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Press Release - November 4, 2020

Frank Frazetta’s Iconic 1965 Creepy Magazine Cover, ‘Wolfman,’ Roars to Heritage Auctions in November

The original painting, from rocker Glenn Danzig's personal collection, is a million-dollar centerpiece of the Nov. 19-22 Comics & Comic Art event

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Frank Frazetta Creepy #4 Cover Painting Original Art Cover Heritage Auctions
DALLAS, Texas (Nov. 4, 2020) — Of the myriad pieces painted by Frank Frazetta during his storied career as creator of fearsome and fantastic imagery, it's quite possible none is more famed than a cover he painted for a 1965 issue of Warren Publications' magazine Creepy.

Frazetta titled the piece 'Wolfman," and over the years it became as ubiquitous as it is iconic, this orange-moon-glow drenched painting of the furry beast poised to pounce on his prey (who resembles, more than a bit, a certain count with his own penchant for blood). Frazetta, who so adored classic horror films that he often revisited and interpreted them without sacrificing their scares, larded his painting with tropes made fresh and frightening -- the mountaintop castle, bats silhouetted against the auburn moon, a skull and spine emerging from the muck.

Poster-sized reproductions of the Creepy No. 4 cover, licensed by Frazetta himself, have been abundant for decades. For the first time, the real thing comes to market: The original art for Creepy No. 4's cover is a centerpiece of Heritage Auctions' Nov. 19-22 Comics & Comic Art event. Estimated at $1 million, the painting comes from the collection of punk and metal pioneer-turned-comics publisher Glenn Danzig.

"When I was a little kid and completely into monster movies, I would buy every Warren magazine and ever poster from the back of the magazines," says Ed Jaster, Heritage Auctions' Senior Vice President. "From a 6-year-old's point of view, this painting is everything you could want, and it's no different now from a 60-year-old's point of view. Frazetta put so much work into it. There's so much detail — the fine brush work, the composition. I love everything about it."

When Frazetta died in 2010 at the age of 82, renowned comic-book historian Tom Spurgeon wrote that "Frazetta was one of a handful of precocious teen artists that found work in the first decade of mass comic book consumption before and then directly after World War II." Indeed, between 1944 (when he was just 16!) and '64, Frazetta worked for several comics publishers — including Eastern, EC and DC's predecessor National — and on such comic strips as Li'l Abner and Flash Gordon before forging his own path.

In 1964, Frazetta was introduced to Jim Warren, the showman of publishing who had been filling newsstands with such titles Famous Monsters of Filmland, Monster World, Spacemen and even the satire title Help! (with Mad's Harvey Kurtzman and a staff that included Monty Python's Terry Gilliam and Gloria Steinem). By '64, Warren was looking to expand his roster of monster comics and launched Creepy and Eerie.

"Frazetta's art on the Warren magazines Creepy, Eerie and eventually Vampirella combined some of the pulp tendencies for which he was soon to become very well known with a sense of classic horror," Spurgeon wrote for The Comics Reporter in May 2010. "They remain some of the company's most iconic pieces of art, and many were re-used in the 1970s as the companies did more in the way of special issues and compilations ...

"Although much fewer in number than their reputation might have you believe, Frazetta's Warren covers provided that company with a visual standard that provided a boost to its general newsstand presence, and took Frazetta's name and visual impact to mom and pop store magazine racks coast to coast."

Working for Jim Warren was "the turning point" in his career, Frazetta once told The Comics Journal publisher and editor Gary Groth.

"That was my happiest time," Frazetta told Groth. "He didn't pay much, but I could do anything my heart desired, and of course I kept the art.

Among the pieces Frazetta completed while at Warren: Sea Witch, which appeared on the cover of Eerie No. 7 in 1966 (and a Wolfmother album cover decades later) and, most famously, Egyptian Queen, which graced the cover of Eerie No. 23 in 1969. The latter sold last year for a world-record $5.4 million during a Heritage Auctions Comics & Comic Art event.

This Creepy cover would in time find its way to the collection of Glenn Danzig, frontman for the Misfits, Samhain and Danzig – some of the hardest, fastest, loudest and angriest bands rock and roll has ever heard. Danzig, who in the 1990s began publishing his own line of comics, was both a friend of and collaborator with Frazetta. It's little surprise that Danzig, too, would become a collector of the artist's work.

And now, for the first time, this Creepy cover is being offered to the public.

"If I could have a Frazetta cover, and I could never resell it," Jaster says, "this is the one I'd want."

Heritage Auctions is the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and the world's largest collectibles auctioneer. Heritage maintains offices in New York, Dallas, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Chicago, Palm Beach, London, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.

Heritage also enjoys the highest Online traffic and dollar volume of any auction house on earth (source: SimilarWeb and Hiscox Report). The Internet's most popular auction-house website, HA.com, has more than 1,250,000 registered bidder-members and searchable free archives of five million past auction records with prices realized, descriptions and enlargeable photos. Reproduction rights routinely granted to media for photo credit.

Robert Wilonsky, Director, Corporate Communications
214-409-1887; RobertW@HA.com

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