Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Frank Frazetta : Feb 9th, 1928 ~ May 10th, 2010.

Fantasy art illustrator extraordinaire, Frank Frazetta died yesterday due to stroke at the age of 82. Frazetta is most well known for his fantastic depiction of muscle bound Hyborian warriors rescuing scantily clad women from the clutches of monsters and wizards. He had previously illustrated for comics like Li'Abner, Flash Gordon, various EC Comics titles as well as covers for Buck Rogers in the 50s. By the 60s, Frazetta begun to contribute his talent to several adult theme comic strips and Mad Magazine, and most notably, for the movie cover of the 1965 comedy, What's New Pussycat?. But perhaps amongst his numerous paintings, the one which arguebly propelled Frazetta into the limelight would be his output for various sword and sorcery/heroic fantasy genre paperback covers, most notably for Robert E. Howard's Conan series and Edgar Rice Burroughs books, including Tarzan and John Carter of Mars. Later, Frazetta also begun to contribute to album covers for late 70s hard rock/metal bands like Molly Hatchet (which incidentally features The Death Dealer, another popularly identifiable work of Frazetta) and Nazareth. I did not know who Frazetta was until the age of 15, back during the Penang days, the art teacher (whose name escaped me, nice fella who has a knack for dozing off while leaving it to me to complete whatever art assignment I was having that day. I remembered him driving an old hatchback Civic though) was going through this book which featured scantily clad women with leopards, monstrous apes and barbarians. I was hooked from that moment on (though it escaped me how I managed to ask the art teacher to loan me his book as it featured lots of nudity with playful bawdyness to it! The Giantess sketch and Cat Girl painting are particularly memorable). I searched in vain for one (then at the long gone Times bookstore at the intersection somewhere along Macalister Road/ Dato Keramat Road...not sure). Years and years later, Amazon came by and off I purchase his art books online. Frazetta's art, I am not sure how to describe it but it somehow possess some sort of omph to it, and that's what makes it special to me.

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