The Softer Side of Frank Frazetta

Sometimes while reading these Golden Age comics, I stumble across a wholly unexpected gem. I downloaded what I thought was going to be a 1940s-era "Reg'lar Fellahs Heroic Comics" issue, only to find that in fact it was a 1954 "True Life Heroism" book. Although disappointed not to have the latest adventures of Hyrdoman, I decided to give it a read anyway, and boy am I glad I did, because the very first two-page story was illustrated by none other than legendary fantasy artist Frank Frazetta!

We're used to seeing Frazetta's work featuring leering monsters surging out of the murk and Rubenesque princesses being rescued by mighty-thewed barbarians on the covers of our favorite fantasy series. But take a look at the softer side of Frank in this charming tale of a horse rescue. And still, every panel and every pose is fairly bursting with dynamism.

I'm so excited to have found this gem and to be able to share it with you all. Enjoy!

11 Responses to The Softer Side of Frank Frazetta

  1. Jester says:

    What 15 year old uses the word predicament? Also… is it just me, or is that chain PIERCING the horse’s lower jaw? I don’t see any harness or strap for it to be attached to; it looks like it’s hooked to a ring that’s pierced into her mouth.

    That aside, I agree with what you say about the dynamic. I particularly like the depictions of the boys running – they’re comical but not awkward or unbelievable.

  2. Reader Kate says:

    I think it’s beautiful. Something about it reminds me of Maxfield Parrish.

  3. punkjay says:

    I like this. The only thing i see wrong with it is the water looks kinda like tar.

  4. punkjay says:

    It’s cool it’s a true story too.

  5. SeanDavidRoss says:

    This post led me down an internet rabbit-hole of nostalgia. As a teenager, I read and loved the Lancer/Ace Series of Conan novels by Robert E. Howard. Most of the best cover illustrations for that series were by Frank Frazetta, especially the image for Conan the Warrior. Brilliant and horrible. It was good to see them again. Thanks.

  6. The Imp says:

    The perspective he used in setting up the panels is just fantastic; it’s like looking at movie storyboards.

  7. Kytana says:

    On the last picture it looks like he stem about the horse tail and not the body. It looks a little bit strange.

  8. Jeff Hebert says:

    I have to admit that last panel puzzles me a bit too. I can’t tell if the boy’s back is resting on the horse’s tail like he’s pushing it (which wouldn’t be possible), or what.

  9. X-stacy says:

    Maybe he’s holding on to the horse’s tail (both arms wrapped around it, holding it to his body, facing the body of the horse) and letting the horse pull him out of the water. Or maybe Frazetta was only familiar with horse anatomy from pictures.

  10. Jester says:

    I think X-stacy’s right – it looks like the boy’s holding onto the tail like a rope and letting the horse pull. Which is selfish.

  11. John says:

    Dude, that’s an awesome find. Way, way cool!