Rock God

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Story based on the cover by Frank Frazetta. 

Harlan Ellison approached publisher Jim Warren about writing a story for him based on the next cover Frazetta painted. It was agreed that Neal Adams would draw the story and Ellison would be able to purchase the original from Adams. For some reason it was fifteen years before Ellison finally was able to get the art. (pp. 98-99, Legacy: Selected Drawings & Paintings by Frank Frazetta, edited by Arnie Fenner & Cathy Fenner, Underwood Books, 1999)

Adams and Ellison would work together later on two other projects: Adams did illustrations for Ellison’s story “The New York Review of Bird” for Byron Preiss’ Weird Heroes and would later adapt Ellison’s Twilight Zone screenplay “Crazy As A Soup Sandwich” for NOW Comics’ Twilight Zone #1.

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April 1970

In that issue a page was published featuring portraits of Ellison, Frazetta, and Adams, drawn by Adams, as well as a small reproduction of the cover art without copy and the following text piece on “The Story Behind The Story of Rock God”

Frank Frazetta, Harlan Ellison, Neal Adams: Anyway you measure it, this trio represents a magnitude of artistic and writing talent. ROCK GOD – starting on the following page – is a showcase of their combined creativity.

Frazetta started it off last summer when he walked into our offices carrying a large manila envelope. We weren’t expecting Frank that day, and we certainly weren’t expecting him to open that envelope and surprise us with a cover painting (see insert). A few weeks earlier Harlan Ellison, a Hollywood science fiction writer with a highly developed sense of imagination – and a lover of comic art – expressed interest in writing a story based on the next Frazetta cover. Ellison is also a fan of another Creepy contributor – artist Neal Adams. We asked Neal to illustrate Harlan’s story. Neal (his last work for us appeared in VAMPIRIELLA #1) enthusiastically agreed to the project.

Ellison was then sent a photocopy of the original Frazetta painting (our cover this issue); soon we received Harlan’s short story ROCK GOD – which was sent to Neal for breakdown into comic format and finished art. Another of our top pro’s – BEN ODA – did the lettering. Neal Adams did the portraits (including his own) of the 3 contributors, shown below…

Ellison: ‘My work is writing. It’s also my pleasure. I’m 35, and have this portrait on my wall; I keep getting younger but the portrait is decaying hideously.’

Frazetta: ‘My first love is comic art. Probably always will be. Men who’ve inspired me, Michael Salanga, Hal Foster – both truly great artists. My second love is drawing the female form. Can’t you tell. Altho, some days I’d rather be playing baseball for the Yankees.’

Adams: ‘I guess I’m really 3 different people…a quiet, serious student of good literature & art; also a guy who loves to draw pictures and convey ideas through the comic medium. The third Adams produces storyboards for television and illustrations for N.Y. ad agencies. Someday ‘all 3 of us’ will work on a project we’ll all enjoy.”

“Rock God” was later included in Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor Quarterly #1 (Dark Horse Comics, 1996). The “The Story Behind The Story Of Rock God” page would be printed, alonside the full cover painting, in the book Legacy: Selected Drawings & Paintings by Frank Frazetta, edited by Arnie Fenner & Cathy Fenner (Underwood Books, 1999).

Rock God” first appeared in Coven 13, Nov ’69 and is featured in the collections Over the Edge, 1970; Deathbird Stories, 1975; Dreams with Sharp Teeth, 1991; and Edgeworks 1, 1996

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