Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Personal Favorite

I'm sure everyone has a favorite Frank Frazetta painting, the vast majority of which I'll wager depict Conan. I'll be honest and admit that I'm actually not a huge fan of Frazetta's Conan pieces, which is why my personal favorite is one I've posted here before -- his A Princess of Mars.

I'd make a very poor art critic, so I can't go on at length about the technical brilliance of this illustration and why it makes it worthy of approbation. I can only say that I like this painting, which nicely captures the essence of Burroughs's characters and stories in a way that appeals to me. In the same way that a lot of people think of Frazetta's Conan when they imagine the Cimmerian, I think of Frazetta's John Carter and Dejah Thoris when I think of these characters. No other illustration transports me to my childhood adventures on Barsoom the way this one does and that's my sole criterion for my appreciation of it.

13 comments:

  1. How old were you when you first read ERB?

    (I used to have that one on my wall, btw.)

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  2. I really wish that they would re-release the John Carter of Mars books with the Franzetta covers. As it stands they are kinda hard to find. John Carter is overlooked in relation to those other heroes of that era like Tarzan and Conan, and to a lesser degree, Krull.

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  3. Zornhau,

    I can't recall precisely when I read John Carter, but I'm guessing I was probably around 10 or 11 years old.

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  4. How old were you when you first read ERB?

    I was 30, as in I bought and started reading A Princess of Mars last year, as a part of my continued education in pulp adventure. I ended up getting sidetracked, but I have enjoyed my reading so far, and I plan on getting back to it and finishing it.

    Oh and that Frazetta cover? In two words, majestic, and savage.

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  5. Frazetta's gift was his attention to alien anatomy - I really wish CGI monsters caught one-tenth of his craft for the physical. He was great, obviously, at human kinesiology and structure as well, but in the creatures is where you can clearly see the separation from his peers.

    We are very fortunate to have had him on our side.

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  6. I have to agree. I love this picture. The alien imagery, the costumes and sword. But in terms of composition, it's wonderful as well, and much imitated.

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  7. I always found Franzetta's females too fleshy for my tastes, and much preferred Vallejo for that reason.

    Franzetta, RIP.

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  8. I enjoyed Frazetta's Mars and Venus work the most. And he's remained my favorite fantasy artist. I had a different Mars painting on my wall, the Thuvia one, but I loved them all. I also really like his pen and ink work.

    How old was I? Probably around thirteen. And the cover of Carson of Venus probably prompted me to read my first ERB. But I might've seen (and owned) Vampirella first.

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  9. Thuvia, Maid of Mars was always my favorite. But, man; that's a hard call to make. There's so many great illustrations to choose from. Savage Pellucidar was also always a favorite, as was Tarzan Meets La of Opar.

    The original Death Dealer is a bit overexposed, but I really like the cover for Prisoner of the Horned Helmet.

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  10. Personally, I think all of Frazetta's stuff is awesome (even his left handed work) but I have to say, the Mars stuff while great, just does not imho, contain the ferocity and visceral qualities of his earlier work for the Conan covers. They seem to leap off the page and attack the viewer, which I think is a lofty feat indeed to pull off, especially since I have only viewed book covers and high quality lithographs.

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  11. Great painting, no doubt.

    Why does Dejah Thoris have tan lines?

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  12. James, I disagree with you reasonably often, but have never agreed with you more strongly than I do now. This picture is epic.

    Vallejo and a thousand other inferiors and wannabes only wish they had a tenth of Frazetta's talent.

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  13. I'm a Death Dealer man myself...

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