Monday, October 19, 2020

Death Dealer

If I had to choose a single piece of artwork that summed up the feel of "fantasy" around the time I discovered Dungeons & Dragons (1979), it'd be this one.

Painted by Frank Frazetta in 1973, Death Dealer has got to be one of the most iconic – and imitated – pieces of sword-and-sorcery artwork ever created. I'm not sure when or where I first saw it. If I had to guess, I'd imagine I saw it as a poster somewhere, perhaps in a hobby shop, though it's also possible I encountered it in a record store, since Molly Hatchet's debut album used this image as its cover. Wherever I first saw it, the painting is unforgettable. 

A friend of mine growing up was so taken with Death Dealer that it was a regular point of reference for his descriptions of his D&D characters – "He has a horned helmet like the Death Dealer," etc. I also seem to recall that he purchased a Ral Partha miniature that had clearly used Death Dealer for "inspiration" and insisted that it be used for his character.  Who could blame him? It's a remarkable painiting.


  1. One of my favorite paintings of all time... I purchased a print on canvas from the Frazetta Museum ten years ago or so and it hangs above my desk in my office.

  2. I had this figure, both mounted and afoot. Can't for the life of me remember which character I used it for, though.

  3. The Bradford Exchange has this figure as the first in a series of Frazetta items. Just received mine and even my wife was impressed. Karl Edward Wagner’s Kane series of books and the Molly Hatchet covers solidified Frazetta for me growing up.

  4. I've used DD for my internet avatar I figured out how to create an avatar. I, too, have had many fantasy characters informed by Frazetta's painting.

    But ALL of his works are fairly inspiring. I miss this type of fantasy artwork (not a fan of the more "anime-inspired" style). I'm a grumpy old man.