Charles R. Saunders Gives Props to Frazetta

Over on his Drums of Nyumbani blog, Charles R. Saunders has posted an entry entitled, “In Memoriam: Frank Frazetta.” Mr. Saunders reminisces about his discovery of Frazetta’s work, depictions of blacks in Frank’s art and also speculates about what a Frazetta cover for an Imaro novel might have looked like. CRS does an admirable job covering the latter two topics, but I have few more factoids and opinions to add. Feel free to click the link above, read the post and click back here.

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Frank Frazetta: What He Meant To Me

Many, many things have been said about Frank Frazetta’s work over the past five decades. Some of those quotes can be accessed here. What I want to write about is how Frank’s work and his life affected me over the past thirty-plus years. The influence of both was profound.

Unlike some, I did not come upon Frazetta’s work via the covers of Robert E. Howard paperbacks (or vice versa). The Lancers were out of print and Ace had not started republishing those volumes. I discovered Frank Frazetta’s art on the side of a van. A big, groovy 1970s van sitting in a K-Mart parking lot. Frazetta’s Silver Warrior was airbrushed on the side. While not a perfect reproduction, it was plenty close enough to the original to blow my young mind.

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Frazetta Family Dispute (Seemingly) Resolved

The news is out. The four children of Frank Frazetta, Sr. have agreed to settle their differences beyond the legal confines of a Pennsylvania county courtroom.

As regular readers of The Cimmerian already know, the past nine months have been traumatic for Mr. Frazetta. In July 2009, Ellie Frazetta, Frank’s wife, business partner and number-one fan, passed away after a battle with cancer. Things seemed to unravel after that.

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Another Frazetta Painting Up for Auction

Heritage Auction Galleries is handling the consignment of a Frazetta painting that is probably well-known to most Sword-and-Sorcery art devotees. Here’s the description from the website:

Warrior with Ball and Chain, Flashing Swords #1, paperback cover, 1973

Oil on board

23 x 19 in.

Signed lower right

This stirring, savage, and superb Frazetta masterwork, sometimes titled Warrior with Ball and Chain, first appeared on the cover of the sword and sorcery anthology edited by Lin Carter, Flashing Swords #1, Dell Books #2640, 1973.

One of the top Frazetta paintings in private hands, Warrior with Ball and Chain was purchased in the February 1993 Guernsey’s auction, and according to its listing there, is one of the largest Frazetta covers ever painted. Some aficionados feel his piece may have been originally created for the Lancer Conan series of the late sixties, but not used there, since the Conan figures of two of the Lancer covers are so similar to the Warrior.

A copy of the Flashing Swords #1 paperback is included with this lot.

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Frazetta Inks a New Deal With Vanguard Productions


Despite all of the recent controversy, there is some bright news on the Frazetta front. Here’s the word straight from Vanguard

Legendary fantasy artist Frank Frazetta and acclaimed publisher Vanguard Productions announce a new publishing relationship. Frank Frazetta said, “We’ve known Vanguard publisher J. David Spurlock for many years. Vanguard publishes the very best! I’ve enjoyed their books on Hal Foster, Al Williamson, Jeffrey Jones, Neal Adams, Jim Steranko, Basil Gogos, Carmine Infantino and more. David helped on our Painting with Fire documentary and we helped him on Vanguard’s Roy G. Krenkel, Wally Wood, and J. Allen St.John books. It’s a natural that we should work together. I’m looking forward to seeing the quality job they do on the new books.”

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Notary “Bombshell” at Frazetta Hearing No Surprise Here at TC


Frank Frazetta Jr. outside the Marshalls Creek court office Wednesday.

There was plenty of drama at the Marshalls Creek court office Wednesday. Alfonso Frank Frazetta, also known as Frank Jr., stood before District Judge Brian Germano to answer charges pertaining to his break-in at the Frazetta Museum. Germano, after hearing testimony, reduced Frazetta’s bail from a whopping $500,000 dollars to $50,000. Soon after the ruling, Frank Jr. was released on bail.

Some of the testimony the judge heard came from Adeline Bianco, a notary public. According to what Bianco informed Pocono Record reporters after the hearing, Frank Frazetta Sr., the legendary artist, came to her office on November 30, 2009. In a meeting that lasted nearly an hour, Frank Sr. signed a document authorizing Frank Jr. to secure the artist’s paintings by “by any means necessary,” according to Bianco. She notarized the document and returned it to Frank Sr. Apparently, acting upon Frank’s wishes, she also revoked the power-of-attorney which had been held by Frazetta’s other three children: Bill Frazetta, Holly Taylor and Heidi Gravin. The existence of the notarized document was reported here at The Cimmerian right after the news of the break-in hit the national media.

The existence of that notarized letter, which Frank Frazetta apparently mailed to his son, Frank Jr., may be critical in establishing  Frank Jr.’s innocence. If Frank Jr. believed that he was acting according to his father’s wishes, then there was no criminal intent. It appears possible that the existence of the letter was what prompted the other three Frazetta siblings to begin making noises about possible extra-legal reconciliation with their brother.

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Break-In at the Frazetta Museum

Alfonso Frank Frazetta

Alfonso Frank Frazetta

Word has gone out all over the wire and aether that Alfonso Frank Frazetta, generally called by his family, “Frank Jr.”, broke into the Frank Frazetta Museum in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania Wednesday afternoon with the aid of a backhoe and two accomplices. He attempted to remove about ninety paintings insured for twenty million dollars before being apprehended by Pennsylvania State Police. The most up-to-date account can be found at the Pocono Record website.

Frank Jr. is the son of Frank Frazetta, the legendary artist. Last month, as reported by TC, one of Frazetta’s paintings was auctioned to a private collector for one million dollars. At the time, your humble blogger thought it all a bit unusual, and wondered if it was somehow connected to the death of Frank’s wife, Ellie. Ellie Frazetta had been the guiding hand and driving force behind much of Frank Frazetta’s commercial success over the last thirty years. It was Eleanor Frazetta who started the very profitable Frazetta mail-order business and was also the one who pushed the Frazetta Museum project to its final completion.

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Frazetta’s “Conqueror” Sells For a Cool Million


Frazetta's "Berzerker," renamed due to legal disputes with de Camp.

After hanging in the Frazetta Museum in East Stroudsburg for ten years, the painting used for the cover of Conan the Conqueror is now in the hands of a private collector. All it cost the unnamed buyer was a reported one million dollars.

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Eleanor “Ellie” Frazetta: 1935-2009


July 17, 2009, East Stroudsburg PA: Eleanor ‘Ellie’ Frazetta, the
wife of celebrated artist Frank Frazetta, passed away today to be with the Lord after a courageous one-year battle with cancer.

Eleanor Kelly was born in Massachusetts and moved to New York where she married Frank in November, 1956. She acted as his business partner as well as his lifelong companion. Known for her feisty personality as well as her intuitive business acumen, she was instrumental in successfully establishing record prices for Frank’swork throughout her life.

She is survived by her husband Frank, her four children, Frank Jr.,Billy, Holly and Heidi, numerous grandchildren, and many friends.

A public memorial is planned and details will be announced
shortly. In the meantime, the family requests privacy.

Rob Pistella
Stephen Ferzoco
On behalf of the Frazetta Family

That was the announcement that went out over the internet on Friday, July 17. This is my belated tribute to Ellie. (Continue reading this post)

Frazetta: The Definitive Reference

Since the late ’60s, Howard and Conan fans have praised and supported Frank Frazetta and his sterling work, and this new century is no different. In May of 2006 The Cimmerian printed a symposium on the fortieth anniversary of the classic Lancer Conan the Adventurer, which included a fascinating article on Frazetta and his legendary efforts to do artistic justice to the prose of Robert E. Howard, written by artist and scholar Anthony Avacato. Now longtime Cimmerian reader Andrew Steven has tipped me off to a new Frazetta book that he’s involved with, one that Howard and Conan fans of all stripes will want to check out.

Frazetta: The Definitive Reference is billed as the most complete summation of the fantasy master’s work ever put into print. It contains a listing for every published piece of Frazetta art, along with essays by notable Frazetta scholars, and the whole works is supplemented by over eight-hundred illustrations (four hundred in full color). The volume is set to debut in August 2008 in three separate editions: softcover ($29.99), hardcover ($39.99), and deluxe hardcover in slipcase ($59.99). You can get the standard discounts by shopping through Amazon and other mass market outlets (but you are flipping a coin as to whether you’ll get the book in acceptable condition).

Congratulations to Andrew for helping make this book as complete and accurate as can be. It’s always nice to have hardcore Howardists contributing to such things and ensuring that REH gets properly represented.