Fantasy artist Frank Frazetta, who inspired generations of artists with his extensive work on comic books, painted paperback covers and movie posters, died Monday in Florida from a stroke at the age of 82.
Frazetta was best known for his fantasy paintings, the most famous of which is ‘Death Dealer,’ showing a muscled barbarian armed with axe and shield atop a sturdy horse.
Born in 1928, Frazetta became a professional artist at the age of 16, when his first comic book work was published in an issue of Tally-Ho Comics. He worked for many years in the comic book industry, producing a series of famous cover paintings of Buck Rogers for Famous Funnies Comics.
He worked on his own comic strip, Johnny Comet, and assisted Al Capp on the famous Li’l Abner strip.
In the 1960s he turned to painting, turning out dozens of covers for paperback books such as the Conan series, as well as covers for Jim Warren’s more adult comic magazines such as Creepy, Vampirella and Blazing Combat.
His movie poster credits include the 1964 film What’s New Pussycat? He also created artwork for popular heavy metal albums by such artists as Molly Hatchet and Dust.
While his only work in animation was as a producer, costume designer and character creator on the 1983 Ralph Bakshi feature Fire & Ice, Frazetta’s influence on modern art has carried far beyond the impact of that one venture.
In his later years, Frazetta was plagued by health issues and members of his family were involved in a legal dispute that has since been resolved over control of his artwork, which now rests with his agents at the Frazetta Management Corp.