Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Number 2517: Fritz Frazetta's ugly tree

Frank Frazetta was a master of fantasy, muscular guys, exotic, beautiful women. He was also able to draw funny animals, which seems strange to those only familiar with a painting like “The Death Dealer.” In this particular funny animal story he gives us a reasonably good knockoff of Walt Kelly’s Albert the Alligator called “Al,” and a cute squirrel called Munchy. Who came up with those names? I hope it wasn’t Frazetta. Being a funny animal strip, it is a fantasy, just not the kind you expect from Frazetta; so he signed his name “Fritz.” The tree is the main character of the story, and is the ugliest tree I have seen outside of my neighbor’s front yard.

Altogether the story falls short of genius, Frazetta’s or anyone else’s, it is short, at 5 pages, so you get to look at another facet of Frazetta’s drawing talent, without having to invest much time or brain cells on the story.

From Coo Coo Comics #47 (1949):



Daniel [] said...

Many of your readers — but, as I think, not all — will recognize the oblique reference to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, a novel by Betty Smith published in 1943 and made into a movie in 1945 (and again in 1974), with a comic strip in '44 (and a Broadway musical in '51). According to the GCD, this story was the first in which Munchy appeared, so some restraint was exhibited in not bashing the reader over the head with the allusion.

(Apparently Al Alligator never made another appearance.)

Pappy said...

Daniel, for some reason in my head I get A Tree Grows in Brooklyn confused with Forever Amber, and I have no idea why. I have never read either book. I just remember they were both bit hits in their time.

Since Al Capp hired Frazetta as a ghost artist after seeing Frazetta's work on the comic book "Looie Lazybones" stories, one wonders what it would have been like if Walt Kelly had hired Frazetta to be his ghost, rather than Al Capp.