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Future Treasures: Fantastic Paintings of Frazetta by J. David Spurlock

Monday, May 18th, 2020 | Posted by John ONeill

Fantastic Paintings of Frazetta-smll

There’s not many novels in the publishing pipeline this month, to be honest with you. The regular flood of advance proofs and review copies that wash up in the mailroom at Black Gate‘s rooftop headquarters here in Chicago has slowed to a trickle, and the only thing flooding in these days is book cancellations and postponements.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t have exciting publishing news for you. Would we ever let you down? (Hint: no.) The upcoming month of June is looking lighter than usual from a publishing perspective, but that just means the books remaining in the schedule will be all the more cherished. And that goes double for J. David Spurlock’s oversized tribute to one of the great fantasy artists of the 20th Century, Fantastic Paintings of Frazetta.

J. David Spurlock is the author of Art of Neal Adams, Alluring Art of Margaret Brundage: Queen of Pulp Pin-Up Art, and Paintings of J Allen St John: Grand Master of Fantasy, all from Vanguard, as well as multiple volumes dedicated to Frank Frazetta, including the Frazetta Sketchbook (two volumes) and The Sensuous Frazetta. His latest is Fantastic Paintings of Frazetta, which repackages and expands the long out-of-print The Fantastic Art of Frank Frazetta from 1977 into a 120-page coffee table book. It arrives in hardcover next month from Vanguard.

The Fantastic Art of Frank Frazetta Book One-small The Fantastic Art of Frank Frazetta Book Two Icon A Retrospective by the Grand Master of Fantastic Art-small
Testament A Celebration of the Life & Art of Frank Frazetta Frazetta The Definitive Reference-small Legacy Selected Paintings and Drawings by the Grand Master of Fantastic Ar, Frank Frazetta

Some previous Frazetta art volumes 1977 – 2008

Fantastic Paintings of Frazetta is by no means the only art book dedicated to the master. Above are just a few of the many deluxe volumes celebrating Frazetta’s astonishing contributions to fantasy art published over the last few decades. They are:

The Fantastic Art of Frank Frazetta, Volume One (Rufus, 1977)
The Fantastic Art of Frank Frazetta, Volume Two, edited by Betty Ballantine (Peacock Press, 1982)
Icon: A Retrospective by the Grand Master of Fantastic Art, edited by Cathy Fenner and Arnie Fenner (Underwood Books, 1998)
Testament: A Celebration of the Life & Art of Frank Frazetta, edited by Cathy Fenner and Arnie Fenner (Underwood Books, 2001)
Frazetta: The Definitive Reference by James Bond and David Winiewicz (Vanguard, 2008)
Legacy: Selected Paintings and Drawings by the Grand Master of Fantastic Art, Frank Frazetta, edited by Cathy Fenner and Arnie Fenner (Underwood Books, 1999)

Most of these, like the 5-volume set of slender Fantastic Art of Frank Frazetta volumes, are long out of print and command exorbitant prices. A handful are still available in limited quantities from some sellers.

Icon A Retrospective by the Grand Master of Fantastic Art-interior

Interior pages from Icon: A Retrospective by the Grand Master of Fantastic Art,
by Cathy Fenner and Arnie Fenner

Here’s an excerpt from the description for Fantastic Paintings of Frazetta.

Discover, or return to, the world’s greatest heroic fantasy artist, Frank Frazetta in this landmark art collection entitled, Fantastic Paintings of Frazetta. The New York Times said, “Frazetta helped define fantasy heroes like Conan, Tarzan and John Carter of Mars with signature images of strikingly fierce, hard-bodied heroes and bosomy, callipygian damsels” Frazetta took the sex and violence of the pulp fiction of his youth and added even more action, fantasy and potency, but rendered with a panache seldom seen outside of major works of Fine Art. Despite his fantastic subject matter, the quality of Frazetta’s work has not only drawn comparisons to the most brilliant of illustrators, Maxfield Parrish, Frederic Remington, Norman Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth but, even to the most brilliant of fine artists including Rembrandt and Michelangelo and, major Frazetta works sell for millions of dollars, breaking numerous records….

J. David Spurlock started crafting this book by reviving the original million-selling 1970s mass market art book, Fantastic Art of Frank Frazetta. But, he expanded and revised to include twice as many images and, presents them at a much larger coffee-table book size of 10.5 x 14.625”! The collection is brimming with both classic and previously unpublished works of the subjects Frazetta is best remembered for including barbarians, beasts, and buxom beauties. Game of Thrones creator George R. R. Martin said, “Though he bears only a passing resemblance to the Cimmerian as Robert E. Howard described him, Frazetta’s covers of the Conan paperback collections became the definitive picture of the character… still is…”

Here’s a look at all five volumes of The Fantastic Art of Frank Frazetta, the first volume of which served as the basis for Spurlock’s new book.

The Fantastic Art of Frank Frazetta-small

All five volumes of The Fantastic Art of Frank Frazetta, plus The Comic Strip Frazetta

Fantastic Paintings of Frazetta will be published by Vanguard on June 16, 2020. It is 120 pages, available as a Deluxe Hardcover with Slipcase with a 16 page bonus section, signed by J. David Spurlock and Frank Frazetta Jr, for $69.95, and a standard hardcover edition priced at $39.99. Order copies directly from the Vanguard website.

While you wait, you can still buy and enjoy The Fantasy Art of Frazetta wall calendars for 2020 and 2021 for just $14.99 each, still available and a fine way to get oversized Frazetta paintings on your walls. (2019 is still available too… and admit it, you weren’t really going to use these things as calendars anyway.)

The Fantasy Art of Frazetta 2020 Calendar-small 2021 The Fantasy Art of Frazetta 16-Month Wall Calendar-small

The 2020 and 2021 Frazetta wall calendars, still available

See all our recent Art coverage here.

10 Comments »

  1. If i were to own any art book it would be one by Frazetta. I always have a hard time allowing myself to spend money on stuff like this.

    I live 10 hours from the Frazetta museum in PA. Hopefully i can make it there one day.

    With release dates getting pushed back you can catch up on your “to read” list.

    Comment by Glenn - May 19, 2020 8:41 am

  2. I’m a huge Frazetta fan. I bought the first two books in the ‘Fantastic Art’ series as a teenager (and they weren’t cheap, even then) and thumbed through them countless times. I remember being surprised to discover afterwards how relatively small the paintings were – I think around A3? – given Frazetta’s bravura style, I was expecting these huge canvases.

    Did anybody ever see Tia Carrere in the late unlamented ‘Kull the Conqueror’? She’s wearing green contact lenses and a red wig and it’s like she just walked out of a Frazetta painting.

    Comment by Aonghus Fallon - May 19, 2020 9:29 am

  3. > I always have a hard time allowing myself to spend money on stuff like this.

    Glenn — I know what you mean. Art books always seem so expensive compared to the mass market fiction I usually buy. I can get three new books for $39.99 (or a whole mess of vintage paperbacks.)

    Still, these books are usually produced on good paper and in very limited print runs, which explains the cost. And unlike most new novels, they rapidly become collector’s items and increase in value. It’s a tradeoff.

    Comment by John ONeill - May 19, 2020 10:38 am

  4. > Did anybody ever see Tia Carrere in the late unlamented ‘Kull the Conqueror’? She’s wearing
    > green contact lenses and a red wig and it’s like she just walked out of a Frazetta painting.

    Aonghus,

    I see what you mean! I haven’t seen Kull the Conqueror, but the homage to Frazetta seems pretty clear.

    Tia Cerrere in Kull the Conqueror 1997

    Comment by John ONeill - May 19, 2020 10:46 am

  5. Not seeing Kull the Conqueror is a good first step towards living your best life.

    I don’t have any Frazetta art books (or Boris, for that matter), but I do have some Virgil Finlay and Hannes Bok and several Roy Krenkel, who might be my secret favorite.

    Comment by Joe H. - May 19, 2020 11:18 am

  6. I bought the original Fantastic Art of Frank Frazetta when it came out in 77; I don’t have it now, and have no idea what happened to it, one of a very few books of mine that I can say that about. Almost certainly someone walked off with it. Pretty understandable!

    Comment by Thomas Parker - May 19, 2020 11:38 am

  7. I have four of the six you show in the first photo, so I’m not sure what I’d get that’s new in this volume. Your thoughts?

    Comment by R.K. Robinson - May 19, 2020 5:31 pm

  8. Ave Frazetta!

    Comment by John E. Boyle - May 20, 2020 4:49 pm

  9. […] O’Neill, publisher/editor-in-chief of Black Gate magazine, is happy (nay, giddy!) to report that David Spurlock, working with the Frazetta Museum, has undertaken to revive a classic collection […]

    Pingback by By this brush, I paint! | Beamer Books - May 20, 2020 9:11 pm

  10. I always preferred Frazetta over Boris Vallejo; I think Frazetta had much more imagination, and I liked his humans better. Vallejo’s women reminded me of the girls of some high school cheerleading squad who’d never think twice about going out with an average non-jock like me; Frazetta’s females looked like real women, with faces that haunted me with their softened beauty. The woman I married could have been a Frazetta woman. I wish at some point I had told her that.

    Comment by smitty59 - May 20, 2020 11:02 pm


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