Friday, February 9, 2007
Frazetta's 79th Birthday!!
That's right, True Believers.. The mighty Frank Frazetta turns a hearty 79 years old today! So take the time to say a little prayer, for his continued good health & happiness.. After all, the guy deserves a little respect for all of the great artwork he's sent our way, throughout his long & diverse career!
If you've got artist friends that still prefer a Boris Vallejo -- or heaven forbid: a Mike (Rip)Hoffman -- over The Main Man, himself?.. Slap 'em & tell 'em to their face, what dumbasses they be.. And then go out and find yourself a new batch of friends! heh
Just check out this asstastic.. er, I mean.. fantastic example of the man's handiwork.. Painting a selection of foxy Frazetta chicks for Harvey Kurtzman, as only 'The Living Legend' can!
I know most of you are probably much more familiar with Frazetta's fantasy art oil paintings?.. Maybe others of you, prefer his pen & ink illustration work? Yours Truly loves ALL of it, don't get me wrong.. But I do have a particular predeliction for Frazetta's comic-book art!
That's right.. COMIC-BOOK artwork, amigos!!
Many fans aren't even aware that Frank had a career as a comic-book artist.. Let alone, just how much of it, he's actually done!
About a year ago, I noticed some attention on Internet blogs, being focussed on Frazetta's prodigious "Funny Animal" catalog.. But beyond those lovely Text Illos,-- it's a rare day indeed, when I see someone post (or write) about the actual Story Art, found in those old-timey Golden Age books..
As a hardcore Frazetta fan,-- that's one of the things that has always bugged me.. That even the so-called "experts" tend to be completely dismissive of Frank's cartooning skills.. The oil paintings get all the Glory. And I guess, we should expect that. But the guy completely kicks ass when it comes to creating pure "cartoony" goodness, in his comic-book material!
For your perusal.. Check out the Title page, of this LOOIE LAZYBONES story; as it appeared in 'THRILLING COMICS' #68 [October 1948]:
Ain't that splash page, a beautifully designed thing?!.. The staging & composition, work so well together! And all of the character posing, reads exquisitely.. I'm also very impressed by the color work.. Even if the registration of the printing plates is a tad wonky,-- you've gotta admire those color-to-color skylines!
These LOOIE LAZYBONES stories were clearly bald-faced imitations of Al Capp's L'IL ABNER.. But the stories were done in the late 40's. And as far as I know, Frank only began working for Al Capp as a "ghost" artist after the JOHNNY COMET/ACE McCOY strip ran outta gas. That would put Frank's "Start" date at the Capp studio, around late '53 I think?.. Suffice to say,-- quite a bit after these LOOIE storylines originally saw publication!
Here's page 3 of the same story:
For all you Frazetta trivia buffs..
Note the foreground tree in panel 4 of page 3.. You'll see that Frank has depicted a carving into the trunk, which reads: "Fritz Loves Carol". This was the name of a dancer that Frank was dating at the time, before he met & (eventually) married Ellie!
Frazetta confessed that he grew to become obsessed with Female legs & calves, as a result of dating this "Carol" girl.. And you can witness examples of these (somewhat) muscular Female dancers' legs, in his 'PERSONAL LOVE' #28 romance story, entitled: "Empty Heart".
Okay, so this next one isn't an example of Frank's comic-book work.. But I couldn't resist posting it, anyhow. It's a watercolor rough, for Frazetta's memorable 'The High Side' oil painting! This prelim was up for bid, in one of the more-recent 'Heritage Auctions'..
Ain't she a beauty?! If only had the cash!
Thankfully, the lack of a reliable Frazetta comic-book compendium, will soon be addressed.. Arnie Fenner (publisher of the most-recent trilogy of Frazetta art books) made an announcement on the 'Frank Frazetta Art Forum' ..
If things go as planned,-- Underwood Books will be releasing the first 128-page collection of Frank's comic stories in: 'THE COMIC ART OF FRANK FRAZETTA' in the Fall of 2007!
There will be somecolor examples in the book, but the majority of the material, will be printed in black&white.. Much of it, made directly from negatives of the 'Original Art' pages. The current plan, is to do at least one initial Volume. With perhaps two more Volumes, in the future.