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 Article bout SCHWARZENEGGER & FRAZETTA

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Flaming Turd
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PostSubject: Article bout SCHWARZENEGGER & FRAZETTA   Thu 5 Jun - 7:28

Schwarzenegger's Sargent

by Christopher Helman


Which artist helped make Arnold governor? Frank Frazetta, the Rembrandt of barbarians.


Put aside the deft political machinery, the Kennedy Family missus and the seething masses' discontent. Californians today might not have Arnold if Arnold had not had Conan. The role of a virile, axe-wielding, fur-bearing, cranium-smashing barbarian suited Schwarzenegger to a tee. It made him first a star, then a public figure, now a politician. But who created Conan?

Pulp writer Robert E. Howard dreamed up the character in the 1930s. It was not until the 1970s, though, that the barbarian's popularity took off. That was when illustrator Frank Frazetta gave Conan his present form. Frazetta's wild cover art--fantastic, sensuous, a bit tawdry--moved paperbacks that previously had languished.

In a recent video biography called Frazetta: Painting With Fire, John Milius, director of the Conan films, says he borrowed heavily from Frazetta's imagery.

Raised on the streets of Brooklyn, Frazetta, 75, began drawing at age 2, and drew with an obsession; when he ran out of paper he would fill up the endpapers of novels. He matured into an athlete with movie-star looks, brandishing baseball bats and tennis rackets with the same intensity as his later heroes would wield swords. In 1947 the New York Giants drafted him. Already making good money as an illustrator, he turned baseball down.

If you grew up in the 1950s and 1960s, chances are you've seen his work in comics such as Famous Funnies, Buck Rogers, L'il Abner (which he ghosted for Al Capp) and Johnny Comet. His covers for pulp paperback series like Tarzan and Conan helped sell millions of books.

Though he didn't invent sci-fi/fantasy art, he's the acknowledged master of the genre. Why? "His fluidity. Everything looks so easy. Like he didn't have to work at it," says James Halperin, a Frazetta collector and chairman of Heritage Comics Auctions in Dallas. Frazetta doesn't use models; scenes leap fully formed from his head. His loose and confident lines and ingenious compositions make other pulp novel illustrations look flat and awkward.

Baby boomers laden with nostalgia and cash have helped Frazetta set records for every category of art in the comic and fantasy fields, says Joseph Mannarino of All Star Auctions, who worked with Christie's in 1992 to put together an auction of comic art and illustration. The highlight of that show was Frazetta's "Mastermind of Mars," which went for $86,000. This year it resold for $250,000.

The biggest knock against illustrators is that they're merely artists for hire, rather than conduits to the soul. At least maybe that explains why a museum or a wealthy collector would rather pay $5 million for a Roy Lichtenstein canvas inspired by a comic strip than drop $250,000 for the real deal. Even so, the works of some painters who made a living as illustrators (Maxfield Parrish and Norman Rockwell, for example) fetch pretty good prices these days. Frazetta, being alive, is something of a rarity in this group. The only other living illustrator in his price range is Robert Crumb, hyperneurotic, hippie-era celebrant of pert nipples and heroic butts.

Schwarzenegger's isn't the only famous name to add market value to Frazetta's work. Steven Spielberg and Clint Eastwood own pieces. George Lucas owns 6 oils and 14 pencil and pen-and-ink drawings, some purchased under special circumstances.After Frazetta fell ill in 1985 with thyroid disease, says his wife, Ellie, the family sold pieces to Lucas to help pay for Frank's medical treatments.

The artist is famous for not parting easily with his favorite originals. Sylvester Stallone supposedly offered $1 million for "Cat Girl"--a glorious painting of a naked Frazetta heroine in a dark green forest, arms outstretched against a moss-covered branch. Frazetta declined to sell. The family finds other ways to make such paintings pay: "Death Dealer," for example--a shadowy figure on horseback wielding a bloody scythe, its crimson eyes burning beneath a face-obscuring helmet--has never been sold, but the same image has been used for everything from tattoos to motorcycle art. It has been turned into sculpture and has sold by the thousands as a poster.

Ellie runs the business side of Frank's career, and she knows a thing or two about marketing. Enough, that is, that the family does not have some gallery representing the artist and taking the usual 25% to 40% cut. The Frazettas pocketed their first million, she says, in the 1970s, by selling $3 reproductions of Frazetta paintings. When licensing images for books, posters or trading cards, she insists on large, nonrefundable advances against royalties--a demand few illustrators can get away with, says Russell Cochran of Gemstone Publishing, who has dealt with the artist for 30 years. Explains Cochran, "Frazetta doesn't go to the world, the world goes to Frazetta."

If you want to buy, head for East Stroudsburg in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains, where the Frazettas live on 75 wooded acres. Next to their modest home sits a museum--or maybe we should say showroom--that exhibits 85 oils that are not for sale (see www.frankfrazetta.com). The family, though, will let go of some of the other oils at the museum for $250,000 each; of some watercolors (from an inventory of 300) for $100,000 each; and any of scores of pencil drawings and pen-and-inks, at $50,000 apiece. Thirty years ago Frazetta-drawn panels for Johnny Comet comic strips sold for $35. Ellie now has 40 of them left, at $3,500 each.

Frazetta periodically takes paintings off the walls to fiddle with them, changing a character's posture or subtracting clothing. He does so now with his left hand, since his right (which he used to paint his most famous works, including the Conan oeuvre) has been incapacitated by strokes.

A modest amount of material is available through secondary markets. All Star Auctions (www.allstarauctions.net) is currently offering a half-dozen mediocre oils, including the prototype poster for Robert Rodriguez's flick From Dusk Till Dawn.

Twenty-one rough sketches are being auctioned by Heritage (www.heritagecomics.com). Bids range from $300 to $12,000.

In Illustrious Company
These ten American illustrators have drawn the highest prices at auction. In private sales, some, like Frazetta and Dunn, have fetched even more.
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conan_collector
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PostSubject: Re: Article bout SCHWARZENEGGER & FRAZETTA   Thu 5 Jun - 11:41

thumleft Thank you very much for the interesting article
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Flaming Turd
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PostSubject: Re: Article bout SCHWARZENEGGER & FRAZETTA   Mon 16 Jun - 12:20

It pretty much takes all the info from the PAINTING WITH FIRE documentary. study
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Cromulus The Destroyer
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PostSubject: Re: Article bout SCHWARZENEGGER & FRAZETTA   Mon 16 Jun - 16:51

"Painting with Fire" wasnt bad, however it was like some big ego praise and shouldve featured more of this works, not just repeating "how great Frank is" every few minutes. I have the DVD somewhere, think it came with "Fire & Ice". Which wa so-so, i think Frank only did some background scenery and some preliminary concept art and that was it. He's a very high priced man, which was why he walked away from even helping out a little on CONAN THE BARBARIAN movie.
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PostSubject: Re: Article bout SCHWARZENEGGER & FRAZETTA   Tue 17 Jun - 5:49

Hm, I thought the same about the documentary, got a little tired of the same thing all along, and that party at the end was specially out of place, but it is nice as a quick biography and also there's Milius and Stout not saying too interesting things really but good to see them talking.

Frazetta actually made much more than some backgrounds for "Fire and Ice", he draw tons of preliminary sketches which some of them can be seen at the beginning of the movie -like that "frazetta's king" one of the other thread- and some others can be found making some google search. Also the movie clones a lot of frazetta paintings in the scenes, almost the whole script was made picture by picture. It made the movie maybe too slow for today, but it surely had a great strenght. I love the final battle between Darkwolf and Necron, it's just a cartoon but it makes my body shake with it's amazing power.

Btw, Darkwolf was the father of Necron, but that part was deleted from the final cut. It's fun how Darkwolf talks about his old mate, "that bitch called Juliana". So, in the end, it's the father killing his own evil son. Dark stuff, uh? Twisted Evil
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Cromulus The Destroyer
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PostSubject: Re: Article bout SCHWARZENEGGER & FRAZETTA   Tue 17 Jun - 6:55

The quality of the cartoon animation and art was very poor i think, looked dated even for its time I gotta say, although I kinda enjoyed some parts of the movie itself, wasnt too bad. Compare it to "Heavy Metal" and you will see what I mean. I dont think he did much of the artwork for the movie itself man, if he did, not his finest hour. It was also basically a Thomas' getting back at Milius--as the films seemed quite similar in many ways. But to be fair, theres no telling what Summer's and Thomas' version consisted of, or how much Stone's script influenced them or vice versa.

Darkwolf was good although to quasi-Amerindian for my taste, Arnold basically played his part in RED SONJA besides.

PS

Necron was a evil Homosexual as was Queen Gedren, according to the wikipedia, RED SONJA took some flak because of it. Rolling Eyes
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