game based on his Death Dealer character was, at one point, in development at the defunct Acclaim Entertainment—his influence was not.

His dark fantasy style was an influence on Double Fine's heavy metal fantasy game Brutal Legend and Legend of Zelda series illustrator Yusuke Nakano lists Frazetta as an inspiration on his own work. Frazetta's take on Conan was the foundation for the artistic direction of THQ's 2007 video game based on Robert E. Howard's character. Frazetta's lush and moody paintings graced album covers, movie posters and dozens of fantasy publications, including numerous Conan book covers, Eerie, Creepy, Vampirella and Heavy Metal magazine.


Frazetta suffered a stroke following a Mother's Day dinner, reports the New York Times. He died at a Fort Myers, Florida hospital earlier today.

If you're unfamiliar with the works of Frank Frazetta, do yourself a favor and correct that immediately.

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I've been familiar with his style in both paintings and comics for many years now. I have two late-70s artbook collections (published by Ballantine), and he was a great comic book illustrator before he got into painting. Perhaps the last comic book work he did was for Creepy #1 (Dark Horse has been reprinting the Creepy magazines in hardback). His story (done in wash) is stunning.

I say perhaps, because he also did illustrations for a story adaptation for the old Wally Wood 'zine Witzend #8, done in pencil and ink. Simply fantastic artwork.

As for the Vampirella cover (the character was created by the late, great Forry Ackerman), I recall in an interview in (I recall) Frank Frazetta:Icon he had mentioned about how ludicrous he thought the character's outfit was (fairly famous though; I have a wideban of Urusei Yatsura where Lum is actually dressed up as Vampirella in a story...y'all can wipe the drool off your mouths, now ^_^), and he had done a painting where Vampi was dressed the way he thought she should have been dressed...much less, I recall...

But yeah, his contributions to popular culture were immense, and certainly so for fantasy art. He will truly be missed.