Modern Masters Volume 26: Frazer Irving
by Nathan Wilson and Eric Nolen-Weathington
The Golden Age of comic books may be long gone, but we are certainly in a gold-plated age of graphic novelists. I really don’t see how anyone can keep track of them all, but the folks at Twomorrows have cranked out a long series of profile books on the leaders of this pack, and I’m constantly amazed by the quality of their work. Today we meet up with Frazier Irving, who has worked on Necronauts, Tharg’s Terror Tales, and, my favorite title, The Mystic Hands of Dr. Strange. In this wide-ranging interview, he talks about the mechanics of getting into cartooning, early influences, and all the sort of technical stuff that artists talk about when the rest of us are polishing our lightsabers.
What really strikes me in this parallel graphic novel universe is the evolution of Frazier’s style. He starts his career with the crisply inked panels that we associate with B&W comic books of bygone days, but then gradually evolves toward fine art with scratch shading, charcoal tones, and a softer, more ominous look. His women are both erotic and ominous; they look like ordinary people you might know, or at least think you know until one turns all zombie cannibal on the fourth date and rips out your heart, either metaphorically or for dinner. My favorite image is the blue-skulled, Frankenstein-lit evil scientist on the cover. He too is out for blood, but the “have a nice day” button tones him down as well. Perhaps he’s not really a blood thirsty vampire, just an assistant manager at Kmart, helping you return a plastic lawn chair. (Cue evil laugh)