The Fantastic Worlds of Frank Frazetta, a limited edition book featuring 468 pages of high grade scans of original art, is available now from TASCHEN in the UK and Europe, and in the United States from January 2023.
Frank Frazetta has reigned as the undisputed lord of fantasy art for 50 years, his fame only growing in the 12 years since his death. With his paintings now breaking auction records (“Egyptian Queen” sold for $5.4 million in 2019) he’s long overdue for this ultimate monograph.
Born to a Sicilian immigrant family in Brooklyn, 1928, Frazetta was a minor league athlete, petty criminal and serial seducer with movie star looks and phenomenal talent. He claimed to only make art when there was nothing better to do – he preferred playing baseball – yet began his professional career in comics at age 16. Strip work led him to the infamous EC Comics, then to oils for Tarzan and Conan pulp covers. Both characters were interpreted by many before him, but as he explained in the 1970s, “I’m very physical minded. In Brooklyn, I knew Conan, I knew guys just like him,” and he used this first-hand knowledge of muscle and macho to redefine fantasy heroes as more massive, more menacing, more testosterone-fueled than anything seen before.
As counterbalance he created a new breed of women, nude as censorship allowed, with pixie faces and multiparous bodies: thick thighed, heavy buttocked, breasts cantilevered out to there, yet still, with their soft bellies and hints of cellulite, believably real. Add in the action, the creatures, the twilit worlds of haunting shadow and Frazetta’s art is addictive as potato chips.
This monograph, written by Dan Nadel and Zak Smith, edited by Dian Hanson, is the biggest and most complete ever produced on the artist, done in collaboration with the Frazetta family and with top collectors.
“It covers his whole career,” enthuses author Paul Duncan, one of TASCHEN’s top authors, whose own books for the prestigious publisher include No Time to Die and The Star Wars Archives. “There’s early artwork, including comic strip work.
“It’s great to see working sketches for the paintings, [and] background articles, including one on the movie, Fire and Ice.”
• Buy The Fantastic Worlds of Frank Frazetta by Dian Hanson, Dan Nadel, Zak Smith, direct from TASCHEN here | Buy it from AmazonUK here (Affiliate Link) | Famous First Edition: First printing of 6,000 numbered copies | Hardcover, clothbound with jacket, 29 x 39.5 cm, 4.87 kg, 468 pages | ISBN 978-3836594806 | (Multilingual Edition: English, French, German – Famous First Edition) | Collectors Edition also available from TASCHEN
Dan Nadel is curator-at-large for the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at the University of California, Davis, and a contributor to the New York Review of Books and Artforum. Nadel’s books and exhibitions include Peter Saul: Professional Artist Correspondence 1945–1976 (2020), Chicago Comics, 1960s to Now at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2021), and the forthcoming biography of Robert Crumb (Scribner, 2024). He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Zak Smith is an artist whose work is included in several public collections including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Saatchi Gallery, London; and The Whitney Museum of American Art. He is the author of several books, writes a regular column for Artillery magazine and lives and works in Los Angeles.
Dian Hanson produced a variety of men’s magazines from 1976 to 2001, including Juggs, Outlaw Biker, and Leg Show, before becoming TASCHEN’s Sexy Book Editor. Her titles include the “body part” series, The Art of Pin-up, Masterpieces of Fantasy Art, and Ren Hang.
Item with thanks to Paul Duncan
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.