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Tuesday, January 25, 2011


(see below and weigh in with your opinion)

- Note: The information in this post has been proven to be innaccurate because of false information published in a bootleg publication that was believed by me to be legitimate. Thanks to knowledgable readers and their helpful comments, the information has been conclusively discredited. I leave the rest of the original post to illustrate how controversies can be developed, and how people with knowledge sharing information respectfully can bring resolution to such controversies. -

Over the past several months, while I have been 'away', several giants of comic book illustration have passed from our midsts into the great beyond. Among these artistic giants was Frank Frazetta. You can see my initial tribute to Mr. Frazetta over at Black 'N' White And Red All Over.

Here I present to you some apparently little known or perhaps overlooked information regarding Frazetta's very first published oil painting. Of course as every serious art fan knows, Frank Frazetta is well known for (among other things) his amazing oil painting covers for the CONAN and TARZAN paperback books published in the 60's and 70's, as well as several Warren covers. What every serious art fan does not know, as evidenced by the Grand Comic Book Database (or GCD), is the fact that his very first published oil painting was done for Avon Comics in July of 1950 for WILD BILL HICKOK comics.

As presented by the GCD, the above cover art was by artist Harold Winfield Scott (click here to see GCD's entry). That is erroneous. I am here to set the record straight, using Frank Frazetta's own records.

This painting was done fairly early in Frazetta's career, before he began the habit of demanding the rights to keep his original paintings after publication. Where the original painting is now is unknown, and the records to indicate authorship are incomplete. Therefore the attribution by the GCD to Harold Winfield Scott was made as an educated guess by art experts, at first a mere suggestion and now widely accepted as a fact.

As comic book enthusiasts know, the GCD is an indispensable tool and are to be praised for all their efforts to catalogue every legitimate comic book every published, which is an almost impossibly daunting task indeed. One cannot fault them for displaying occasional false information, and they themselves ask for help from the public in clarifying some of these questionable entries. After I post this, I will contact them with the correct information. I encourage every comic book fan who has knowledge that can fill in the blank spaces over at GCD to please inform them of the correct information, so true facts will not be lost to history as time goes by.

My proof for the validity of Frazetta's authorship of the painting in question comes from Frank Frazetta's own records, as listed by him in his own publication, THE FRAZETTA TREASURY(1975), which includes Frank's own checklist of his work up to that point in his career. The checklist in that volume is hand-typed, most likely by Ellie Frazetta and verified by Frank himself, and on page 5 of the list is the entry:
# 4  Cover [First published painting]

Beside the written entry, there is also a full page which reprints the cover in black and white, with the words underneath,

 So it is Frank Frazetta himself claiming that the painting is his.
This revelation should be of importance to comic book/art historians, as well as comic book collectors. Anyone possessing this comic book (such as myself) should immediately reassess the value of WILD BILL HICKOK # 4, as it is a collector's item.

(I will consider any offers for this comic, if any collectors are interested in acquiring it.)


Since posting this and other Frazetta material on Black 'N' White And Red All Over,
two readers have informed me that there is controversy surrounding the authenticity of THE FRAZETTA TREASURY. One of the people saying so is none other than Mr. Door Tree, art historian and the provider of the excellent GOLDEN AGE COMIC BOOK STORIES, whose personal knowledge regarding Frazetta is more extensive than my own, and therefore I must report that this post is not definitive, and any information contained in THE FRAZETTA TREASURY, as accurate as it appears, may not be 100% accurate after all. If the information wasn't coming from him, I might still not be convinced, but I am convinced of his knowledge of such facts. Now I welcome any comments, information, or opinions on this apparent controversy. Just leave your comment below. Thank you!


Finally, one last bit...
After contacting the GCD, their investigation, though hardly extensive, resulted in them sending me this link to a comic tell me, is this proof of the inauthenticity, or merely hearsay?
GCD did say they would at the least consider printing a small bit expressing the possible spurious information of The Frazetta Treasury.

Now I ask all of you -

-additional information-

Alright, alright! I'll shut up now!

The controversy is over!
Here is the undeniable proof, as provided by the very knowledgable Daniel (of An, who provided the link to this image of the original cover art which appeared on a 1947 issue of SPEED WESTERN magazine (see comments below). Thank you to Daniel, and of course to Mr. Door Tree at the always amazing  Golden Age Comic Book Stories for his invaluable insights.


  1. There's one on eBay right now for $60. Maybe that's a good deal considering.

  2. I'd say yes, as soon as it becomes understood who really painted the cover, the price will certainly skyrocket upwards!

  3. good luck with any sales on ebay these days; the comic hobby has taken a real hit. It is a buyers market, not a sellers market. If your copy is worth CGCing, that may give you a better shot at selling it for a better price.

  4. This cover painting is not by Frazetta! When The Frazetta Treasury "bootleg" publication came out in 1975 some of the information was discounted by Frank and the major Frazetta collectors! This cover was of particular interest and was immediately proven not to be by Frazetta via the man himself! Though the Frazetta Treasury comes off as Frank having a hand in the publiction this was not the's never been definatively proven who actually published this (we collector's always had our thoughts!) but it sure wasn't the Frazetta's and they would have loved to have known who to go after for copyright infringment! Even the so-called interview with Frank is bogus...any information atrributed to Frazetta in this zine has no validation!

  5. Well, my friends, it seems I may have been under a false impression. I own every volume about or by Frazetta since the late 60's, and I had never heard of any authenticity controversy regarding The Frazetta Treasury until today. It's still hard for me to accept, since it seems like 99.9% of the interview and the information contained in the volume read as accurate...
    Regardless of my personal feelings, when an expert like Mr. Door Tree weighs in with information like this, I have to listen.

    I wish I had more in formation about this, as I was unaware about any controversy. Does anyone else have information pertaining to this issue, whether personal or anectdotal?

    What say you, reader? Opinions?

  6. This isn't about opinions...only the facts...if nothing else, on page 34 of TESTAMENT The Frazetta Treasury is referred to as "the most notorious" bootleg! This doesn't take into acount my personal interaction with Frazetta and what we talked about!

  7. Thank you, Mr. Door Tree. I do not have the book TESTAMENT which you speak of, and I as I read the thread that GCD sent me, it just seemed to be that one person's comment was taken as fact, when he said Frank told him so...well, I don't know who that person is, or if he just wrote that to make himself look important. I admit, I don't know the whole story, and I was hoping someone (like yourself) would comment with such personal inside information. As I stated, I trust your opinion very much. Thanks for the second comment.

    You have to take into account my trying to grasp with this all and trying to determine the truth. I do respectfully trust your knowledge, but if you were in my shoes, if you weren't told of this controversy, just as I was not, wouldn't you also believe that THE FRAZETTA TREASURY was authentic? And therefore long for as much proof as possible? So I am merely looking for any more concrete evidence that isn't amounting to hearsay, or somebody online said, so it must be true. There is a difference in my opinion, in my personal opinion, when some nobody online says something that can't be verified, and when you, who I trust, say the same thing.

    All that being said, I thank you again. Even if you had never personally spoken with Mr. Frazetta, I trust your knowledge regarding all of this. I believe you. May I ask, respectfully, is there any more personal comments that Frank Frazetta made to you specifically concerning this? I don't mean at all to come off as disrespectful, but every bit of detailed clarification helps to clear up any doubt that I or another reader may have. Thanks very much. I and the rest of the readers here appreciate you and your knowledge.

  8. Mr. Door Tree, the GCD states that the cover for WILD BILL HICKOK # 4, as allegedly painted by Harold Winfield Scott, was taken from a 1947 pulp western, as follows:

    "Overstreet identifies this painting to be the work of Harold Winfield Scott who painted covers for pulp magazines, and Gary Watson specifies the source of the cover as the October 1947 issue of Trojan's Speed Western Stories."

    As you have more pulp cover images than anyone I know, is it possible that you have a copy/image of the pulp in question? I have done a cursory search online for such an image, but cannot locate one. I figured if anyone had an image of this pulp, you might.

    Just curious. Than ks again, and once more, I believe you.
    Thanks again, Mr. Door Tree.

  9. Daniel, that is fantastic! Anyone who clicks on your link up there can see the original art which was then used three years later for WILD BILL HICKOK #4! Thank you immensely and well done, sir! That is the kind of concrete proof I was searching for.

    Well, I was ignorantly misinformed on this issue, friends and readers, and stubborn in my ignorance, too! In the end, everyone reading (who was unsure, as I was) became informed and enlightened, thanks to the wise and knowledgable reporting of Mr. Door Tree, Daniel, and Rick Tucker (other blog). I learned something I didn't know, I hope you did as well.

    I've always known the folks who read my blogs were not only smart, but good looking too (I'm looking right at you)!

    I'll shut up about all this now...unless it's to admit my error! I hope this is the last time I post incorrect information, and I apologize to every reader for doing so, inadvertant or not.

    Thank you, everyone!