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Frank Frazetta, Beloved ‘Conan the Barbarian’ Illustrator, Dead at 82

Frank Frazetta, the fantasy painter and illustrator whose images of sinewy warriors and lush vixens graced paperback novels, album covers and comic books for decades and became something close to the contemporary visual definition of the sword-and-sorcery genres, died Monday after suffering a stroke the night before. He was 82.

“Sinewy warriors and lush vixens” — that’s saying it

fraz1.jpgFrank Frazetta made his name doing Conan the Barbarian book covers in the 1960s.  Still, I’d never heard of Frazetta until reading Daniel Clowes‘ comic “Art School Confidential” in the 1990s.  One of the art school types Clowes describes is Mr. Phantasy, who does “a Frazetta-style painting” no matter what the project:

fraz2.jpg The gag was clear to me, even if the name wasn’t.  (The instructor’s “I-I’m not sure I understand…?” cracks me up every time.)

Frank Frazetta’s name still may not be famous to the general public, but surely everyone knows the style. Frazetta was successful enough to have his own museum, plus a crazy family feud over his fortune.  And he was popular enough that the Army installed a statue of his character the Death Dealer at Fort Hood, Texas last fall — eerily, just before the shootings.  The statue would have been a weird choice there in any case, but let’s move on.

Among his many sidelights, Frazetta even did movie posters for What’s New Pussycat and The Gauntlet, giving Clint Eastwood the Conan treatment in the latter. 

gauntlet1.jpg Frank Frazetta made his mark.  Hats off to him.

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