A brutal, battling Frankenstein’s Monster straddles a tumbling tombstone on a cemetery knoll, rats and bats in attendance, and torch bearing villagers converging under a bloody orange sky.
When he delivered this dramatic, atmospheric oil painting for the cover of Creepy no. 10 (August, 1966), Frank Frazetta was at his creative peak. Over the next incredibly prolific seven years, Frazetta would produce most of the cover images that would cement his reputation as an artist’s artist. His paperback covers for Lancer Books’ Conan reprints not only fixed the image of the muscle-bound barbarian in the public consciousness, they fueled sales for the series in the millions of copies.
Publisher Jim Warren, an unabashed fan of Frazetta’s work, offered him total creative freedom. “Just do it,” Warren said. “Just bring it in!”. Frazetta would produce stunning covers for Warren’s horror comic magazines Eerie and Creepy, and sensuous masterpieces for Vampirella. Free to experiment, the artist explored unusual compositions and startling color combinations.
The outstanding Frankenstein cover for Creepy number 10 is three-dimensional, its main elements popping off the page, the graveyard in deep focus receding to a far horizon. The dynamic characters, anchored by heavily textured soil, are framed and focused by the dead tree and its clawing branches. If you are familiar with the work of Jeff Jones and Bernie Wrightson, you can actually see elements in this painting that influenced and informed their styles.
Though Frank Frazetta’s distinctive brushstroke signature would become instantly recognizable to fans, it is nowhere to be seen on this cover. The artist playfully engraved his name on the overturned tombstone.
There are four Frazetta books edited by Arnie and Cathy Fenner of Spectrum fame: Legacy: Selected Paintings and Drawings by the Grand Master of Fantastic Art, Frank Frazetta; Frank Frazetta: Icon; Testament: The Life and Art of Frank Frazetta, and the newly published Spectrum Presents Frank Frazetta: Rough Work.
On DVD: Fire and Ice, Ralph Bakshi’s sword and sorcery epic designed by Frazetta is available in a two-disc limited edition that includes Painting With Fire, a documentary directed by Lance Laspina. Frazetta - Painting With Fire is also available as a standalone DVD.