Painter of larger-than-life fantasy and adventure heroes from Buck Rogers to Tarzan.
February 9, 1928 – May 10, 2010
Frank Frazetta’s art graced the pages of comic books, the covers of paperback adventure novels, and the sleeves of record albums with a distinctively rugged style that strongly influenced future generations of illustrators.
His work is immediately recognizable and larger than life. The men in his illustrations flex their rippling musculature as scantily clad Amazon women flaunt improbable proportions—both fighting off grotesque monsters. A precocious child, Frazetta enrolled at the Brooklyn Academy of Fine Arts at age eight and by age sixteen was working in Bernard Baily’s studio as an assistant.
In 1947, Graham Ingels gave Frazetta his big break with a job at Standard Comics. Frazetta drew comics across many genres: fantasy, westerns, and mysteries among them. Throughout the 1950s he worked at EC Comics and National Comics, as well as created covers for Buck Rogers and daily Flash Gordon strips. While his experiences in the comic book industry helped Frazetta hone his craft, he found the work to be stifling to his emerging personal style and vision.
Frazetta hit his stride with painted covers for paperback adventure books. His covers for the Conan the Adventurer collection by Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague de Camp redefined the sword and sorcery illustration completely – many new readers bought the book based on the cover alone. Throughout his career, Frazetta accumulated many accolades, including a 1966 Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist and a Life Achievement Award in 2001 from the World Fantasy Convention. Frazetta was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1995 and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1999.