My friend, Rick, just called me with the sad news that Frank Frazetta died this afternoon at the age of 82, seemingly of another heart attack. Even though Frank Frazetta had led a long rich life and had a couple of other heart attacks, this is still very sad news to me and to everyone who loves fantastic art.
Frank Frazetta's artistic contributions to the comic book medium and fantasy art are without equal as he was an Artist with a capital A (not just a great fantasy artist, but a FANTASTIC all around artist), he was hugely influential to many artists, and his paintings were never just static posed images - they told entire stories unto themselves. If you haven't already seen the excellent 2003 documentary on Frank Frazetta titled Frazetta - Painting With Fire, I'd say now would be a great time to hunt down a DVD copy.
I first started reading comics on a regular basis back in 1975 (I was 13) and one day I was in the B Dalton bookstore at the Boulevard Mall here in Las Vegas (back when it was the premier mall in town) and I saw this collection of Frank Frazetta paintings published by Bantim Books (they went on to do four such collections). I hadn't heard of Frank Frazetta previously, but when I saw these amazing paintings of his (especially his women), how could I not buy that book? And like anyone who first discovers the amazing artistry of Frank Frazetta, I became a life-long fan.
What better way to launch the Vampirella comic magazine in 1969 then by having Frank Frazetta do the cover!? I didn't buy this when it first came out, but I ordered it in the late 1970's when it only cost twenty dollars to do so and it is one of my prized comic book possessions.
This is a painting Frank Frazetta did of his wife, Ellie, who died almost a year ago. Ellie was Frank Frazetta's muse, model, and center of his world, so sadly when she died, many had rightly predicted that Frank Frazetta wouldn't be far behind her.
I haven't been online since earlier this morning (or had the news on since earlier), but I can only guess how much sadness the news of Frank Frazetta's death is bringing to so many people because even though he led a long life, his passing is truly the end of an era. Fortunately, Frank Frazetta created so much art in his lifetime that will continue to awe and inspire future generations of art lovers.
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