Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.2: Frank Frazetta

No.2: Frank Frazetta

Although perhaps better known as a science fiction and fantasy illustrator, Frank Frazetta’s relatively modest amount of work in comics was the benchmark for the medium, his vivid, baroque art eliciting movement and naturalism, adding an extra dimension to the form. His key comics work, for E.C. and Famous Funnies, elevated the science fiction genre, his intensive attention to his craft proving to be almost too detailed for the four colour page…… Words: Andrew Colman

pic by Greg Preston

A child prodigy, Frazetta began his professional career in comics in 1944, at the age of 16. He initially worked at Bernard Baily’s studio, doing art chores for pencillers such as future EC alumni Graham Ingels and George Evans. He then moved to Standard, D.S. Publishing and Magazine Enterprises, where he drew for Ghost Rider, Durango Kid and issue 1 of Thun’da, King of the Congo, the only time he completely illustrated an entire comic book and his best work of this periodHe also did work for Adventure Comics and Tomahawk for DC along with contributing to other publishers such as Prize and Toby. By the early 1950s he was working at EC, collaborating with Al Williamson on various pages and covers, while contributing a seven-page horror story for Shock Suspenstories, the excellent and typically gruesome Squeeze Play, whose protagonist was based on himself. His art style by then was virtually fully formed.

His most celebrated work during the pre-code era was his Buck Rogers cover illustrations for Famous Funnies 209 – 216. All eight covers of this run were superlative film poster standard masterpieces, brimming with fluid, filmic art of the highest calibre and imagination. Considered by most Frazetta fans to be his artistic zenith in comics, the effort involved was thankfully matched by the publisher (Dell)’s production values, with the thin and delicate linework, gradients, clean colours, and intricate zipatone effects to the fore, adding an extra layer to the artwork. The sheer level of scope, movement, characterisation and nuance in each cover was more European in its approach, and was a milestone in Frazetta’s career.

By the 1960s Frazetta had moved into paperback covers, mainly focusing on sword and sorcery books featuring Edgar Rice Burroughs novels as well as Conan the Barbarian. His gritty, feral, Neanderthal take on Conan was a huge success which helped to revive the character for a modern readership, as well as provide the inspiration for the comic series a few years later. Many of these Conan and sword and sorcery oil paintings approached a fine art level of excellence, with several in recent years going for record prices in auctions. His Conan the Adventurer and Conan the Cimmerian covers in particular are iconic images of the genre. By this point Frazetta had cemented his position as the number one fantasy artist in pop culture.

During the 60s Frazetta also worked at Warren Magazines, working on VampirellaBlazing Combat, and above all horror titles Creepy and Eerie, pencilling Werewolf for Creepy 1, while providing many classic covers for both titles, the original art for many of these again highly prized by collectors. Frazetta would continue working in the fantasy genre, his art now having broken into the mainstream, with a number of his best pieces, such as 1973’s Death Dealer ending up as album covers, mainly, as one would expect, for heavy metal bands.

Aside from many comic artists, such as Bernie Wrightson, Jeff Jones, Barry Smith and Mark Schultz, Frazetta’s influence reached the wider pop cultural sphere, influencing filmmakers such as George Lucas, Guillermo Del Toro and Robert Rodriguez. Frazetta’s status within comics and other media is pre-eminent, his art style a brand and genre practically of its own. His quote about never following trends and prizing his artistic freedom explains his longevity but not his almost unparalleled genius. What is clear is that he had the vision, conviction and talent to be the best in his field for a considerable period of time.

Here’s the rest of our 101 Greatest Comic Artists list so far

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.3: Neal Adams

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.4: Bernie Wrightson

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.5: John Buscema

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.6: Steve Ditko

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.7: Frank Miller

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.8: Will Eisner

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.9: Lou Fine

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.10: Alex Schomburg

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.11: Joe Kubert

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.12: Wally Wood

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.13: Jim Steranko

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.14: Alex Raymond

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.15: Harvey Kurtzman

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.16: Walter Simonson

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.17: Russ Heath

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.18: Bill Sienkiewicz

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.19: Jack Cole

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.20: Bernie Krigstein

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.21: Graham Ingels

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.22: Al Williamson

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.23: Barry Windsor-Smith

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.24: Alex Ross

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.25: John Byrne

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.26: Mike Mignola

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.27: Basil Wolverton

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.28: Howard Chaykin

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.29: Moebius

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.30: Dave Gibbons

 

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.31: Creig Flessel

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.32: Milt Caniff

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.34: Burne Hogarth

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.35: LB Cole

 

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.37: Bill Everett

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.38: Robert Crumb

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.39: Mac Raboy

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.41: Jim Starlin

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.42: Mike Zeck

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.43: Adam Hughes

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.44: Daniel Clowes

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.45: Gene Colan

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.46: George Perez

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.47: Michael William Kaluta

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.48: Cary Nord

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.49: Frank Quitely

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.50: Mike Ploog

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.51: Johnny Craig

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.52: Darwyn Cooke

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.53: Steve Dillon

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.54: Gil Kane

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.55: Michael Zulli

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.56: John Romita

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.57: Joe Maneely

 

 

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.58: Marshall Rogers

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.59: John Severin

 

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.60: Alex Toth

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.61: Brian Bolland

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.62: David Mazzuchelli

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.63 Reed Crandall

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.64 Harry Anderson

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.65 Nick Cardy

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.66 Matt Wagner

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.67 Bryan Hitch

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.68 Shawn Martinbrough

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.69 Al Feldstein

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.70 Nestor Redondo

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.71 Tarpe Mills

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.72 Eduardo Risso

 

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.73 JH Williams III

 

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.74 Irv Novick

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.75 Dan Zolnerowich

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.76 Gilbert Shelton

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.77 Tommy Lee Edwards

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.78: Sean Phillips

 

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.79: Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.80: Dan DeCarlo

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.81: Marie Severin

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.82: John Paul Leon

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.83: Jim Lee

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.84: Denys Cowan

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.85: Ross Andru

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.86: Paul Gustavson

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.87: George Evans

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.88: Michael Golden

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.89: Matt Baker

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.90: Todd McFarlane

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.91: Fiona Staples

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.92: Carl Barks

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.93: Carmine Infantino

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.94: Alan Davis

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.95: CC Beck

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.96: Syd Shores

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.97: Bob Fujitani

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.98: Tim Sale

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.99: Jim Aparo

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The post Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.2: Frank Frazetta appeared first on TRIPWIRE MAGAZINE.

No.2: Frank Frazetta Although perhaps better known as a science fiction and fantasy illustrator, Frank Frazetta’s relatively modest amount of work in comics was the benchmark for the medium, his vivid, baroque art eliciting movement and naturalism, adding an extra dimension to the form. His key comics work, for E.C. and Famous Funnies, elevated the
The post Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.2: Frank Frazetta appeared first on TRIPWIRE MAGAZINE.Read MoreTRIPWIRE MAGAZINE

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