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Cinema & The Arts as Sermons: The Fantasy/Science Fiction Art of Frank Frazetta

Updated: Aug 5, 2023

"I hope my work has inspired young artists. I have always tried to maintain my freedom as an artist and I feel it is one of the main reasons I have been successful." Frank Frazetta

Artist Frank Frazetta
Artist Frank Frazetta

Cinema & The Arts as Sermons: The Fantasy/Science Fiction Art of Frank Frazetta

Art is a tough business to be in.

Frank Frazetta was old school. He grew up in the age of comics.

His talent and artistic style were distinctive. You could look and immediately tell the artwork was a Frazetta.

As a boomer I grew up with pulp magazines and comics. Cheap paperbacks with Frazetta illustrations on the front were like gold!

At one time Frank Frazetta gave away his paintings for barter as payment for work done on his home. Today they can sell for millions of dollars.

Here is some background on Frank Frazetta and you might wish to visit his museum if ever in that part of Pennsylvania. I hope you find it enjoyable!


"One of the pioneers of modern fantasy illustration, Frank Frazetta, began his career in the dwindling days of the pulp magazine. Though largely self-taught, he began taking drawing classes at the Brooklyn Academy of Art at just eight years old. His first work was published in Tally-Ho Comics when he was sixteen. In 1952, Frazetta began drawing Al Capp’s popular comic strip Li’l Abner, in addition to working on numerous comic book titles.

Following the end of the Golden Age of Illustration in the 1920s, a number of artists continued working for the next few decades. J. Allen St. John, as illustrator of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Tarzan and John Carter series, influenced a new generation, which included Frank Frazetta, Jeff Jones, the Brothers Hildebrandt, and Boris Vallejo. These young artists began to lead the evolution of illustration away from traditional outlets like the newsstand into new arenas. The focus of many was on fantasy illustration—in print (paperback book covers, magazines), film posters, animation, role-playing games, and, eventually, video games.

Frazetta's illustration of Ringo Starr for Mad magazine in 1964 brought attention to Frazetta’s work, and movie studios hired him to paint film posters. However, his 1966 cover of the book Conan the Adventurer propelled Frazetta to stardom. In 1969, Frazetta painted the memorable cover of the debut issue of Vampirella. His striking paintings of Conan, Tarzan, and John Carter of Mars altered the way readers viewed the characters and influenced other artists and film directors, including George Lucas, who visited Frazetta’s studio in 1978.." from the article: Frank Frazetta

Frank Frazetta Family Man
Frank Frazetta Family Man

Frank Frazetta.

"To anyone with even a passing interest in fantasy art, those two words are enough to conjure some of the most iconic images in the genre: Conan swinging his sword against a backdrop of flames, Tarzan carrying Jane through the jungle, Death Dealer riding into battle… the list goes on. Often credited with single-handedly revitalizing heroic fantasy art (the entire sword-and-sorcery genre is arguably directly descended from his paintings), Frazetta was, quite simply, the master of his craft. Come along with us as we explore the life and legacy of this extraordinary talent and learn why he’s still considered a legend today.

Early Years and Career in Comics

Frank Frazetta was born into a Sicilian family in Brooklyn, New York, in 1928. A child prodigy, he started drawing practically as soon as he could hold a pencil. At the tender age of eight, his parents enrolled him in the Brooklyn Academy of Fine Arts, his first (and only) art class. As a sixteen-year-old, he broke into commercial art, doing fill-in work on comic books and even publishing his own strip called Snowman. This was the beginning of an illustrious career in the industry that would span over two decades.." from the article: The Life and Legacy of Frank Frazetta: The Master of Modern Fantasy Art

Egyptian Queen
Egyptian Queen

Advice from a Master: Frank Frazetta

"Never-before-seen footage of the legendary illustrator, Frank Frazetta. L. Ron Hubbard called Frazetta the “King of Illustrators”—a tribute to the artist’s mastery, popularity, and enduring influence over the world of illustration. Frank Frazetta stated, “I loved illustrating action and adventure stories and no one wrote them better than L. Ron Hubbard.” Frazetta signed lithos available at Frank Frazetta (1928–2010) 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. At sixteen, Frazetta started drawing for comic books with various themes: western, fantasy, mystery, history 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 such giants 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 comics was done in collaboration with friends Al Williamson and Roy Krenkel. Through his work on the Buck Rogers covers for Famous Funnies, Frazetta started working with Al Capp on his Li’l Abner comic strip. At the time, Frazetta was also producing his own strip, Johnny Comet, as well as assisting Dan Barry on the Flash Gordon daily strip. In 1961, after nine years with Capp, Frazetta returned to regular comics. Work in comics for Frazetta was hard to find, however. Because he had emulated Capp’s style for so long, Frazetta’s own work now looked a bit awkward as his own style struggled to reemerge. 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. Frazetta did several other movie posters and 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 then on, Frazetta’s work was in great demand. He did covers for paperback editions of classic Edgar Rice Burroughs books, such as those from the Tarzan and Barsoom (John Carter of Mars) series. He also did pen-and-ink illustrations for many of these books. After the mid-1960s, most of Frazetta’s work was commercial in nature, as he produced paintings and illustrations for such things as movie posters, book jackets, and calendars. In addition, commercial demand for many of his uncommissioned paintings increased significantly. Frank Frazetta was an Illustrators of the Future Contest judge from its inception until he passed away. “The Illustrators of the Future Contest is one of the best opportunities a young artist will ever get. You have nothing to lose and a lot to win.” —Frank Frazetta Find out more at" from video introduction

Frazetta Art Museum: An Introduction

"Hosted by William Frazetta- the grandson of Frank and Ellie Frazetta- this introductory video touches on aspects of the Frazetta Art Museum such as the creation of the museum, those involved, future plans, and more!" from video introduction

Visit the museum website:

FRANK FRAZETTA ArtWork slideshow

Video from Naitsab es

"Soundtrack Conan: The Barbarian. Composed By Basil Poledouris." from video introduction

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