Anyone who has followed here, or has seen any of my interviews knows how much I love Andre Norton's books. If I had to choose a favorite author she would, no doubt, be at the top of the list. I will happily read anything and everything that has her name on it, and I was saddened to find out that she had passed away a few years ago. I found out late, mind you, but it still felt like a loss.
This week the world, and the universe of fantasy and sci-fi in particular, lost a man named Frank Frazetta.
Now I know very little about him personally, aside from what his biography, Painting with Fire, depicted. (I highly recommend you watch it.) But what I do know is that he was an amazing, talented individual. He was intelligent, forward thinking, and he changed the world of Fantasy one image at a time.
His paintings made books sell--books that had never done much more than collect dust. He defined Conan, Tarzan, Burroughs' Mars. His images ignited imaginations and swept the viewer easily away to other worlds, and no one could come close to mimicking his style or effect. (though many tried and still try)
For me, Frank Frazetta was a personal hero--and I don't have many. As a pre-teen, still captivated primarily by books about Horses and YA romances, catching a glimpse of what Frazetta could do with paint, changed my universe. As a young artist, he became everything I wanted to be and do. (until art school beat it out of me years later)
Like a lot of people who found his work, my world expanded because of it. I own books of his paintings and I can still stare at them, images Ive stared at a thousand times, and find some new twist of shadow, some hint of tentacle or scaled arch, and imagine new things hiding there.
And I'll still buy any book with his work on the cover. I can't help myself. The man had a power, a strength that translates into his work. He had the foresight to keep all his originals in an industry where that just wasn't done. He told Disney to piss off when they offered him work. He re-learned how to draw with his off hand when a stroke took the use of his good one.
He turned down an offer to play pro baseball.... the list goes on.
All I know, is this loss, is a big one. And I'm glad to have known his work, and to posses even representations of it. If you're not familiar with it, go and seek some of the paintings out, read about the man. Enjoy the worlds he made.
I always will.