ComicsBeat.com has confirmed that Frank Frazetta, classic fantasy artist has died at the age of 82 of a stroke in a hospital near his home.

Frazetta got his start working on the Lil Abner comic with Al Cap in the 1950s. However, it was his later work in the 60s doing cover art for reprints of the Conan the Barbarian, John Carter of Mars, and Tarzan novels that built Frazetta’s reputation, and inspired other artists like Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, Brom, Richard Corbin and others, as well as inspiring the look of the Conan The Barbarian films (as well as TV series like Hercules and Xena), and video games like the God of War series, and countless Heavy Metal album covers (which in turn inspired the look of the game Brutal Legend).

I got into Frazetta’s art through the people who came after him – as a kid I got a book on chess illustrated by comic book artist John Bolton (who also did some covers for Dark Horse’s Aliens comics). The art in the book imitated Frazetta’s style a lot, and to this day I wonder if Frazetta was their first choice for the title, but they just couldn’t afford him or he simply wasn’t available. Over time I’ve come to get more appreciation for Frazetta’s work beyond the artist’s “chicks in chainmail” reputation. He will be missed.