Frank Frazetta’s Boner

Frank Frazetta was heir to a great tradition of book illustration that was dying out when he came on the scene. The pulp novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan, John Carter of Mars — and Robert Howard — Conan the Barbarian — were all graced by the work of J. Allen St. John, himself following such artists as N.C. Wyeth and Howard Pyle.

J. Allen St. John, "Warlord of Mars"

In the 1960s there was a brief renaissance for Burroughs and Howard and new paperback editions for Tarzan, Conan, and the rest called for new illustrators. Frank Frazetta answered the call.

Frank Frazetta: "Warlord of Mars"

 

 

Frazetta was the premier fantasy illustrator of his day and revisited all of the books once illustrated by J. Allen St. John. He said later that he never read any of them, just drew what he felt like, but certainly Frazetta had seen St. John’s work and, whether he read the books or not, his Princess of Mars is closer to Burroughs’ concept than St. John’s. Burroughs wrote that his characters were naked, St. John always showed Thuvia and the others in modest garb, Frazetta drew them as the author intended. St. John did allow fewer clothes for his Tarzan illustrations, though. Here’s Tarzan prone before Queen La of Opar with her bare-breasted attendants just behind:

Frazetta was very good at drawing naked people. In 1994, Alex Acevedo was buying up all the original Frazetta art that he could get. Frazetta showed him a gouache drawing that was intended only for private perusal. Tarzan, held by two nude young women, is brought before an undressed African queen, La of Opar. The picture is pretty good as heroic erotica, or whatever you call this genre, but when Acevedo first saw it, it was better: Tarzan was sporting an erection.

Acevedo wanted to buy the picture right away. He offered $45000. Frazetta refused — unless he could remove the erect member. Acevedo agreed.

 
So Tarzan’s grand member has been erased forever. No doubt the world is better off without this smut, though it is interesting that the female pudenda are allowed. I suppose naked ladies are Art but naked men are Nasty. And Huge Erections are completely obscene! Maybe this is a definition: it isn’t pornographic unless it shows erect male organs. This is undoubtedly a reflection of male dominence — women get naked, men maintain their dignity (except for Greek statues with teeny peeny that don’t threaten anyone’s self-esteem). I keep reading in the Sunday supplements that women are taking over — they have the jobs, the university placements, and so on. I am certain that, once they are firmly in control, women will correct this error and male members in all their glory will be sported by the subservient erotic objects that men will become.

[via http://themanwhonevermissed.blogspot.com/ thanks, Bill Wottin!]

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