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Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Friday, May 14, 2010

ALAN FRISWELL: FAREWELL FRANK, AND THANKS

by Jon Downes















It is with great sadness that I report the passing of legendary fantasy artist Frank Frazetta, who died in Florida on Monday from a stroke. He was 82.





Surely no one remotely interested in fantasy, either in comics or any other creative media can fail to have heard of him. In the 1960s he redefined the field of heroic fantasy illustration with the superb covers for the paperback editions of Conan the Barbarian, his magnificent paintings providing the perfect compliment to Robert E. Howard’s epic tales of swords and sorcery.


Frazetta went on to create fantastic covers for the horror comic magazines Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella, and many beautiful comic strips. He was a great inspiration to me as a child; his creatures always reminded me of Ray Harryhausen’s creations, and his anatomical drawings were more like sculptures. I could waffle on endlessly, praising Frazetta’s work, but these images will do the job far better than I ever could.

Now, I’m not the most politically correct person in the world, believe me, but I would certainly hesitate before posting images of naked women on this site. But on this occasion, I’m sure that I can be forgiven.

Why?

Well, simply because Frazetta’s women are no more sex objects than his barbarians are bodybuilders. Frazetta’s people are beings in a primeval world, where both sex and death are part of the battle for survival. Frazetta’s men are prehistoric warriors, bound with sinews developed not in a gymnasium, but on the blood-spattered decks of pirate ships, corpse-strewn battlefields, and in deadly confrontations with both flesh-and-blood and supernatural monsters.

Frazetta’s women have a purity to their sexuality. Their frequent nakedness portrays them as beautiful animals, full of primal energy and fire. Yes, they’re sexy but in the context of Frazetta’s interpretation of primitive life force, as seen through the human figure, even the most provocative of Frazetta’s women appear as almost innocent. Well, almost….

So thank you, Frank, for helping my childhood to be full of magic and monsters, wonder and weirdness. You’ll be sadly missed.

1 comment:

Richard Freeman said...

An amazingly talented man whos imags will allways be part of my childhood. Along with Chris Achillios, Boris Vallaigo, Rowena Morrill, and Zadenek Burian Frank had a huge effect on my imagination.