Frazetta's Sea Witch (1966)
Frazetta’s working relationship with Jim Warren began in 1964, only two years prior to the birth of Sea Witch. “Jim Warren is a great guy. Very amiable and a lot of fun. He was funny. He had this routine: “We’re a team, blah blah blah.” That works for other artists - it doesn’t work for me. I’d say Jim, cut the horseshit, will you? I’ll do the work because I love working in a larger format and because you stay off my back. I do whatever I like and I’m going to shock you from time to time - and I did." Warren was certainly shocked when he was presented with Sea Witch. Frazetta brought the horizontal painting to Warren's office the day before the deadline and Warren said, "Frank! What did you do? How are we going to print this? We’ll have to crop it completely and go close in on it.” to which Frazetta defensively replied, “Oh no you won't, Jim! Don’t you touch it!” Warren ended up printing it exactly the way Frazetta envisioned. Frazetta wanted it to be different. He said he liked the fact the "Sea Witch" was tiny on the front cover and he knew fans would appreciate it. Sure enough, they made the right choice. Eerie #7 was a hit!
Later in his life, Frazetta reflected on his career and repeatedly noted that working with Warren was the happiest time in his entire career. This was the period he had free rein to work out his characters and designs. Warren paid roughly $250 a cover, which would be equal to about $2,500 today. It wasn't a lot in comparison to Frazetta's earnings of upwards of $5,000 for a movie poster but it was never about the money for Frazetta. It was about the freedom. It was about keeping the original artwork. When Frazetta received Sea Witch back from Warren he decided to revise it. He talked about the revisions in an interview by Esquire Magazine in 1977, "She looked too luminous and you could hardly see her body." Though, after he revised her, he completely lost her facial expression, which really stressed him out, " I worked on it for hours and hours and hours and thought well shit, it’s gone! I lost it the angry witch face. But eventually I got it back."
Sea Witch Version II
Rough work in watercolor
Frank Frazetta created "Sea Witch" with oils on canvas board. He masterfully used the interlocking of shapes to create this spellbinding composition as everything seems to be in motion. The painting is a phenomenal representation of the sea, an uncontrollable force. It is one of Frazetta's larger works as the original artwork measures 30x20 inches. Frazetta painted Sea Witch for the cover of Warren’s Eerie Magazine #7 which was released in January 1967. It was the cover for Wolfmother's 2005 debut LP and is the cover for Opus Comics Death Dealer issue #5, 2022.
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