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Save your money and just buy the posters
on August 17, 2009
This is the lowest rating I've ever given any book and even I'm suprised by how much I dislike this collected series. Even more suprising is the lip service being given this substandard series by people who appear to be fans of Frank Frazetta but have not the ability to critique for that fandom. In essence, anything the Frazetta's approve/endorse is good enough for them and this is the very reason why fandom is a bad way to eye any effort, good or bad.
In summation all I can ask of people who are considering buying this book or the comic series to really look at other comics and the graphic medium. Look at the artist Cary Nord and writer Kurt Busiek's run on the Dark Horse Conan series. Look even at the current people on that book who still deliver far better fare and for a lot less money than this series. Tomas Giorello's art and Tim Truman's scripting on Conan have this series beat hands down. Ask yourselves why creators of at least this caliber are not on the Death Dealer series? This is Frank Frazetta's Death Dealer after all. These are among his most dynamic and iconic images. They deserve better.
When I saw the advanced solicitations for this Death Dealer series I confess, my heart sank. Who were these guys and why does it looks so bad, so colorless? Despite that I still bought them. the premise of the Death Dealer rising in a time of need in the midst turmoil between wrongheaded kingdoms is good enough but it quickly lapses into one excuse after another to pit the Death Dealer against bigger and bigger demons menacing the Death Dealer's cohorts. References to, and the use of druids is useless since they either never bother to place them in actual time line in prehistory, or it was such a poor reference that it's easily forgotten, so what's the point in using them? Modern swearing styles are a biut offputting but worst of all is the Death Dealer apparently is just a force to be reckoned with and has no real personality. I get the whole "he's a catalyst" thing. But does he have to be portrayed as just a bludgeon for "good"?
The art itself requires little comment. It's boring, over-textured, with no character on the character's faces and no physical dynamic. It's a lot like the Death Dealer's portrayal, superficial, lackluster and uninvolved. (And I hate the sad, clown eyes the artist instists on drawing on his characters)
As for the much vaunted Frazetta endorsement: remember, the Frazetta's have been routinely conned into giving endorsements they later regretted (even as they were warned that they were entering into bad deals where Frank's talent would be exploited by fauning, spending "fans").
In this case notice all the Frazetta ads and that will tell you all you need to know about the family's endorsement. Seriously, if this series was that great why is every comic/colection in the Frazetta series married to multiple ads for other Frazetta products and promoting the museum (which is only open the summer months)? The work would speak for itself and the ads would be minimal. Overkill is not and endorsement. These books are vehicles to keep the Frazetta name out there.
My opinion stands, never again will I waste my money when my eyes tell me it will not be worth the effort.
If you need to read Frazetta art inspired fare go back to the books that were graced by his covers (Wagner's Kane books, Silke's Death Dealer, Robert Howard's books, Michael Moorcocks Eternal Champion o and others series or Edgar Rice Burroughs' tales). you could push for the re-release of the James Silke novels (Frank had a very active part in the way those stories were crafted).
Above all else, buy the art books featuring Frazetta's art like ICON, LEGACY,TESTAMENT, Rough Stuff or Telling Stories: the Comic Art of Frank Frazetta. At the very least, by a couple of the posters and stare at them a while. I gaurantee they'll tell you a much better story than twice the money will get you buying this collection.