John Carter and Frank Frazetta and my puberty

With the big-budget Disney adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars books coming out next year, and it’s first trailer just hitting the Intarnets, I though it was time to repurpose this blog I wrote on the death of Frank Frazetta, just over a year ago.

Dejah Thoris

Lynn Collins from Wolverine plays Dejah Thoris

After all it was Frazetta’s artwork for the Science Fiction Book Club edition of the first three books in the series that prompted me to order the omnibus book. And as I describe after the break, it was that art that shaped my interests to this day.

Seeing some of Frank Frazetta’s artwork when I was a young lad triggered life-long interests in me. One example would be the painting used for the cover of the Science Fiction Book Club re-issue of “Thuvia Maid of Mars.” Aside from the obviously gorgeous chick in the space bikini, I can trace my love of swords, particularly curved blades, to this painting.

For years — until the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings movies came out — this was always the way I pictured the encounter between the witch king of Angmar and Eowyn.

And at the risk of TMI, I discovered the particular beauty of the well-curved posterior from this painting, “Moon Maiden.”

His art got me into my first high fantasy book, and launched a lifetime of reading books and watching movies about Middle Earth, about Thomas Covenant, about the Deryni — of playing D&D and making swords out of long dowels and coffee can lids and bunches of us Fryeburg nerds beating the crap out of each other with them.

It was only after seeing the 2003 documentary “Frazetta: Painting with Fire” that I realized what an amazing person he was outside of his art. I recommend it completely to anyone who wants to see a great tale of an incredibly gifted man, his storybook love of his wife and his incredible struggle with a disease that nearly ruined him as an artist.

Mr. Frazetta, you are sorely missed.

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