Much as once a week I like to take time off to cover warships (Wednesdays), on Sunday, I like to cover military art and the painters, illustrators, sculptors, and the like that produced them.
Combat Gallery Sunday: The Martial Art of Frank Frazetta
Born February 9, 1928, Frank Alfonso Frazzetta (he later dropped one of the Z‘s and worked professionally as Fritz and later Frank Frazetta) was perhaps the best sci-fi and fantasy artist of the 1970s, 80s and 90s.
He was always with a pencil in his hand as a kid and earned a spot at the Brooklyn Academy of Fine Arts at the age of 8. By age 15, he worked for professional graphic artist John Giunta at the Bernard Baily Publications Studio who did outsource work for a number of comic to include DC.
By 1947 at age 19, he was working for Standard Comics and did everything from Westerns to War stories then moved on to work for EC, National and others.
By the 1960s he hit his own stride and his work began to gain increasing notice, branching out into a series of excellent oil on canvas paintings, movie posters, album covers, and other commercial work all in a style that was increasingly his own.
Oh yeah, and he became the pencil behind all of the iconic Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan and John Carter covers as well as of course the Robert E. Howard’ Conan book covers that changed sci-fi and fantasy art forever…
His martial work really stands out,
Frazetta did a series of covers for George MacDonald Fraser “Flashman” series that covers the swashbuckling adventures of Sir Harry Paget Flashman VC KCB KCIE, a fictional Victorian cavalryman who survives from the Charge of the Light Brigade to the Boer Wars, always coming out the better despite his attempts to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
His Death Dealer painting, which was first used on Molly Hatchet’s first album cover in 1978, went on to take a life of its own and has been used far and wide since then.
Since 1985 it has been the official mascot symbol of the Fort Hood based III Armored Corps who has both an immense outdoor statue and two smaller indoor depictions of the Death Dealer (which they term the Phantom Warrior) at their headquarters.
One of the smaller examples deployed with III Corps units to Iraq.
Sadly Frazetta passed away on May 10, 2010 at age 82.
He was a inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame, the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame, and others as well as earned the attention and admiration of legions of men and boys over the course of his amazing career.
Thank you for your work, sir.