Frank Frazetta : The GodFather of Fantasy Art
(February 9, 1928 – May 10, 2010)

If you are a lover of fantasy art or culture in any form, Frank Frazetta is a name you should know. Dubbed the “Godfather of Fantasy Art”, Frazetta’s iconic artworks have laid the foundation for contemporary fantasy culture as we know it, with reaches far beyond the visual art world.

At the forefront of fantasy art, Frazetta was arguably one of the first artists to ever visually harness the unique world of fantasy, transporting viewers to outer space or prehistoric times with his skillful depictions of warriors, barbarians and the magic of the female form. Frazetta is widely considered the most influential fantasy artist of all time, inspiring generations of actors, musicians, illustrators, artists, and more with his timeless creations.

Frank Frazetta was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1995, the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame in 1998, the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1999, the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2014, the Album Cover Hall of Fame in 2016, and received the Life Achievement Award from the World Fantasy Convention in 2001. He also received the Chesley Award (1988, 1995, 1997), Hugo Award (1966), and Spectrum Grand Master of Fantastic Art Award (1995).

A natural born artist, Frank Frazetta made his first ever artwork sale to his grandmother (for one penny) at just three years old. His artistic talent shone through brightly at an extremely young age, prompting his parents to begin his formal fine arts training at the Brooklyn Academy of Fine Arts at just eight years old. By the age of 16, Frazetta was already building a name for himself in the professional fine art world – A feat most spend their entire lives trying to achieve.

Frank Frazetta for Mad Magazine 1964

Frazetta began his creative career in working primarily in the comic industry, where we became known for his Western and Sci-Fi inspired art. However, following the mass hysteria surrounding comic books and their supposed correlation with juvenile delinquency (resulting in the Comics Code Authority in 1954), Frazetta ventured off to explore other, less censored creative forms. During this time, Frazetta focalized his attention on movie posters and covers: In 1964, Frazetta captured the the attention of United Artists (makers of James Bond) with his Ringo Starr back cover on Mad Magazine and was asked to do the movie poster for Woody Allen’s 1965 film What’s New Pussycat. He would go on to later define an entire genre of art, bringing Fantasy to the forefront of contemporary culture.

By the 1980s, Frazetta’s fame had reached new heights with notables like Clint Eastwood, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Sylvester Stallone all commissioning works for their various movie projects.

Frank Frazetta and Clint Eastwood

Frank Frazetta and George Lucas

The metal bikini dawned by Princess Leia Organa in “Return of the Jedi” was inspired by Frazetta’s artwork according to costume designer Aggie Guerard Rodgers. George Lucas is also said to have told Frazetta that his Famous Funnies #213 comic cover inspired the character Chewbacca. Frazetta’s work also played a huge role in the creation of the Lord of The Rings films.

In 1981, Frazetta collaborated with animator Ralph Bakshi (Fritz the Cat, 1972; Wizards, 1977; and The Lord of the Rings, 1978) on their film Fire and Ice, a breakthrough moment for the way movement and anatomy were depicted in animation.

Barbarian by Frank Frazetta

One of Frazetta’s best known works The Barbarian, depicting a fierce warrior standing on top of a pile of slain foes, has made an indelible mark on popular culture by serving as the primary inspiration behind the Conan the Barbarian story and many others like it. The artwork first appeared on Robert E. Howard’s Conan The Adventurer.

Frazetta continued to push his creativity past the defined genres of the time, creating works and worlds that most audiences had never before experienced. In 1973, Frazetta introduced the world to Death Dealer, an ominous warrior with a dark past that took the world by storm. Death Dealer sparked inspiration across mediums: appearing on the cover of Molly Hatchet’s debut album in 1978, spawning an entire four-part novel series by James Silkes, a comic series, a role playing game and a slew of other Death Dealer spin offs. In 1985, Death Dealer has been used as the mascot of the Ill Corps, a corps of the United States Army, headquartered in Fort Hood, Texas. The United States Department of Defense at Fort Hood commissioned a 14-foot bronze statue of the iconic character which stands proudly at the entrance of the army base. Some say Death Dealer is what inspired George Lucas to create Darth Vader for Star Wars. 

Death Dealer by Frank Frazetta

Decades later, the cultural significance of Death Dealer continues to reign supreme. In 2018, the original artwork sold at auction for over 1.7 million dollars. Egyptian Queen, another iconic creation by Frazetta, sold a year later for 5.4 million dollars, setting the world record for the most expensive piece of original comic book art ever sold at public auction. His beloved A Princess of Mars original oil painting sold for 1.2 million dollars in 2020.

Frazetta’s bewitching style is rooted in classical fine art principles, most notably his mastery of the golden triangle composition which provides each piece with a sense of dynamism and natural flow of movement. His artworks are rich with color, contrast and extreme depth. Fantastical realism at its absolute finest, Frazetta sets himself apart with the powerful stories he tells through his artwork and the uncanny artistic skill and wild imagination he’s displayed while telling them.

Frank Frazetta’s unforgettable legacy lives on through the Frazetta Art Museum, located in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania on the original 67-acre Frank Frazetta estate. The museum is the largest collection of Frank Frazetta original works and houses 37 original oil pieces and countless pencil, pen and ink, and watercolor works and was reopened to the public by Frank Frazetta Jr. in 2013.

Notable Sales

Original Artworks Sold in Auction

Egyptian Queen – $5.4M (5/18/2019)

Death Dealer 6 – $1.79M (6/10/2018)

A Princess of Mars – $1.2M (9/10/2020)

At Earth’s Core – $1.075M (8/6/2016)

Escape on Venus – $660K (8/4/2018)

The Tree of Death – $430K (2/24/2018)

Limited Edition Prints Sold in Auction

Buck Rogers (edition of 50) – $4.4K (5/11/2012)

Death Dealer I (edition of 345) – $1.8K (9/8/2018)

Egyptian Queen (edition of 500) – $2.8K (2/23/2013)

Learn More

The Frank Frazetta Legacy Collection

The Frank Frazetta legacy lives on. The Frazetta Art Museum has collaborated with Knightsbridge to curate and conceptualize the first ever digital collection of Frank Frazetta artworks. Frazetta’s iconic paintings have been brought to life to preserve Frazetta’s legacy, while shining new perspective on three iconic works: Barbarian, Death Dealer I and Death Dealer III.

Artworks will be available for purchase on 4/28 @ 3:30 PM PT on MakersPlace.

Artworks will be available as limited edition and open limited editions.

OPEN LIMITED EDITIONS

Barbarian
Originally painted by Frank Frazetta in 1965, the image first appeared on Robert E. Howard’s paperback, Conan The Adventurer. The Barbarian is one of many paintings that Frazetta used for the covers of the Conan series.

Editions: Open Limited Edition
Pricing: $599

*Available for purchase for 24 hours, UNLESS 50 editions are purchased, in which case a 15 minute timer will ensue.

Death Dealer III
Originally painted by Frank Frazetta in 1987, and repainted later that same year, this painting of Death Dealer is the third in the series featuring this character. This work shows the revised version of the painting, which can be seen in the Frazetta Art Museum in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.

Editions: Open Limited Edition
Pricing: $599

*Available for purchase for 24 hours, UNLESS 50 editions are purchased, in which case a 15 minute timer will ensue.

FIXED EDITIONS

Death Dealer III – The Revision
Originally painted by Frank Frazetta in 1987, and repainted later that same year, this painting of Death Dealer is the third in the series featuring this character. The original version of Death Dealer III was painted at the time Frazetta was ill with undiagnosed Graves’ disease. This version was featured in the paperback cover of James Silke’s“Death Dealer: Lords of Destruction.” Once the proper diagnosis was made and Frazetta was appropriately treated, he felt the original version depicted the Death Dealer as defeated, weak, and dull. Frank decided to revise the existing painting to show the character as more menacing, vibrant, and confident, as he often repainted over works when he was unsatisfied with them. This work includes the original image as it transforms into the revised version of the painting.

Editions: 25
Pricing: $1999

*Final edition will be auctioned

Barbarian – Reflection
Originally painted by Frank Frazetta in 1965, this image first appeared on Robert E. Howard’s paperback, “Conan The Adventurer.” The Barbarian is one of many paintings that Frazetta used for the covers of the Conan series.

This work features a rare self portrait in pencil that transforms into the Barbarian. Frank Frazetta was known for depicting himself in many of the characters he painted, but particularly the Barbarian.

Editions: 25
Pricing: $1999

*Final edition will be auctioned

RARE ORIGINAL 1/1

Death Dealer I
Originally painted by Frank Frazetta in 1973, this is the first painting in a series of works that features this character, The Death Dealer. The painting was used as the album cover on Molly Hatchet’s debut album in 1978, and has also inspired various novels and comics. Since 1985, Death Dealer has been used as the mascot of the III Corps, a corps of the United States Army, headquartered in Fort Hood, Texas. The United States Department of Defense at Fort Hood commissioned a 14-foot bronze statue of the iconic character, which stands proudly at the entrance of the army base. Some say Death Dealer is what inspired George Lucas to create Darth Vader for Star Wars.

Editions: One
Pricing: Accepting Offers Only

*A 24 hour auction will ensue once reserve price has been met

*Owner will receive a physical Bradford Exchange Death Dealer 10 inch tall Sculpture and Limited Edition Lithograph of Death Dealer I Signed by Frank Frazetta Jr. (will be embossed with museum seal COA)

Get in Touch

If you’re a digital creator, you can learn more about MakersPlace here.

Ready to start your rare digital art collection? Join here.

Follow us on DiscordTwitterMediumInstagramFacebook and Pinterest.

Leave a Reply