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RIP, Frank Frazetta

Folks who consider the art of the fantastic to be true art were saddened when world-renowned fantasy artist and painter Frank Frazetta passed away from a stroke on Sunday (May 9th) at the age of 82. Never a “furry artist” so to speak, he nevertheless managed to sneak a few anthropomorphic characters into his works. No, what gave Mr. Frazetta his fame were his book-covers featuring big, muscle-bound heroes defending scantily-clad (but often well-armed) women from terrible monsters and barbarian hordes. Perhaps more-so than even the writers themselves, Frazetta’s painted covers came to define the image of such characters as Conan the Barbarian (from Robert E. Howard), Tarzan, and John Carter of Mars (both from Edgar Rice Burroughs). Since the 1960’s, Frazetta painted hundreds of well-known book covers, as well as album covers for groups as diverse as Molly Hatchet, Nazareth, and (most recently) Wolfmother. More than anyone else, Frazetta was the one who came to define fantasy heroes and heroines as sexy. He was an inspiration to an entire generation of artists, the most obvious being Boris Vallejo, Richard Corben, Rowina, and The Dark One.