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Illustrator Frank Frazetta dies at 82

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Illustrator Frank Frazetta dies at 82

Iconic comic book artist mourned by graphic arts community

  • Conan the Barbarian as rendered by Frazetta.
    Frank FrazettaConan the Barbarian as rendered by Frazetta.
  • 'Death Dealer.'
    Frank Frazetta'Death Dealer.'

Illustrator and comic book artist Frank Frazella, best known as the illustrator of the covers for Robert E. Howard's series of Conan the Barbarian adventure novels, died Monday due to complications of a stroke in Fort Myers, Fla.

Frazella, born in Brooklyn, NY, rose to prominence in the 1940s and 50s, as an illustrator for Al Capp's "Lil' Abner." He also drew a series of Buck Rogers covers for comic book "Famous Funnies."

But it was through his famously lurid, fantastic book covers for the Conan series that Frazetta made his strongest mark on the world of graphic arts, creating iconic images of musclebound heroes and half-dressed damsels in distress, and impacting a generation of future artists in the process.

According to, the voluminous outpouring of tributes and condolences from graphic artists and filmmakers has been steady over the last day; their report gathered the following tweets from giants in the industry:

@Oeming Frazetta was one of my idols. I went to his museum got to meet his wife and his paintings. Going to watch Painting wth Fire tonight
-Mike Oeming, Writer/Artist ("Powers,"The Mice Templar")

@SteveNiles Rest in Peace Frank Frazetta. :(
-Steve Niles, Writer ("30 Days of Night," "Criminal Macabre")

@robertliefeld Frank Frazetta R.I.P. The best illustrator, painter, artist of this or any generation has passed away.
-Rob Liefeld, Writer/Artist ("X-Force," "Youngblood")

@gerryconway Sad news about Frank Frazetta. Met him while Roy Thomas and I worked on "Fire and Ice." Defines "giant" in his field.
-Gerry Conway, Writer ("Superman," "Firestorm") 

In the 1970s, Frazetta found new clients among hard rock bands; he contributed cover art for several hit albums, including Nazareth's 1977 release "Expect No Mercy" and Molly Hatchet's eponymous 1978 debut and 1979 follow-up, "Flirtin' With Disaster." His legacy in the hard rock world generated a new market for his work; in 2009, Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett paid $1 million for the painting that was reproduced as the cover of the paperback reissue of Robert E. Howard’s "Conan the Conqueror."

Frazetta is survived by three sisters, Carol, Adel and Jeanie, two sons, Alfonso Frank Frazetta, known as Frank Jr., and William Frazetta, two daughters, Heidi Grabin and Holly Frazetta and 11 grandchildren.

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