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Frank Frazetta

February 9, 1928 - May 10, 2010

Frazetta was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. At the age of eight, at the insistence of his school teachers, 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. Falanga was struck by Frazetta's significant talent. 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 and with him, his dream. 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, National Comics (including the superhero feature "Shining Knight"), Avon and several other comic book companies. Much of his work in comic books was done in collaboration with friends Al Williamson and Roy Krenkel.

Through the work on the 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. Work in comics for Frazetta was hard to find, however. Comics had changed during his period with Capp and his style was deemed antiquated. Eventually he joined Harvey Kurtzman doing the parody strip Little Annie Fanny in Playboy magazine.

By 1964, one of Frazetta's magazine ads caught the eye of United Artists studios. He was approached to do the movie poster for What's New Pussycat and earned his yearly salary in one afternoon. He did several other movie posters (see notable works). Frazetta also started producing paintings for paperback editions of adventure books. His cover for the sword-and-sorcery collection Conan the Adventurer by Robert E. Howard and L. Sprague de Camp (Lancer 1966) caused a sensation-numerous people bought the book for its cover alone. From this point on, Frazetta's work was in great demand. During this period he also did covers for other paperback editions of classic Edgar Rice Burroughs books, such as those from the Tarzan and Barsoom (John Carter of Mars) series. He also did several pen and ink illustrations for many of these books.

frankfrazetta.net