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Monday, January 24, 2011

POST # 37 - "THUN'DA" by FRANK FRAZETTA (plus alleged interview)

In Memoriam 
Frank Frazetta
(2/9/28 - 5/10/10)

This is my first opportunity to post a tribute to legendary Frank Frazetta, who passed from our midst over 8 months ago. His name is recognized the world over as one of greatest fantasy artists of the last generation, yet even to say that pays him a disservice. He was more than that, as his body of work stretches well beyond fantasy and science fiction. To comic book artists, he was the ultimate comic artist; to painters and cover illustrators his work has been regarded as the epitome of the genre for decades. He has done work ranging from comic strips (ghosting for Al Capp on Li'l Abner, Johnny Comet, etc.), to westerns, to funny animals, to horror and science fiction, to animated film design, movie and fantasy posters (if you owned at least one Frazetta poster in your life, raise your hand with me), and his name will be forever linked to Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard as the cover artist who brought new life to the pulp characters they created in 1912 (Tarzan) and 1932 (Conan) respectively. Modern enthusiasts will remember his invaluable contributions to the Warren magazine line in the 60's. To most of you, a history lesson isn't really needed. But, for those who know little about him, here today you will find much to enlighten you. Not in my words, but in Frank's own words.

There's much we can learn from the master of illustration. Some information here is taken from FRAZETTA #1, a black and white volume produced and published by Frazetta himself in 1969, as his fame and fortune were still rising. Included here is also a biography from 1975, written by Frank himself, telling us what he thought were important accomplishments in his life up to that point, telling us himself the things he thought were important for us to know about him.

Also here from The FRAZETTA Treasury (1975) is a rare interview with Frank and his wife Ellie Frazetta, who was also his business manager and contributed greatly to his success. Sadly, she passed away in 2009, a year before Frank.

(We interrupt  the original post for important information update)

Information Update:

As readers Rick Tucker and Mr. Door Tree have pointed out to me, there is apparently
  major controversy 
surrounding the authenticity of the information contained in the volume
until today I had never heard of this. Since it was published and then purchased by myself I have always believed it was an authentic Frazetta volume, published with the full authority and under the supervision of Frazetta. Allegedly this may not be the case. As I mention in my comments below, it is still hard for me to accept, since it reads like a real interview and 99.9% seems verifiably accurate!
Still, I cannot ignore Rick Tuckers assertion, as well as Mr. Door Tree's comments on my other blog. I know that Mr. Door Tree has extensive knowledge in this area, and when he weighs in, I therefore have to consider it as accurate.
Thank you, Rick Tucker and Mr. Door Tree.
The rest of you can read it and comment below with your opinion or any information that may shed more light on this controversy.
Thank you all.


* see also update at end of post...
Thank You!

(now back to the original post as originally posted)
So much has been said before, so many books have been written about him, and other blogs paying tribute to the man are impossible to count. As an artist myself, one cannot help but be influenced by his genius.

So I'll keep it short and let the man speak to you himself, through his words and his artwork.


(Thun'da was a creation of Frank Frazetta, published by Magazine Enterprises in 1952.
Here is his origin from Thun'da #1.)

(click images to enlarge)





As I leave you for now, I want you to look at the 1st panel of Thun'da page 10 (last page) done in 1952, and now go back and look at the photo of Frank painting Conan facing the giant snake (photo taken in 1967).
Frazetta certainly knew how to create compelling and thoughtfully designed imagery, and where the giant snake looked fantastic in '52, he recycled and further refined the imagery 15 years later and it became the basis for Lancer paperbacks classic and stunning CONAN THE USURPER cover art.

 There is so much Frank Frazetta contributed to us that I will assuredly be sharing more of his genius with you in days and months to come. In the next day or two, on my other blog, I will be posting little known information about Frank Frazetta's first published oil painting * (click here), and trying to set GCD's record straight. Stay tuned!

* update and revision - When I made the above original post I was unaware of any controversy regarding the authenticity of THE FRAZETTA TREASURY volume and the contents published therein. Since that initial posting, the spurious nature of that volume has been brought to my attention, and therefore much of the information, such as the alleged interview and the inaccurate information regarding Frazetta's alleged first cover painting has been shown to be untrue. I leave the original post(s), complete with the original inaccuracies, to stand as they are, with this and other clarifying updates attached for all to see.
I apologize for any confusion  resulting from these posts. Due to the parties involved who took it upon themselves to publish inauthentic and unauthorized information,  I (like many others) was led astray and lied to by assuming the volume was authentic, and until recently I had no idea of the false nature of THE FRAZETTA TREASURY volume.
Again, my sincere apologies for any involuntary misrepresentation.


  1. And now the bad news. Frank and Ellie both swear this was a bogus interview. The book is also a bootleg published without their permission. We'll never know if the interview is truly bugus or just another thing they fell for and weren't paid for but I now have to take its content with a grain of salt.

    Rick Tucker

  2. I don't know where you got that information, as it doesn't seem likely. The interview appeared in their own publication! Several areas of information contained in the interview can be cross referenced and verified. You are going to have to present something more substantial to back up your claim.

  3. Well, it seems I'm caught in the middle of a controversy yet again...already! As Rick Tucker has commented, and as Mr. Door Tree has commented on my other blog concerning Frazetta, I must now consider that what Rick says is accurate. I have owned The Frazetta Treasury since 1975 and had never heard of the controversy surrounding it's authenticity until now.
    It seems hard for me to believe, as the interview and 99.9% of the information published in The Frazetta Treasury reads as true. When Rick made his comment, I thought that he was just perhaps mistaken, since I don't know Rick or his background...but when Mr. Door Tree, of Golden Age Comic Book Stories, basically repeated the same information and verified the authenticity controversy, I must acquiesce, since I know Mr. Door Tree has externsive knowledge of the subject, and I trust his information 100%.

    If anyone else has information, or wants to weigh in an opinion, please do.
    I will keep the post up, but will post an addendum explaining what has now come to my attention, thanks to astute viewers Rick Tucker and Mr. Door Tree. Thank you both.

    I apologize for posting innaccurate information. It appears I was fooled, along with many others.

    Well, it's still lovely artwork, yes?

  4. The book you should probably try to hunt down, and it's a very tall book, is Russ Cochran's T'hunda reprints which contain the entire first issue in black and white shot from Frazetta's originals. It will probably run you about $60-$80, but in my mind, well worthy it. I bought mine on eBay along with a reprint collection in black and white of Untamed Love, where everyone has grabbed reprints of it ever since. This is also by Russ Cochran and again shot from Frazetta originals. In addition, it is the same format as the T'hunda reprint book. Both volumes are 32 pages of comic art a piece, I believe.