Monday, July 26, 2010

Comic Art Legend: Frank Thorne

Born in Rahway, New Jersey on June 16, 1930, Frank Thorne broke into comics at eighteen drawing romance stories at Standard Comics while studying at the Art Students League in New York. After his graduation, Thorne illustrated Perry Mason for two years at King Features Syndicate, before returning to Dell Comics to work on Jungle Jim, Flash Gordon, The Green Hornet and other adventure related titles. From 1957 to 1964 Frank drew a very well received medical strip called Dr. Guy Bennett for the Arthur Lafave Syndicate before revisiting comics once again. Switching to Gold Key, he worked mainly on Twilight Zone and Mighty Samson and a handful for of other books, before going to DC to draw Tomahawk, Korak, and various war and horror stories. Fans are also quite fond of his few excellent works at Atlas/Seaboard Publications in their black and white and color creations on Son of Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, and Lawrence of Arabia, before next landing at Marvel Comics.

Thorne is best known for his 1975 rendition of Marvel's "She-Devil with a sword", Robert E. Howard's, fiery female Red Sonja. The artist's perfect mixture of sword and sorcery fantasy and the sexy red-haired Amazon made his the definitive image for the character, with a tremendous success that few could follow. Though After three years, Thorne decided to leave Marvel to create his own blond warrior woman, Ghita of Alizzar and began his long career drawing bawdy characters for various publishers such as Playboy (Moonshine McJuggs), Heavy Metal (Lann), and Comico (Ribit!), just to name a few. Besides doing comics, Frank Thorne has done numerous gag cartoons, and the Illustrated History of Union County, for the New Jersey area where he was born.

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