This privately run museum, located in the middle-of-nowhere, Pennsylvania, was still surprisingly easy to get to. It’s just a few minutes off of Interstate 80 in the charming town of East Stroudsburg.
The museum is run by one of Frazetta’s children: Frank, Jr. Although, he was quick to tell us, he’s not really a junior but “everybody” just calls him that. When we arrived, my wife and I started walking about, but as soon as Frank, Jr. had finished with the previous guests, he stepped right on over to give us a guided tour.
That really made it special. The framing of Frazetta’s life and career was deeply fascinating, but Frank Jr. was able to deliver the highlights without getting too deep. On the other hand, even a long-time fan like myself learned a few new things. And Frank Jr. was able to provide so many humanizing details to Frazetta from the unique perspective of a son. I quickly reached the conclusion that Frazetta’s temperament and disposition was very similar to many of my Italian relatives.
The whole museum is laid out smartly – starting out with two display cases of paperbacks with Frazetta covers, and then showcasing Frazetta family portraits, his early work, the most famous paintings and even a recreation of his studio. His camera collection (it turns out he was a passionate collector) is on display and just makes the great talent Frazetta seem like a more ‘real’ guy.
In fact, Frank Jr. told us stories about how Frazetta would procrastinate and have to scramble to make his deadlines. They were fascinating tales to hear, especially from those of us who are so in awe of Frazetta’s work.
We really enjoyed our visit and it’s highly recommended. More info is available here at: http://frazettamuseum.com
And I still highly recommend that recent book – Fantastic Paintings of Frazetta by J. David Spurlock from Vanguard Press, that I mentioned in my summer reading column a few weeks back.
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All Art by Frank Frazetta. Pictures by Ed Catto.
Another fascinating museum to visit to get a closer look at an artist’s work is The Jack Kirby Museum and Research Center. They are celebrating Kirby’s 103rd birthday with a virtual pop-up event they are calling “3 Days for 103”. That makes sense as The Kirby Museum is a virtual, web-based entity, open to the public on a 24-7 basis, 365 days a year, run by volunteers and does not have a physical site at this time. The official write-up reads:
To mark the 103rd anniversary of Jack Kirby’s birth, the Jack Kirby Museum and Research Center will host a three day virtual event, celebrating the life, legacy, and boundless creativity of the King of Comics. “3 Days for 103” will be streamed live to YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter (Periscope) August 28-30, from 11 AM until 7 PM.
There’s a long list of folks who will be a part of this, including creators like Erik Larsen and Rob Liefeld, Kirby’s grandchildren Tracy and Jeremy and even Abraham Riesman, and the author of the soon-to-be-published True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee.
They are hosting a few events, including an online birthday party (that’s Friday, August 28th) , a dramatic reading of the Simon & Kirby classic Romance story “Different!” and a look into the Kirby Museum’s digital archive. More details are available on the Kirby Museum event page.