Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Sensuous Frazetta



I just received my copy of the deluxe limited edition of the SENSUOUS FRAZETTA. It was sent to me by my good friend, David Spurlock, the very hard working publisher of Vanguard Books. Yes, I did recently sell my collection of art, fanzines, and books. However, I did keep a number of volumes that I consider essential. All the various publications produced by Dave Spurlock fall into this category. My bookcase is chock full of Vanguard books. Again, they are ESSENTIAL for any true Frazetta fan and connoisseur.

This latest volume in the FRAZETTA CLASSICS SERIES  is another must have. What could be better than a volume devoted to Frazetta's women? Patrick K. Hill is responsible for the overall design of the book and Patrick did an exceptional job. It is a very handsome volume with accurate captions and nice layout. The opening essay by Joseph Michael Linsner is heartfelt, sensitive, and insightful. The remaining explanatory essays are very informative and provide a wonderful context for the published illustrations. The quotations from Frazetta that are sprinkled throughout the text are wonderfully appropriate and provide a nice insight into Frank's thinking. Older fans and newer fans will learn from this book.

The heart and soul of this volume is, of course, the art. What incredible art! The book provides a wonderful overview of the role that sensuality and eroticism played in Frazetta's career. Frank drew and painted women in such a unique manner. His women "Live" on the page. They touch us, affect us, enflame the mind and imagination. Yes, they encourage more than a bit of mental lust. The book covers the whole gamut of published genres from magazines to oils to movie posters to paperbacks. The Frazetta visual universe is vast and extremely impressive.

I thought I had seen every single image of females drawn and painted by Frank. I had the opportunity to see all his private erotic/porno stories on many occasions. Those stories are filled with the most highly eroticized Frazetta females known to exist. Sadly, these have never been published. This is certainly a sin against art history. However, a surprise on page 12 of this volume is a sensational illustration that was brand new to me. What a complete treat!
Buy the book! This one illustration justifies any cost. Now you have something to look forward to...a fresh Frazetta, never before seen. Extraordinary.

The book presents all the truly great Midwood paperback illustrations. Beautifully presented in this volume in their original sepia wash intent. Exceptional work. Many are based on photo reference, but the finished result is simply superb. Most of these original wash drawings are not known to exist. I sincerely hope the originals will be discovered some day. Frazetta was able to retain a small number and now these originals are highly prized by collectors. Also in this volume are the legendary romance stories done for the PERSONAL LOVE comic books. It is nice to see the side-by-side presentation of these stories: the colored comic on the right; the original linework in b/w on the left. All these original pages do exist so, hopefully, at some point in the future we will be able to see repros in full tonality shot from the actual original art pages. In the meantime this volume has the best presentation. I thank David Spurlock for adding these great stories. The stories drip with beauty and sensuality.  Again, this is Frazetta at his best.

I really cannot find any fault with this book. Like all Frazetta projects, this comes across as a great labor of love. Putting together a volume such as this is not easy. It takes time, care, and participation by people with art, copies, photos, and rare paperback books. I thank all the people who helped this book to be the classic it is sure to become. For me it already is the definitive work on the Frazetta female. It is a work that any fan of Frazetta will enjoy pulling off his shelf time and time again. It will not gather dust. A great, great project.


DocDave Winiewicz  September, 2016

PS: There are several editions of this book available from VANGUARD PRODUCTIONS. I would buy the deluxe edition. It has a sensational slipcase and a set of extra art pages. The price is very reasonable for a book of this quality.

14 comments:

  1. This type of endorsement has more sway than possibly any other. Thanks for the thoughtful review. It means even more coming from you.

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    1. Ok Pat, then you should also concede Doc Dave's expert opinion on how Frank worked. Doc is an eyewitness, Frazetta did indeed draw most of his works without reference or without direct reference, so you're wrong about that. I believe it was you who likened this to myth building and posted comments under an anonymous alias on this very site and on Facebook, continually trying to assert that Frazetta did not draw or paint from imagination. There have been many other top artist with lessor talents than Frank, John Buscema, Burn Hogarth, and many of these people learned and made careers out of drawing the figure and entire worlds in perspective without direct reference. How much more could a guy like Frank do this even better. Its great you've done some graphic design and assisted with the layout of these books, but to try to claim what Frank could or could not do creatively and how he worked, you might want to leave that up to someone who actually new him and saw him work in person, like Doc Dave.

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  2. Thanks, Patrick. You did a superb job on the design, typography, and all those little details that make the pages come alive. The book was a pleasure to peruse. I thank you again for your talented inputs.

    Dave

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  3. I am glad to see you posting again. I missed it.

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  4. Hi Dave, fantastic to read your posts, please continue. Just received my copy of "The Sensuous Frazetta" Deluxe and the choice of design on the slipcase is outstanding. The only disappointment is the lack of actual examples shot from the original art, we fans certainly desire an "Artist's Edition". I also have ALL the Vanguard Deluxe Editions - Harold Foster's being the highpoint. Thank you to Vanguard for putting out essential art volumes, still waiting on the NC Wyeth !!! Looking forward to the next Frazetta Classics volume.

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  5. From a publisher's perspective it is difficult getting access to original art. Most collectors do not want to share. Strange psychology at work there. Arnie Fenner told me countless stories about how difficult it was to get people to help with the Underwood Frazetta art books. So much is out there that has never been published.

    Dave

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  6. The deluxe edition is well worth the extra cost which is negligible for what is gained. The bonus folio part in the deluxe edition is a real treat. This time comprised of beautifully reproduced book covers, the ACTUAL covers- and that image of the cover of National Lampoon #41 on page 189 of the Ghoul Queen is a show stopper for me (it's also too bad a nice full page image of Rogue Roman wasn't in here, but that's not diminishing my praise for this collection). So many of the current reproductions are SO vibrant that the images would almost look better in grey tone, but these book covers' color are actually quite nice in comparison to those overused reproductions.
    I wonder if we're any closer to a collection of the original drawings being compiled for a future volume?

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  7. In 1982 I argued with Ellie about the importance of a comprehensive art book that would cover Frank's career in a linear fashion decade by decade. They had so much original art in their possession at that time, e.g. All the romance stories, famous funnies covers, doubleday drawings, watercolors, etc..etc..etc.. I got nowhere. Now all that art is scattered to the winds. I still have hopes. I have been hoping so long that it has become a permanent part of my nature.

    Time will tell.

    Dave

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  8. Thanks for reminding me of the gorgeous watercolors. Yes, a collection of those would be incredible too. I love the idea of a linear career collection too. To see the phases of his career laid out would be both instructional and beneficial to quashing all the inane rumors and allegations that seem to be made up these days from whole cloth. To also include comments from family, peers and friends, even if they contradict each other on occasion, would be an incredible, WORTHY effort.

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  9. It's a damn shame Dave (Ellie & 1982), I wish Frank had put his foot down, but easier said than done, I'm not the one who would have to deal with the repercussions. Hopefully, one day maybe, your wish of a comprehensive art book on Mr. Frazetta will come true and in the process become a boon to all his fans.

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  10. Replies
    1. Hey Dave, I wanted to wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving and on behalf of all Frazetta fans a thank you for all the time you have put into this blog out of your own personal time.
      Lots of gold nuggets unearthed here by you for us to take in.

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    2. Hello Dave,

      I am in the process of reading your blog now (just came to it today, would you believe, while researching online essays on Frazetta criticism). I am glad I found you! Excellent material here, especially his interviews. I had a question which you may be able to answer based upon conversations with Frank. Do you know why so many of his stunning women have a semi Oriental look? I know he created (to use that phrase) women of all races/ethnicities, but not all American born artists do or did in his time -- and he did a particularly good job creating Asianesque women (I am married to a lovely lady from Taiwan myself). Did he have any female Asian acquaintances or interests in Asia, of which you are aware? Just curious -- and I will keep reading here! I may well have more questions later, if you have the time! I am greatly interested in his work, to the point that I have read a lot about Frank himself; and I crave serious criticism of his artistry that delves into his thinking and intents as much as possible (rather than mere praise, deserving though he was for that). Thank you for offering stories of your experiences with him and his family!!!

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  11. Actually, the asian face is simply a look Frank liked. There are other features incorporated into that approach. It is Frank's unique blend.

    Thanks for the comments.

    DAVE

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