Today one of the great American fantasy artists passed away. Frank Frazetta first became a rock star with his hand-painted renderings of Conan the Barbarian and the countless fantasy book covers that he subsequently illustrated. His paintings-- highly detailed and masterful illustrations of beasts, battles, demons, and hot chicks coiled up with serpentine monsters-- were distinctive and iconic and made Frazetta one of the most in-demand commercial artists of his time. Though he was highly sought-after by Hollywood and created a couple movie posters, his only feature film project was FIRE & ICE, a collaboration with Ralph Bakshi (the animated LORD OF THE RINGS) that I can't believe I haven't seen. Frazetti created the characters for this 1983 animated fantasy epic, and it looks to feature some nice rotoscoping, a technique of animating over live action photography, used in early Disney features as well as recent films like A SCANNER DARKLY. The result-- a fluid and uncanny realism to the heroes' bodies in motion, and a natural fit for Frazetta's penchant for exposed bosoms and buttocks. Here's the trailer, but first some of my favorite paintings by the legendary Frank Frazetta. (click each image for a larger view)

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