Some Thoughts on Frank Frazetta’s Passing and a Roundup of Tributes

by Jason Thibault and Richard Serrao

Now that we’ve had a week to contemplate artist Frank Frazetta’s passing it’s finally time to post something up here. Rich and I have always been huge fans of Frazetta. His much lengthier and more eloquent words follow mine just below.

I spent some time this week revisiting the monster Comics Journal interview with him. I remember reading it in the print version a decade ago and it was a pleasure to revisit.

Then I sat down with the missus and watched the Painting With Fire documentary made with his cooperation. Again, another pleasure. Especially watching illustrators that we look up to gushing over him.

You’ll read a lot of accounts of many artists when they were still in their teens (or pre-teens) leafing through those soft-cover art books of Frazetta’s that were published in the 70’s and 80’s. I never had a chance to buy one of those volumes but I can vividly remember leafing through them in a shopping mall book store in Halifax when I was a kid. I don’t think my mother would have bought me one so I didn’t bother asking.

Now I’ll let Rich weigh in. – Jay

It’s already been a few days since Mr. Frazetta died and to be honest since I heard the news I still can’t believe it to be true. I’m still hoping it was all a big mistake and that he is alive and well. I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting him and I don’t know him on a personal level, so why am I writing these words? His passing has affected me more than I would have thought. The heaviness of the last few days have begun to sink in and the sadness of losing another artistic legend that inspired me and continues to inspire me on a daily basis makes me think back to my earliest memories of discovering Mr. Frazetta’s artwork.

As the artistic community loses yet another Icon that has left behind a rich legacy for all to remember him by, I’m sure they’ll be a lot of other people that will have their own stories to tell and I think it’s important that we remember how many people he inspired with his artwork. I know that just between my buddy Jay and I we were both HUGE fans of him and when we first heard the news Jay asked me to write a few words to commemorate his passing and celebrate his artistic career, so I’ve decided to talk about Mr. Frazetta’s art from a personal perspective.

It’s funny thinking back so many years ago to the first time I saw his work. It was the mid 70’s and it was on the cover to a black and white magazine called Vampirella. A good friend of mine at the time who was in my class in grade school had a framed copy of the book in his room mounted on the wall. I only got to see it a few times when I visited him at his home but each time I did see it was like being hypnotized. I’d literally lose myself in the artwork, mood and textures he had created for that cover.

Afterward as time passed I had no real idea about how to find out more about him and his work, I was still a little kid after all. I started going to the library trying to find books with his artwork on the covers. It was a long and arduous process but I managed to find a few. Sometimes when I least expected it I’d find some of his work on the cover of a pulp novel. I started borrowing them to try and replicate them for my art class. While his images at first glance seem simple, they are anything but. While trying to draw them I realized just how much more I still had to learn as an artist.

I eventually turned my own art teacher onto Mr. Frazetta’s work. My art teacher encouraged me to continue and push my own boundaries as he helped me to learn from Mr. Frazetta’s work.

It wasn’t until I was 18 years old and had moved to Montreal that I discovered Mr. Frazetta’s work in several volumes for sale at a local bookstore. Unfortunately I was broke but still had just enough cash to buy one volume. Shortly afterward as I had begun working full time and had a bit of money available so I decided to go back to the same store…all of the volumes had sold out and the store went bankrupt not long after. I was devastated. I have never forgotten the feeling of having so many different art books by Mr. Frazetta in my hands. It was quite a feeling.

The one volume I did have though went everywhere with me, unbeknown to most of my friends at the time. I practiced sketching all of the time, no matter where I went. For months and months afterward I impressed my little cousin with my dedication to drawing with all of various pieces of artwork I had finished going to him. Every time I opened this book the artwork inside inspired me to create.

Even Mr. Frazetta’s sketches were incredibly powerful and demanded closer scrutiny.

The true mark of a master illustrator is his/her ability to inspire others to excel and better themselves artistically.

Mr. Frazetta was a Master of his craft.

A Legend.

An Icon.

He will be sorely missed. – Rich

There were a lot of tributes and appreciation pieces posted in honor of Frank Frazetta all over the web last week. Artist Tim Bradstreet wrote up a touching one and Kody Chamberlain said some words as well.

And here’s a sampling of some of the other better ones that I found.

The Beat, Aint It Cool News, The New York Times, The Toronto Star, MTV’s Splash Page, Bleeding Cool, Topless Robot, Comics Alliance, Comics Mix, CBR’s Robot 6 and their Frazetta Tribute – His Warren Covers and a Shining Knight Story, Forbidden Planet, Ink Destroyed My Brush, Johnny Bacardi and Comics Comics.


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