The Fantastic An of Frank Frazetta, Book Two, edited by Betty Ballentine (Pan Books £2.95.) it is not often that a book illustrator achieves a reputation on an international scale as an artist merely on the strength of the popularity of his illustrations.
But to call Frazetta just a hook illustrator does him an injustice. His work has placed him among such greats as Arthur Rackham, Dali, Detmold and others who have been exponents of fantasy.
The publication American Artist commented recently that "It is rare that an artist creates a work and a publisher seeks a text to fit it ... Frank Frazetta has reached this point."
Book One of Frazetta's art, published last year, contained 42 plates, mostly in full colour. Book .Two contains 12 black and white illustrations and 32 colour plates. While Rook One was powerful enough in its presentation of Frazetta s dramatic and breathtaking work, mostly his illustrations were for the works of fantasy writers such as Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E.Howdrd.
Book Two is stupendous. It deals mainly with his illustrations for Burrough' fantasy works.
Frzetta was born in Brooklyn of !Wien origin, and studied in the Brooklyn Academy of Fine Arts. He began his career in the tough
school of comic hook artistry and won a reputation as a strip car
He won his artistic reputation for his illustrations for Burroughs' works, powerful pictures of wild, tempestuous landscapes, hideous moesters and fierce sinewy warriors. His paintings vibrate with power.
Betty Ballantine sums up her in lroduetion to this superb visual exploration of the realms of fantasy by saying: "Trying to analyse Enieetta, supposing one could. would take many more pages than are available here. Better by far to sit back, marvel and enjoy the product of his talent ..." I agree. It s worth-while experience.