Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Frank Frazetta - 1928 - 2010…

The Godfather of Fantasy Art…

Hi Guys,

It is with great regret this morning that I publish this particular Blog. I was going to write something last evening, but decided to think a little longer about what I wanted to say here today.

Rather than a sad eulogy I have opted to celebrate the fantastic artwork that has influenced generations of artists following him.

One only has to see the work of American Painter/Illustrator NC Wyeth and the Brandywine School of Art to notice their respective influences, especially those wonderful pieces of work by the aforementioned Mr. Wyeth.

Having been lucky enough to check out the Brandywine Museum during my time working in America I was able to see immediately such influences in the paintings on display in its galleries. As I have mentioned here on this Blog previously I was, in actual fact, supposed to visit the Frank Frazetta Museum, but at the planned time of the visit discovered the museum was in a transition stage between moves, so sadly I have not managed to visit it, up to press, although it is on my list of places to visit at some time in the future, if the opportunity arises.

I first discover Frank’s fantastic art on the cover of the UK publisher, Sphere Books’ edition of the Conan the Adventurer novel, the first of the reprints of the US publisher, Lancer Book’s novels back in the early seventies, where as a young schoolboy I was seeking to soak up all I could to do with my interest, comic and fantasy art. This image of the surly battle-scarred Conan (please see the above painting) instantly became how I saw Conan, which was most unlike the wonderful renditions currently in the Marvel Comics version drawn by the amazing Barry Smith, depicting Conan as a lean youthful barbarian.

Other books followed Adventurer in the series and then I discovered his comic book work in a card-cover UK edition of Eerie magazine, which I was to discover in later life was in fact a reprint facsimile, in the main, of Creepy comics. Both of the original comic titles were published by Warren Magazines in the USA. The best story contained in between its covers was a story drawn by Frank Frazetta entitled “Werewolf!”

So powerful is his work that early on, when I first discovered his work in my teens, I have on occasion bought a book just because his artwork adorned the cover, without even checking what the story was about, such as “The Book of Paradox”, by Louise Cooper and what covers they were, as you can see below.

The next Frazetta event for me was when Ballantine Books published the first edition of “The fantastic Art of Frank Frazetta.”

Further books of his wonderful work followed in both soft and hard cover editions all showcasing his wonderfully emotive paintings.

If one needs to seek out power, movement and life in a painting today, one need only look at any work by Frank Frazetta – even the Barbarian painting on the aforementioned, Conan the Adventurer cover, with it’s depiction of Conan stood resting on his sword, looks like a brief moment between violent outbursts, as Conan waits sullen eyed and ready to pounce like a raging panther, just as Robert E. Howard, his creator wrote in his stories.

For me the uniqueness of Frank’s work is his ability to see that if a sword, or axe is engaged in battle and moving through the air at the enemy, why show the hands, or indeed the feet of the weapons owner in great detail, as in real life, just like in his paintings one would only see a blur, at best before seeing the inevitable.

Many people have said his work is violent, showing lots of blood letting and characters covered in blood, but they are wrong, so powerful and evocative is the work, as Frank shows only the vaguest hint of blood, perhaps on the edge of a weapon, or a drop, or two in the snow, or on a shield, or red reflected on metal, with no visible source, to merely hint at and evoke emotional responses with.

I would like instead to celebrate his wonderful artwork with you today by directing you to my Hall of Fame on my website and my page dedicated to Frank Frazetta, as an important influence on my work, which I was given permission to create by the man himself. Here you see a mere glimpse of his terrific artwork, but hopefully it will inspire you to check out his website, which is down at the moment of this writing and was down when I first discovered the sad news late yesterday afternoon, but I expect to be back up very soon, and his books and hopefully, like me, a planned visit to his museum.

I would loved to have met the man himself, but consider myself lucky to have had the chance from my schoolboy days of viewing the Fantastic Art of Frank Frazetta.

There where giants in those days and today, once more, they stride in the Heavens…

Expect thunder and lightning when Frank and Jack meet next!

Until next time, have fun!

Tim Perkins…
May1th 2010

Friday, May 07, 2010

Beware the Spammers and the Scammers and the Clever Advertorials…

Bearing Gifts…or…
The latest attempt to have money siphoned out of our pockets…

Hi Guys,

I received an envelope on Tuesday, which had upon it a second-class stamp. Nothing strange there, I hear you say, but it came along, delineated with our company address that to all intents and purposes appeared to be hand-written.

Fortunately for us we have an eye for this kind of thing at the Keep, after all we use fonts and printing all the time here, so it seems sound sense that we would detect a font, albeit a good “hand-written” styled one.

I am always cynical about letters and companies professing to be able to make your profits increase in hundreds of percent and telling us all that advertising doesn’t work.

Well let me tell you that advertising in the right way, with the right products, with the right media, is what it is all about.

We all need to market and brand ourselves and anyone that thinks differently is certainly not correct in that assumption.

Now with all that in mind let me discuss with you the letter in question, or rather the content of the envelope, which was addressed to, Timothy Perkins, Wizards Keep Limited – a give away, especially when looking at the post mark, as there is no one on this planet except my Mum and Dad, if Mum is in the room, and my mate’s Mum, sadly no longer with us who ever calls me that.

The only folks to use my full name are the cold callers to the home and the company – a give-away that this call will be a time waster, so I disappoint folks time and again by cutting the conversations short, in a courteous way none the less, to ensure my time is not wasted, even if the caller’s is – tough!!!

Oh yes, and a certain colourist also calls me by my full christened title too, but I see that as a term of "endearment", or at least a bit of fun!

Anyhow back to the story here; it contained what looked like a torn out page from a newspaper – I suspect that having no header lines showing, which newspaper it was, or page number (although there was a date) was another give-away.

Now, and here is the trick to this little misleading “advertorial” cold calling via the printed page, on the top of the folded page, when I took it out of its envelope was a post-it note.

It read (again in the same “hand-written” font – but meant to look like it was from someone I knew (but by now we were pre-warned):

Timothy, (give-away, guys- told ya already)
I saw this and thought of you. This guy is brilliant. Have a look at his website.

Well aside from the font and use of my full title mistakes I looked at the postmark and know no one from the area, let alone anyone that would sign it simply, J…In fact only one person on this planet would sign anything like this and only at certain times, so no clues to folks here.

Having scan read the page, which was double sided, I decided to look at it further, as it reminded me of a similar claim for free gifts purporting to make you instantly better at doing what you do and making you masses of money, from a fraudster in the States a while ago.

These along with the ones, which say your work and reputation are such that you are being honoured by having you sign up to be on the most acclaimed business address on-line lists and catalogues, which are bestowed upon the most prestigious of similarly elite companies, are commonplace at the Keep, which as I am sure you will agree is quite an honour for a guy who creates sequential stories amongst other stuff, if you were to be egotistical enough to fall for it all.

They all claim to be from companies donating their services for free…that is until you delve further and there is always a catch and therein lies the rub…because no-one and I mean no-one does anything like this for FREE…ever!!!

Well this one was no different, because after looking up the guy in Google and his company I was directed to not a website, as the address implied, but a sign up page, which asked for your card details…

Now before I go on, is anyone here reading this little missive going, “oh no!”, “alarm bells ringing”, “this is bad!!!”, or similar…Well guess what me too.

Who in their right mind is going to send off for 6 x CDs which will change your life, just like winning the lottery (please read sarcasm here), and give away card details, to someone with the long list above of tell-tale signs of a potential scam…?

No website, even though you are directed to it, but a sign up page with provision to add your personal card details – I THINK NOT Squire, sorry.

Also, at this point, I will direct you here to another writer that has also had a similar earlier invite from Mr. Chris Cardell and, which he writes about on his Blog here:

Science Writer, Brian Clegg’s Blog

There you will read lots of comments following on from his Blog on the matter, with its similar “newspaper clipping” albeit with a much more misleading photograph with the guy in question, Chris Cardell, stood with UK Dragon’s Den top entrepreneur, Duncan Bannatyne.

There is also a link to the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority), which has ruled against Chris Cardell, hence, the obviously slightly amended version I have received containing the new photograph of the CDs on offer, instead of the one on Brian’s Blog, which you can read about below by following the link to the ASA website.

ASA Adjudication on Cardell Media Ltd

It all goes to show that these things can be deceiving and, more importantly, convincing in their application.

Oh, one last little joke before I leave you, at the bottom of the first page of the supposed newspaper (please read – printed on newsprint – and we can all do that, just go along to a printer) it reads; (Continued on Section A Page 2)…and guess what…?

You’ll never guess what, when you look on the back of the page it reads; (Continued from Section A Page 1).

Now there’s a novel thought, sequentially numbered pages and marked just in case you cannot find page two on the back of page 1, excellent use of numerology and literacy/reading skills there for those of less than academic qualification…but I thought he was targeting UK businesses, are we not supposed to be able to do this without the use of such devices…?

Maybe there is a new illustrated book for me there, “How to turn over the pages of a newspaper and find the next page correctly!” – What do you think?

I’ll let you have further details about this, if I learn more.

Is this a scam, or just plain and simply the worst exploitative way of hard advertising? I leave that for you to decide, especially if you also receive one of these, or similar.

Until next time, be vigilant to these kinds of things and above all, have fun!

Tim Perkins…
May 7th 2010