I have been on vacation for the past 3 weeks celebrating my 60th birthday and our 24th wedding anniversary. I returned and learned the news of Frank's final stroke. I was devastated. I began to cry. I got up and started to walk. Frank had died on my 60th birthday. Losing a dear friend is a profound wound to the soul. It requires time and thought for the healing process to prevail or have any impact at all. It will take me a long time to deal with this void in my life. Thousands of memories wash over me. What a complete honor to have known Frank and to have spent so much time with him. Everyone knows about his art achievements over the years. What is even more important is that he was a good man. He was the best father I have ever known. His loyalty defined him. He was a man of deep virtues and strong character. I used the quote from the great Russian writer, Aleksander Solzhenitsyn in my previous post: "When a man dies, a world dies." This is so appropriate for a man like Frank who had vast interests and deeper desires than most men.
I wanted to share some of my personal memories here. I am adding an assortment of photos from a friendship book I put together back in 2003 just before moving out west. Frank was extremely unhappy that I was moving away, but I just couldn't deal with the brutal, body-numbing and soul-destroying winters of Buffalo New York anymore. He understood. I gave him a book that highlighted some of the moments in our friendship.
Here are some other recollections:
My first exposure to Frank was in 1955 while looking at my uncle's comic books. There was an issue of WHITE INDIAN and a FAMOUS FUNNIES cover issue. I never forgot that signature with the distinctive flourishes.
I met Frank at a NY con in 1967 and bought a $25 JOHNNY COMET. I still have it.
Every penny I ever made went to buying art from Russ Cochran or Tony Dispoto. Eventually, I only bought Frazetta. It was a sheer delight going to the big NY cons and hear Russ talk about his trips to see Frank and pick up originals.
I attended the 1977 Frazetta Show. I walked through the door and stopped dead. Seeing all those originals overwhelmed me. It brought a tear to my eye...literally. I knew I was in the presence of something very great. I was perplexed by the power and bewitching strength of this art. I decided then and there that I had to make a conscious effort to really understand this art. I started to think deeply and kept thinking.
I wrote an essay on Frank's art in the late 1970's and sent it to him. He called me back and said that was the best thing he's ever read about his art. He invited me to come down. I did....and the rest is history.
I am making a serious effort to banish the sadness and just celebrate the man's life.