Frank Frazetta (1928- 2010)



Ghost Rider #3, Cover II, cover by Frank Frazetta

Worked for:
Standard Comics, Famous Funnies, EC Comics, National Comics, Avon Comics, Mad Magazine

Known For:
Fantasy, Science Fiction, Comics, paperback covers and album covers

Comic artist and illustrator Frank Frazetta was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. At the age of eight Frazetta’s parents enrolled him in the Brooklyn Academy of Fine Arts. He attended the academy for eight years under the tutelage of Michele Falanga, an award-winning Italian fine artist. Frazetta’s abilities flourished under Falanga, who dreamed of sending Frazetta to Europe, at his own expense, to further his studies. Unfortunately, Falanga died suddenly in 1944. As the school closed about a year after Falanga’s passing, Frazetta was forced to find work to earn a living.

At 16, Frazetta started drawing for comic books that varied in themes: westerns, fantasy, mysteries, histories and other contemporary themes. Some of his earliest work was in funny animal comics, which he signed as “Fritz”. During this period he turned down job offers from comic giants such as Walt Disney. In the early 1950s, he worked for EC Comics and National Comics, where he worked on the superhero feature “Shining Knight.”

Through the work on Buck Rogers covers for Famous Funnies, Frazetta started working with Al Capp on his Li’l Abner comic strip. Frazetta was also producing his own strip, Johnny Comet at this time, as well as assisting Dan Barry on the Flash Gordon daily strip. In 1961, after nine years with Capp, Frazetta returned to regular comics. Having emulated Capp’s style for so long, Frazetta’s own work during this period looked a bit awkward as his own style struggled to reemerge.

Frazetta also produced paintings for paperback editions of adventure books. His interpretation of Conan the Barbarian had an enormous influence on succeeding generations of artists. His covers were used for other paperback editions of classic Edgar Rice Burroughs books, such as those from the Tarzan and Barsoom series. In the early 1980s, Frazetta created a gallery, Frazetta’s Fantasy Corner, on the upper floors of a former Masonic building at the corner of South Courtland and Washington streets in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. The building also housed a Frazetta art museum that displayed both his own work and, in a separate gallery, that of other artists. Between 1998 and1999, Frank Frazetta Fantasy Illustrated was published by Quantum Cat Entertainment, with cover art & some illustrations by Frazetta.

Frazetta, who was the subject of a 2003 documentary, 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.