It’s difficult to think about the primary Warren Publishing books (Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella) without Frank Frazetta’s artwork flashing through your mind. His painted covers are mesmerizing with imaginative monsters, desperate situations, mood-setting hues and gorgeous anatomy. But those Warren books are more than one person, even if it’s an astounding artist like Frazetta. Here is a short list of some of the other comic book greats who worked in those books, Jim Starlin, Neal Adams, Carmine Infantino, Jim Steranko, Dick Giordano, Larry Hama, Walt Simonson, and Alex Toth. There were a variety of cover artists as well including Jeff Jones, Ken Kelly, Boris Vallejo, Gray Morrow, Manuel Sanjulian. In an effort to showcase various artist’s work I’d like to write a series of articles starting with Frazetta. J. David Spurlock, JDS, graciously agreed to give his expert insights into some of these works by Frazetta.
Top 10 Warren Publishing Covers by Frank Frazetta
10. Creepy #16 (August 1967) – Cat Girl. This isn’t as dramatic as a giant naked woman on the Empire State Building but it is powerful. A striking young woman standing with her hip popped out to the side staring at you with white eyes draws you into this cover. Then you notice that she is surrounded by leopards who have you fixed in their same white eyed gaze. In the foreground, the jungle floor is speckled with light and shade, nondescript and undefined. While the tree that she is near is clearly in focus. The out of focus foreground and background force your eyes to the middle where the beauty lives.
JDS: This is the original rendition of Frazetta’s famous painting, “Cat Girl.” He later updated the painting to make the subject a brunette and it became a trademark piece for the Frazetta Museum in East Stroudsburg PA.
9. Vampirella #31 (March 1974) – Luana, the beast girl, is charging over a hill toward the fray. She isn’t a model who is too thin with the straight lines of a boy. Luana is endowed with curves and strength and several ferocious animal friends. The sky behind her is a pale yellow void framing her face and hair. There is amazing life and power in this image.
8. Creepy #89 (June 1977) – Combat. CGC cases don’t credit this cover with Frazetta but his name is clearly on the cover. This painting was originally used for Blazing Combat #1. The grey smoke-filled background, the shells flying, the motion of the men’s legs in the water and the gun firing all speak to the savageness of war. There is an awkwardness to the injured man’s form and a desperation in the man trying to save him. This is a powerful albeit horrible painted cover.
7. Eerie #3 (May 1966)- Sea Monster. A scuba diver has found a buried treasure but he’s also been noticed by an underwater creature who towers above him. The stack of skulls near the base of the chest should have alerted him to danger. The massive creature displays human and fish-like qualities allowing him to be expressive in his threat. Hidden in this perilous scene are beautiful striped fish and lush seaweed of varying colors which frame the scene. This image was also used for Creepy #97 (May 1978).
JDS: Frazetta’s original painting, “Sea Monster” is still in the collection of the Frazetta family. The piece was also featured, with slight alterations, in the famous 1979 Steve Martin comedy film The Jerk.
6. Eerie #8 (March 1967)- The Brain. The scene Frazetta captured is dramatic with a demon about to deliver an epic blow to a foe who is down but defending himself. But there is more to this cover with a multi-color brain glowing behind the two fighters who are all in muted colors. The brain is reflecting off a glassy surface to complete this utterly bizarre and wonderful cover. Warren used Frazetta’s art again with Eerie #84 in June 1977. This art was used a third time by the band Nazareth in their November 1977 release entitled “expect no mercy”.
On to the top 5 – Top 10 Frank Frazetta Covers Part 2
by Captain Ron with J. David Spurlock insights