I had an illustration professor who said book publishers back in the day believed they could publish a blank book with a Frazetta cover and it would be a best seller. It's hyperbolic but I believe it. I don't have to convince you why you might believe it too. You've probably seen Frazetta's work many times. He's impossible to not see if you pay any attention to popular culture. I saw some Frazetta paintings in person at an auction house in New York City several years ago; many from the Death Dealer series (I never made it to his museum in the Poconos). One thing that struck me was the paintings were a lot tighter than I expected. I always thought, judging from the printed artwork, they would be looser in the loose areas. Those psychedelic skies of imaginary realms or murky swamp waters comprised of pigment and medium washes and broad strokes. Somehow they didn't read that way in person. Frazetta's marks looked calculated and decisive, but never cold or unsure. His paintings all look effortless. He shares—or may be learned from—Rembrandt's ability to bend or pull the viewer's focus to a narrow collection of contrasting values, the main subject of the image. The main thing that always strikes me when I look at any Frazetta painting is his depiction of gravity. I think it's the primary subject of his entire body of work. Gravity's force on figures, animals, robots, monsters, fantastical creatures appears in every single one of his pieces. It's Frazetta's attention to figures in gravity that make us believe in the validity of the worlds he's depicting. Something that always annoys me is when I read someone writing about how Frazetta's work should be in museums like the Met. To make that point is to automatically assign a hierarchy of art and classify Frazetta's work as "lower" than the art in those museums. It's only true if the authority is given to those institutions. Don't get me wrong. I love the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art more than anything. But they're not going to dictate whether or not Frazetta is a master to me or not. Frazetta doesn't need to be legitimized by that sphere of art for his work to matter or for him to remain immortal.

Benjamin Marra is the creator, writer, and artist of the comics NIGHT BUSINESS, AMERICAN BLOOD, and TERROR ASSAULTER: O.M.W.O.T. (One Man War On Terror), all published by Fantagraphics. Acclaimed writer Grant Morrison chose Marra as a collaborator on the first issue of the relaunched HEAVY METAL Magazine. Marra had two serialized webcomic series appear on adultswim.com. His most recent book is JESUSFREAK, written by Joe Casey and published by Image Comics. In 2016, he was named one of the Art Directors Club's Young Guns. He illustrated the cover of American Illustration 35. In 2017, he was nominated for a Grammy Award for his album art of Wayfaring Strangers: Acid Nightmare, a collection of obscure 1970s post-Age-of-Aquarius Heavy Metal.