Fantasy Art Has Arrived: Frazetta Conan Cover Sells for a Million Dollars

Geek Culture

Image by Frank FrazettaImage by Frank Frazetta

Image by Frank Frazetta

You know that unicorn & dragon original you picked up at the fantasy convention? Don’t throw it away, it might be worth a million bucks some day.

Grand Master Frank Frazetta’s cover painting for the Lancer paperback, Conan the Conqueror by Robert E. Howard, sold this week to a private collector for a reported $1,000,000. The previous record price for a Frazetta painting was the $251,000 All Star Auctions fetched for the cover to Escape on Venus by Edgar Rice Burroughs in 2008.

There has always been something of a mystique surrounding Frazetta’s Conan covers; partly because they were the “first” successful Conan paperbacks and the first exposure to the character for the Baby Boomer generation of readers; partly because Frank got the assignment at the time when his painting skills had improved significantly and he felt he had something to prove; partly because the Frazettas had kept all of the Conan covers for the last 40-odd years (except for Conan of Aquilonia, which was stolen from Lancer’s office when the publisher went bankrupt).

The covers only rarely followed Howard’s descriptions or story situations and when asked if he had ever read the books Frank recently replied, “I didn’t read any of it. It was too opposite of what I do. I told them that. So, I drew him my way. It was really rugged. And it caught on. I didn’t care about what people thought. People who bought the books never complained about it. They probably didn’t read them.”

I beg to differ, Grandmaster Frank — we most certainly did read them, and we loved the covers too!


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