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Press Release - August 28, 2002

Heritage to Auction Famous Frazetta Paperback Cover

Dallas, TX - Heritage Comics Auctions will offer as part of its October 11-13 auction at the Dallas Comicon, the original watercolor art for the cover of "The Secret People", an exquisite Frank Frazetta painting that has been described as "the best science fiction paperback cover ever." According to Frazetta’s authorized biographer Dr. Dave Winiewicz, widely considered the world’s top expert on Frazetta art, “Frank Frazetta began his career with ACE paperbacks in the early 1960's where he painted a series of covers based on the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Throughout these early years Frazetta was unappreciated by management, dismally underpaid, and, the ultimate indignity, not allowed to keep his original art. A call from the art director at Lancer Publications in 1964 changed all that. After being offered more money, a menu of widely diverse subject-matters, and the opportunity to retain his original art, Frazetta infused in these newer works an extra energy, power and personal enthusiasm that was immediately apparent.”

Winiewicz continues: “The watercolor was executed for John Beynon Harris's novel of the same name during this inspired period. John Beynon Harris was a pseudonym for John Wyndham, a well-known science fiction writer best known for The Day of the Triffids. In the image presented here, Frazetta demonstrates his consummate mastery of watercolor, believed by many Frazetta experts, including me, to be his very best medium. The scene of fantastic mushrooms and exotic peoples called for a delicate approach that only watercolor could provide. One immediately notes the subtle blending of delicate tints that are found throughout the composition: the fleshy mushrooms, the cavern walls, the reflections in the water, the deliciously clinging dress of the girl, and the mossy ground. The eye revels in all the tiny details and subtleties that Frazetta has presented the viewer. Consider the modeling of the hero's face and the strength it contains, his beautifully drawn jacket with intricate folds and convolutions, his gesturing/striding into this fantastic land of strange peoples. Consider also his female partner with her soft face. Delicate rendering lines add sensuality to her glance; her open lips, wild hair, and shining dress reinforce her erotic power and add considerably to the visual interest. Of course, the swirl of bats energizes the moment and charges the tableau with resonances of old mysteries and tales. Frazetta masterfully weaves all these elements into a design that is flawless and perfectly balanced. This painting is a wonderland of color and drama. It also establishes visual themes that Frazetta would employ throughout his career. For example, the placement of mushrooms to give a fantastic ‘touch’ to the scene is seen many times in Frazetta's works. As is typical in great works from great masters, the viewer can literally spend hours unlocking all the secrets in this composition.”

The painting is conservatively estimated to sell for over $70,000.

Heritage is the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer. Further information and photography is available from Heritage by emailing or phoning Cathy Hadd 1-214-252-4216 or by visiting

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