Although the main part of his comics output was limited to the 1940s and 1950s, Frank Frazetta's dynamic and realistic style was of influence for several new generations of comics artists. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Frazzetta (he later dropped one of the z's) made his earliest comics during his childhood, which he sold to his friends. Nicknamed "Fritz", he took courses in drawing from the artist Michael Falanga at the Brooklyn Academy of Fine Arts from the age of 8.
He began his career when he was sixteen years old, assisting science-fiction artist John Giunta at Bernard Bailey's studio. His first work was 'Man in Black', which appeared in 1944 in the Tally Ho comic book. He then worked at Fiction House for a brief period, where he cleaned the work of artists like Graham Ingels, Bob Lubbers and George Evans.
Shortly afterwards, he became an apprentice at Standard, where he drew the 'Li'l Abner' parody 'Louie Lazybones' and worked on a large number of funny animal stories for comic books like Barnyard, Coo Coo, Happy and Supermouse until 1950. His work was noted by Walt Disney, who invited him to come to work for him in California. Frazetta declined however, since he was still too young.
In 1946, he also joined Prize Publications, where he did his first solo work in Treasure Comics. Frazetta's workload increased in the period 1948-51. He did western stories for D.S. Publishing, and contributed to the A-1 line at Magazine Enterprises. He drew the series 'White Indian' in Durango Kid, and made 'The Shining Knight' for Adventure Comics and Ghost Rider, while also contributing to other adventure titles like Manhunt and Blackhawk.
In 1951, Magazine Enterprises gave him the opportunity to create his own comic. This resulted in the jungle comic 'Thun'da, King of the Congo', which appeared in the comic book of the same name, starting in 1952. He was however succeeded from the second issue by artist Bob Powell, but Frazetta's 'Thun'da' work is still considered his best work by many critics. When he left M.E., Frazetta ghosted on Dan Barry's 'Flash Gordon' newspaper strip, and he worked for companies like Toby Press, Prize Publications and EC.
He drew 'Tomahawk' at DC, and created the car racing newspaper strip 'Johnny Comet' (later renamed to 'Ace McCoy') for the McNaught Syndicate (1952-53). He created the classic EC story 'Squeeze Play', which appeared in Shock SuspenStories issue 13. In 1953 and 1954, he provided many comics to Personnal Love, and worked as a productive cover artist for Buck Rogers.
In 1954, he went to work in Al Capp's atelier, whom he assisted on 'Li'l Abner' until 1961. Afterwards, he contributed to the Warren horror magazines Eerie and Creepy ('Werewolf' and covers) and he cooperated on Kurtzman and Elder's 'Little Annie Fanny' strip in Playboy Magazine. Since the early 1960s, Frazetta devoted most of his attention to illustration work. He became a paperback cover illustrator, and painted covers for 'Conan the Barbarian' books, and for novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs. As an illustrator, Frazetta proved himself one of the main representatives of the heroic-fantasy genre. After leaving his legacy with an incredible oeuvre, Frazetta passed away at his home in Ft. Myers, Florida on 10 May 2010.