Saturday, November 5, 2011

Frazetta's NINA Tryout Page

Frazetta drew a couple of sunday pages in 1950 or 1951 as spec work in an effort to secure a job as a strip artist. It was to be titled NINA. A complete sunday example is published in the new Vanguard JOHNNY COMET volume. It was first published in the LIVING LEGEND paperback volume in 1981. Other individual panels have appeared in various places.


This two panel sequence has never been seen. It is spectacular. Frank poured his soul into these pages and the quality is simply stunning. The subject matter was perfectly suited to Frank's abilities and interests. Frank's art had reached a new level of excellence. There was no one else around at this time that could produce work of this quality. Frank was pulling away from the pack and all his friends were aware of it. The strip art business was a very tough one to break into. It was a year later that Frank landed the JOHNNY COMET strip. We can only dream about what Frazetta would have accomplished if the NINA strip had been accepted.


DocDave Winiewicz

All art, of course, is (c) Frazetta Estate 2011

14 comments:

  1. Never before seen, indeed!! Geez, I thought I'd seen all of the NINA stuff before.. But this one is completely new to me.. Just gorgeous inkwork! Thanks again, for sharing!

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  2. Thanks Rich! I'll be publishing the third panel from this tier next week. It is quite unique.

    DAVE

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  3. Dave, I've been checking out your blog for the past month and absolutely love it. Thank you for sharing your memories of Mr. Frazetta and all the great imagery. A wonderful resource for learning and better understanding the master.

    I had a short question I wanted to ask you about Mr. Frazetta's procedure in composing but couldn't find your email. If you could email me jussi_tarvainen (at) hotmail.com so I could get your contact info that'd be wonderful.

    Again thanks so much for sharing the insights of a legend.

    All the best,
    Jussi Tarvainen

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  4. Rob Pistella recently told me the strip featuring the Nina character was to be called "Beauty and the Beast". The logo had Nina clad similarly to Sheena of the Jungle, sitting on a log with a swallowtail butterfly at her fingertips, with a club-wielding Neantherdal approaching her from the far right. I'm sure you've seen this long before I have. I've also seen two panels of the plane approaching a rocky cliff (published in the Alexander Gallery retrospective of Frazetta's work) which seem to immediately precede the panels you've posted here (and which precede that page which appeared in LIVING LEGEND). Lastly, Arnie Fenner shared an unfinished panel (pencilled & partially inked) which in continuity follows the Sunday page. In it Nina is climbing down a rocky ledge within the cavern. In a final panel she is falling, having lost her footing.

    The whole strip seemed like a female counterpart to THUN'DA. One thing you might consider: director Michael Powell's first film was a 1936 semi-documentary called "The Edge of the World," filmed on one of the Shetland Islands. The rocky cliffs with the ocean waters splashing about them look uncannily like those in the Frazetta strip. I cannot help but wonder if Frank was inspired by this striking film (we'd talked in the past about part of a silent film used in the 1935 talkie "Dante's Inferno" as well as "Night of the Hunter" and other memorable motion pictures).

    Best regards,

    Alec S.

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  5. The name BEAUTY AND THE BEAST was the name given to the logo top strip when it was produced as a print. The strip was always going to be called NINA, after one of Frank's girlfriends. There are other panels also published in the Frazetta MEMORY BOOK from 1977. Frank drew two complete pages and started rearranging the panels after the fact.

    As for the film, it wouldn't surprise me if Frank had seen it. He was quite the film buff.

    Thanks for the additions!

    DAVE

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  6. "Frank drew two complete pages and started rearranging the panels after the fact."

    Come to think of it, I'm in error about the sequence: the two panels you shared come after Nina's fall from the cliff, not earlier in the story.

    Thank you for sharing these scans!

    Alec

    P.S. You can see "Edge of the World" on Youtube here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7_SfZC2fKk

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  7. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this panel immediately precedes the ones you've shared:

    http://tinyurl.com/7p6z2oe

    Alec

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  8. Yes, indeed. And that panel is physically attached to the panel that shows Nina wondering in some rocks. Only part of that panel is inked and it is stained. I don't have an image right now.

    DAVE

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  9. It was on the joevicas.frazetta board, but the image has since been deleted. A friend of mine may have saved it; I'll check.

    Alec

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  10. I have it and found it. I'll put it up tomorrow. I also have 2 other panels.

    DAVE

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  11. I look forward to seeing them. Here's a pic of me with Frank Frazetta in late 2004. It was always a pleasure to take my college art students every year to the museum in Stroudsburg, and over the course of time I was able to meet the entire family.

    http://www.webcitation.org/5kmWJO2vw

    Kind regards,

    Alec

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  12. That's fantastic! I 'm sure you have some great memories. I hope people preserve their encounters with Frank; it will be invaluable to the coming generations.

    DAVE

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  13. Never seen this amazing, just ordered the new Johny Comet, should be getting here soon, his inking is like totally the best.

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