|"Frank Frazetta's Death Dealer" #1|
"It's an amazing, powerful, and resonant image, and definitely one of Frazetta's greatest paintings," said Ortega, speaking to CBR News about the original Frank Frazetta painting that inspired the comic book. "There's so much mood and atmosphere in the piece, it's no wonder that it's inspired so much interest. Mainstream media and culture is just now starting to fully recognize the power and influence of Frazetta's work, and once that recognition is fully realized, the 'Death Dealer' painting will stand as one of the 20th century's greatest works of painted art."
Indeed, the Frazetta painting has since its creation in 1973 been seen at least once by probably everyone who reads comic books or genre novels; sees science fiction and fantasy films; or who's ever attended a comic convention anywhere in the world. It's everywhere. The iconic work has spawned many merchandise tie-ins including several statues and action figures, a life-size helmet prop, a series of novels and a number of comic books. Some readers may remember the "Death Dealer" comics published by Glenn Danzig's Verotik company, which featured stories created by Danzig, Liam Sharp, Simon Bisely and Arthur Suydam.
|"Frank Frazetta's Death Dealer" #1, cover B|
That entirely new and Frazetta-approved world is one of the reasons "Death Dealer" has been embraced so ferociously by readers. With his collaborators Nat Jones and Jay Fotos, Ortega has developed a highly imaginative fantasy world that is both captivating to genre fans and welcoming to the curious and uninitiated, sucked in by the magnetism of Frazetta's painting on the cover. "Shadows of Mirhan," the first story in the new Death Dealer franchise, takes place in the land of Iparsia. "It's a fantastic place where demons and devils do exist," said Ortega. "However, it's not overpopulated with fantasy creatures and the supernatural. There is a certain 'reality' to the world that allows the more incredible aspects of the world - like the Death Dealer himself - to really stand out."
|Art from "Frank Frazetta's Death Dealer" #1|
"Shadows of Mirhan" features a rather large supporting cast for a six-issue series, but then again, you can't make an epic without breaking a few spines. "There is Duke Jared Atar, his daughter Adelia, and his two sons, Rian and Tomas," said Ortega, referring to the leaders of Oro, the kingdom on the defensive. "There's also the Duke's old friend, Lambeau, a very tough and worldly man-at-arms that I think readers are really going to dig - he has a wicked flanged mace and is quite adept at braining adversaries with it. We've also got two brothers, Haden and Kelland, who play a major role in the story and the origin of the Death Dealer, as well as a mysterious stranger who probably knows more about the Death Dealer than just about anyone.
|"Frank Frazetta's Death Dealer" #1, pages 1 and 2|
A compelling tale with engaging characters is just part of a success story like that of "Death Dealer's." As quality as the book is, "Death Dealer" still came out of nowhere to become a major seller. Ortega attributes the phenomenon partly to the faithful job he and his collaborators have done with bringing the character to life, noting the fact that the Frazettas themselves love the work they're doing speaks volumes to fans. The "Death Dealer" team has also undertaken a sizable media campaign, doing interviews and appearances, and previewing the first issue in "Previews," allowing readers to see the high quality work they've put into the book.
But chiefly, Ortega credits the success of Image's "Death Dealer" to the power of Frazetta and his creation. "This book has brought people out of the woodworks, some who possibly haven't bought a comic in years. Like the new 'Buffy' series, 'Death Dealer' is one of those books that not only appeals to hardcore comic fans, but also to mainstream readers as well, and that's largely due to Frazetta and the legendary painting."
|"Frank Frazetta's Death Dealer" #1, pages 3 and 4|
|"Frank Frazetta's Death Dealer" #1, pages 5 and 6|
"Death Dealer" fans can expect even more gory goodness in the future, Ortega confirmed. "We've beehinting that there's more to come for a few months now, but now we can officially say that this will not be the last Death Dealer story you'll see. Plans are already in the works for another series, and don't be surprised if you see us bringing other Frazetta paintings to life in the near future as well. As I've said before, the Land of Iparsia and the world of the Death Dealer is a very big place, and there are many, many stories left to tell. And man, wouldn't it be cool to see a story with the Silver Warrior in it?"
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