Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Frank Frazetta, IWA East Coast, and more!

The PopCulteer
May 14, 2010

The Loss Of A Legend

Aside from the legendary Lena Horne, we lost another giant talent last week. Frank Frazetta, the world’s most renown fantasy artist, passed away Monday after a stroke.

The Frazetta family had recntly been involved in a messy dispute over the physical possession of his art, but thankfully that was all resolved a couple of months ago.

Frazetta was primarily known for his heroic figures, muscular men and well-endowed women, who inhabit worlds filled with exotic ruins and wild beasts.  The Southern Rock group Molly Hatchet used his paintings for their album covers. Frazetta also painted several movie posters, such as “The Fearless Vampire Killers,” and the Clint Eastwood flick, “The Gauntlet.”

Frazetta started out in comics, later spending time as an assistant to Al Capp. He was hired mainly to draw sexy women in “Lil’ Abner,” but at times drew the entire strip, far outclassing his employer.

He really became a superstar in the 1960s when his painted covers graced many paperback covers, most notably on books featuring Robert E. Howard’s Conan and Edgar Rice Burrough’s Tarzan and Pellucidar.

Frazetta also contribued cover paintings to the Warren line of black-and-white comic magazines like Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella, and even showed up in The National Lampoon on occasion. His fantasy art posters were the first pieces of art that many people, who eventually became fine art collectors, purchased.

Frazetta was a huge influence on more than one generation of artists, and his dedication to his craft, learning to paint left-handed after a stroke affected his right hand in 1995, is an example of how driven an artist he was.

You can read more detailed obituaries here and here. Below you can see the trailer for the documentary “Frazetta: Painting With Fire.”

Our Cool Comics this week are two collections of Frazetta’s work.

“Telling Stories: The Classic Comic Art Of Frank Frazetta” is a cool hardcover collection of Frazetta’s very early comic book work. From the publisher’s blurb, “Fantasy art’s most popular painter was also one of the most popular comic book illustrators during the industry’s golden age. Telling Stories: The Classic Comic Art of Frank Frazetta celebrates the rare and largely forgotten stories created five decades ago by this iconic artist. These jungle adventures, true-life tales of heroism, and dreamy love stories not only exhibit the skill of a master craftsman but also provide tantalizing glimpses of where the young artist’s career would ultimately take him.”

“Al Capps Lil’ Abner: The Frazetta Years” collects Frazetta’s work as Al Capp’s ghost-artist in four hardcover volumes. You can spot Frazetta’s work a mile away. From the Dark Horse publisher’s blurb, “Before legendary artist Frank Frazetta became an American institution for his lush paintings, he was drawing muscular hillbillies and scantily clad women for an earlier American institution: the comic strip Li’l Abner, which boasted 60 million readers daily. From 1954 till 1961 Frazetta toiled as a ghost for Al Capp, the most famous and successful cartoonist of his era.

Except for a brief 1954 dailies sequence (when Frazetta drew himself as “Frankie the Biker” in a send-up of Marlon Brando’s contemporary motorcycle film The Wild Ones) Frazetta’s energy was focused on the Li’l Abner Sunday strips. For the first time ever these gorgeous full-color Sundays are being collected! Dark Horse is publishing four comprehensive 9″ x 12″ volumes. Each quarterly volume will contain an introduction and extensive annotations by Li’l Abner expert Denis Kitchen.”

You can find these books at Amazon, or you might be able to order them locally at Taylor Books.

IWA East Coast in Nitro

IWA East Coast returned to Nitro Wednesday night, and there was amazing action all night. Presented with minimal commentary is our photo essay of the night.

The night opened with a mini-tournament to decide who would be the first ever IWA EC tag team champions. In the first match, Irish Airborne took on Shima Xion and The Aresol Assassin.  Irish Airborne prevailed and moved on.

In the next match for the tag belts, the team of Trik Nasty and TJ Philips took on The Murder Junkies, Sam Hane and The Juggulator. Trik and TJ moved on, with some help from Woody Numbers and Omega Aaron Draven.

After interfering in the tag match, Draven saw some high-flying singles action.

Viper entered the ring to take on ECW legend, Balls Mahoney. Balls then turned it into a “Falls Count Anywhere” match, so the action spilled out of the ring and went all over the arena.

In the next match, famed super sexy ladies man, Rhett Titus took on….

…the Queen of Daytime Television, Super Oprah.

Titus reacted poorly when Super Oprah flashed her panties at him, but he eventually reared up and pulled out a win.

The IWA East Coast Tag Team Belts were up for grabs next. After a number of run-ins, Trik Nasty and TJ Philips won the titles over Irish Airborne, with a little help from some brass knuckles.

This would be the instant before a very big head-butt.

Next up, Chris Hero wrested the IWA EC Heavyweight belt from Roderick Strong, to become the first two-time IWA East Coast champion!

In the finale, Mad Man Pondo faced DJ Hyde in a barbwire board match. Pondo after a hard-fought match, Pondo vanquished his foe.

Weekend Events

Friday night, The Red Salt Band and Spurgie Hankins Band will be at LiveMix Studio, starting around 8:30 PM, with a five-dollar cover.  The Redding Brothers, Bug, Fletcher’s Grove and three other acts will be at The Capitol Center Theater at 7 PM with a ten-dollar admission.  Ron Sowell’s Unity Open Mic will happen at Unity’s new location in South Hills, starting at 7:30 PM.  Universes and Alex Kessler will be at Taylor Books, cover-free, starting at 7:30 PM. Buckstone starts at 9 PM at Bruno’s.  And “Gypsy” enters its second weekend at The Civic Center Little Theater.

Saturday, the Rock Camp For Girls benefit starts at UUC at 6 PM. Read more about it here. InFormation and Cross Roads will be at The Empty Glass (with RFC cameras on hand) at 10 PM, and the big deal of the night is The No Pants Players at The La Belle Theater in South Charleston, starting at 8 PM.

Preview Images For RFC 100

As promised, we leave you with four more preview images from the big 100th episode of Radio Free Charleston, coming the week of May 24.  Keep reading PopCult for more details!


  1. Steve Beckner

    Frazetta was awesome. I absolutely love his paintings. Some of his book cover paintings were better than the books themselves!

  2. Mark Beckner

    I agree. Frazetta was amazing, he will be missed.

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