I never had many friends as a child. I gravitated toward comics and cartoons instead of kids. I understood comic books. Superheroes were obviously fake, they usually won in the end and I liked that, it was simple fantasy, it was contained.
Then I saw the work of Frank Frazetta, and my mental model shifted.
What he illustrated looked like it was drawn from reality, from experience!
The barbarians and maidens looked like he had just met them in a jungle a moments before. His technique was sketchy and slightly imperfect, but realistic all the same; almost as if he had to draw them quickly before they charged off to another adventure.
It was fantasy illustration on a daring, sexy, and artful level.
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