I have a half written piece sitting on my desktop that was supposed to be finished and published today, but yesterday something more important happened. Frank Frazetta died of a stroke at age 82; nearly a year after his wife, Ellie, died battling cancer. I mention the death of his wife for two reasons. The first is to address the reports that since the death of his wife, Frazetta had slowly been slipping away. The other, and more important, is that all of Frank Frazetta’s fans know how important Ellie was to his work. Frazetta, unlike his contemporaries, portrayed women as strong, capable beings and often attributed his admiration for them to his wife. I typically don’t like to get too philosophical on here, but that relationship strikes me as something to strive for. A passionate artist whose passion is derived from those he loves.
It is truly difficult for me to explain the importance of Frank Frazetta to all of Science Fiction/Fantasy, so I’ll keep it simple. Frank Frazetta was a story teller. Through his paintings and drawings, he conveyed more motion and emotion than most film makers or actors ever can. Frank Frazetta is one of the reasons I am writing this now. Though I now seek to write stories, I first sought to illustrate them. Long before I knew about Jack Kirby or Steranko, I knew about Frank Frazetta. It is Frank Frazetta that gave us visions of Tarzan and Conan, of John Carter and of Dracula. It is Frazetta that first brought many of our imaginations to life.
His powerful women, his enchanting heroes and his grotesque monsters. Anyone who draws (or writes for that matter) should wish to be as good as Frank Frazetta. They won’t be.