FRANK FRAZETTA – Card #24 – SPIDERMAN – Comic Images 1991

FRANK FRAZETTA – Card #24 – SPIDERMAN – Comic Images 1991

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FRANK FRAZETTA – Card #24 – SPIDERMAN – Comic Images 1991


Frazetta – Individual Trading Card from the set issued by Comic Images in 1991.

(February 9, 1928 – May 10, 2010) was an
American fantasy and science fiction artist, noted for comic books,
paperback book covers, paintings, posters, LP record album covers and
other media. He is often referred to as the “Godfather” of
fantasy art, and one of the most renowned illustrators of the 20th
century. He was also the subject of a 2003 documentary Painting
with Fire

was inducted into the comic book industry’s Will Eisner Comic Book
Hall of Fame, the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame, the Society of
Illustrators Hall of Fame, the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, and was
awarded a Life Achievement Award from the World Fantasy Convention.


Frank Frazzetta in Brooklyn, New York City, Frazetta removed one “z”
from his last name early in his career to make his name seem less
“clumsy”. The only boy in a family with three sisters, he
spent much time with his grandmother, who began encouraging him in
art when he was two years old. In 2010, a month before his death, he
recalled that:

I drew something, she would be the one to say it was wonderful and
would give me a penny to keep going. Sometimes I had nothing left to
draw on but toilet paper. As I got older, I started drawing some
pretty wild things for my age. I remember the teachers were always
mesmerized by what I was doing, so it was hard to learn anything from
them. So I went to art school when I was a little kid, and even there
the teachers were flipping out.

age eight, Frazetta attended the Brooklyn Academy of Fine Arts, a
small art school run by instructor Michel Falanga. “He didn’t
teach me anything, really,” Frazetta said in 1994. “He’d
come and see where I was working, and he might say, ‘Very nice, very
nice. But perhaps if you did this or that.’ But that’s about it. We
never had any great conversations. He spoke very broken English. He
kind of left you on your own. I learned more from my friends there.”


1944, at age 16, Frazetta, who had “always had this urge to be
doing comic books”, began working in comics artist Bernard
Baily’s studio doing pencil clean-ups. His first comic-book work was
inking the eight-page story “Snowman”, penciled by John
Giunta, in the one-shot Tally-Ho Comics (Dec. 1944), published
by Swappers Quarterly and Almanac/Baily Publishing Company. It was
not standard practice in comic books during this period to provide
complete credits, so a comprehensive listing of Frazetta’s work is
difficult to ascertain. His next confirmed comics works are two
signed penciled-and-inked pieces in Prize Comics’ Treasure Comics
#7 (July 1946): the four-page “To William Penn founder of
Philadelphia…” and the single page “Ahoy! Enemy Ship!”,
featuring his character Capt. Kidd Jr. In a 1991 interview in The
Comics Journal
, Frazetta credited Graham Ingels as the first one
in the comic book industry to recognize his talent, and to give him
jobs at Standard Comics in 1947.

was soon drawing comic books in many genres, including Westerns,
fantasy, mystery, and historical drama. Some of his earliest work was
in funny animal comics, which he signed as “Fritz”. For
Dell’s subsidiary company, Famous Funnies, Frazetta did war and human
interest stories for Heroic Comics, as well as one pagers
extolling the virtues of prayer and the evils of drug abuse. In
comics like Personal Love and Movie Love, he did
romance and celebrity stories, including a biography of Burt

the early 1950s, he worked for EC Comics, National Comics (including
the superhero feature “Shining Knight”), Avon Comics, and
several other comic book companies. Much of his work in comic books
was done in collaboration with friend Al Williamson and occasionally
his mentor Roy G. Krenkel.

because of his work on the Buck Rogers covers for Famous Funnies,
Frazetta started working with Al Capp on Capp’s comic strip Li’l
. Frazetta was also producing his own strip, Johnny Comet
at this time, as well as assisting Dan Barry on the Flash Gordon
daily strip.

married Massachusetts native Eleanor Kelly in New York City in
November 1956.[citation needed] The two would have four
children: Frank Jr., Billy, Holly and Heidi.

1961, after nine years with Capp, Frazetta returned to comic books.
He also helped Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder on three stories of the
bawdy parody strip Little Annie Fanny in Playboy

and book covers

1964, Frazetta’s painting of Beatle Ringo Starr for a Mad
magazine ad parody caught the eye of United Artists studios. He was
approached to do the movie poster for What’s New Pussycat?,
and earned the equivalent of his yearly salary in one afternoon. He
did several other movie posters.

also produced paintings for paperback editions of adventure books.
His interpretation of Conan visually redefined the genre of sword and
sorcery, and had an enormous influence on succeeding generations of
artists. From this point on, Frazetta’s work was in great demand. His
covers were used for other paperback editions of classic Edgar Rice
Burroughs books, such as those from the Tarzan and Barsoom (John
Carter of Mars) series. He also did several pen and ink illustrations
for many of these books. His cover art only coincidentally matched
the storylines inside the books, as Frazetta once explained: “I
didn’t read any of it… I drew him my way. It was really rugged. And
it caught on. I didn’t care about what people thought. People who
bought the books never complained about it. They probably didn’t read

this time, most of Frazetta’s work was commercial in nature,
including paintings and illustrations for movie posters, book
jackets, and calendars. Primarily, these were in oil, but he also
worked with watercolor, ink, and pencil alone. Frazetta’s work in
comics during this time were cover paintings and a few comic stories
in black and white for the Warren Publishing horror and war magazines
Creepy, Eerie, Blazing Combat and Vampirella.

Frazetta secured a reputation, movie studios lured him to work on
animated movies. Most, however, would give him participation in name
only, with creative control held by others.[citation needed]
An advertisement based on his work was animated by Richard Williams
in grease pencil and paint and shown in 1978. In the early 1980s,
Frazetta worked with producer Ralph Bakshi on the feature Fire and
, released in 1983. The realism of the animation and design
replicated Frazetta’s artwork. Bakshi and Frazetta were heavily
involved in the production of the live-action sequences used for the
film’s rotoscoped animation, from casting sessions to the final
shoot. Following the release of the film, Frazetta returned to his
roots in painting and pen-and-ink illustrations.

paintings have been used by a number of recording artists as cover
art for their albums. Molly Hatchet’s first three albums feature “The
Death Dealer”, “Dark Kingdom”, and “Berserker”,
respectively. Dust’s second album, Hard Attack, features “Snow
Giants”. Nazareth used “The Brain” for its 1977 album
Expect No Mercy. The U.S. Army III Corps adopted “The
Death Dealer” as its mascot.

2009 Kirk Hammett, the lead guitarist for Metallica, bought
Frazetta’s cover artwork for the paperback reissue of Robert E.
Howard’s “Conan the Conqueror” for $1 million.

life and career

the early 1980s, Frazetta created a gallery, Frazetta’s Fantasy
Corner, on the upper floors of a former Masonic building at the
corner of South Courtland and Washington streets in East Stroudsburg,
Pennsylvania. The building also housed a Frazetta art museum that
displayed both his own work and, in a separate gallery, that of other
artists. From 1998 to 1999, Quantum Cat Entertainment published the
magazine Frank Frazetta Fantasy Illustrated, with cover art
and some illustrations by Frazetta. In his later life, Frazetta was
plagued by a variety of health problems, including a thyroid
condition that went untreated for many years. A series of strokes
left his right arm almost completely paralyzed. He taught himself to
paint and draw with his left hand. He was the subject of the 2003
feature documentary Frank Frazetta: Painting With Fire.

2009, Frazetta was living on a 67-acre (0.27 km2;
0.105 sq mi) estate in the Pocono Mountains of
Pennsylvania, with a small museum that is open to the public. On July
17, 2009, his wife and business partner, Eleanor “Ellie”
Frazetta, died after a year-long battle with cancer. He then hired
Rob Pistella and Steve Ferzoco to handle his business affairs.

after Ellie Frazetta’s death in December 2009, Frank Frazetta’s
eldest son Frank Jr. was arrested on charges of stealing $20 million
in paintings from the family museum in a fight over family fortune.
According to the police report, Frazetta Jr, with the help of two
men, broke through the museum door using a backhoe and took about 90
paintings. According to the affidavit, Frank Jr. told the responding
trooper he had permission from the owner, Frank Frazetta Sr….The
trooper called the owner, who said he had not given his son
permission to either be in the museum or remove paintings from it. At
issue was whether Frank Jr. believed he had the authority to remove
the paintings from the Frazetta museum. Frazetta Sr.’s youngest son
Bill Frazetta testified that the paintings belonged to a corporation
called Frazetta Properties LLC, of which he shared management duties
with his sisters. “I am a manager of the LLC. The art was
supposed to stay in the museum,” Bill Frazetta said. Frank Jr.
maintained that he was trying to prevent the paintings from being
sold, per the wishes of his father, who he said had given him power
of attorney over his estate. Frank Sr. said he did not understand his
son’s actions. The Frazetta family later issued a statement on April
23, 2010, that said, “all of the litigation surrounding his
family and his art has been resolved. All of Frank’s children will
now be working together as a team to promote his … collection of

Frazetta died of a stroke on May 10, 2010, in a hospital near his
residence in Florida.

painting Egyptian Queen sold for a world record $5.4 million
(£4.2m) on 16 May 2019 at a public auction of vintage comic books
and comic art held by Heritage Auctions in Chicago, Illinois.


was inducted into the comic book industry’s Will Eisner Comic Book
Hall of Fame in 1995, the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1999. and The
Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame in 1998. In 2001, he was awarded
a Life Achievement Award from the World Fantasy Convention. And in
2014, Frazetta was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame,
and in 2016 into the Album Cover Hall of Fame.


has influenced many artists within the genres of fantasy and science
fiction. Filmmaker and creator of Star Wars, George Lucas
mentions Frazetta’s work in a 1979 article by Alan Arnold stating
“I’m a fan of comic art. I collect it. …There are quite a
few [contemporary] illustrators in the science-fiction and
science-fantasy modes I like very much. I like them because their
designs and imaginations are so vivid. Illustrators like Frazetta,
Druillet and Moebius are quite sophisticated in their style”. In
2018, Los Angeles’ Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, which is scheduled
to complete construction in late 2021, announced it would display
four Frazetta originals from Lucas’ personal Frazetta collection.

Nakano, a lead artist for Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda series,
also cites Frazetta as an influence.

del Toro, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker said in a 2010 Los Angeles
article that Frazetta was nothing less than “an Olympian
artist that defined fantasy art for the 20th century.” Del Torro
went on to say “He gave the world a new pantheon of heroes,…. He
somehow created a second narrative layer for every book he ever

artist and musician Joseph Vargo cites Frazetta as a primary
influence, and his art calendars since 1998 mark Frazetta’s
birthday.[citation needed] Chris Perna, art director at Epic
Games, stated in an interview in 2011 that Frazetta was one of his
influences. Other artists influenced by Frazetta include comics
artist such as Marc Silvestri and Shelby Robertson.

Mark Seliger credits Frazetta for the inspiration of his 2000
portrait photo of Jennifer Lopez.

face and body paint of professional wrestler Kamala was copied by
artist and wrestler Jerry Lawler from a character in a Frazetta
painting.[citation needed]

early 2012, filmmaker Robert Rodriguez announced plans to remake
Bakshi and Frazetta’s film Fire and Ice. Sony Pictures
acquired the project in late 2014, with Rodriguez set to direct. In
2013 Robert Rodriguez displayed Frank Frazetta’s original artworks,
on loan from the collections of Holly, Heidi, and Bill Frazetta at
the Wizard World Comic Con in Chicago. Robert Rodriguez continued his
Frazetta artwork tour by showcasing them at the SXSW event in Austin
Texas in both 2014 and 2015.

reopened solely by Frank Jr in 2013, the East Stroudsburg Frazetta
Art Museum which houses roughly 37 original oils, as well as other
pencil, pen and ink, and watercolor works.

of 2013, Holly Frazetta’s collection was traveling throughout the
U.S. with public showings at comics conventions. She also co-founded
Frazetta Girls LLC alongside daughter Sara Frazetta in 2014. The
Frazetta Girls company operates as a web store for official Frank
Frazetta merchandise, and has a large social media presence for daily
postings of Frazetta’s work. Since 2014, Frazetta Girls has also
collaborated with modern influential brands such as Primitive
Skateboarding, Kid Robot, HUF Worldwide, and Mezco Toyz. In March
2020, Holly Frazetta announced the re-opening of the Frazetta Art
Museum location in Boca Grande, Florida by appointment only,
featuring original Conan the Barbarian and Death Dealer works.

Fantasy is a genre
of speculative fiction set in a fictional universe, often inspired by
real world myth and folklore. Its roots are in oral traditions, which
then became literature and drama. From the twentieth century it has
expanded further into various media, including film, television,
graphic novels, manga and video games.

Fantasy is distinguished
from the genres of science fiction and horror by the absence of
scientific or macabre themes respectively, though these genres
overlap. In popular culture, the fantasy genre predominantly features
settings of a medieval nature. In its broadest sense, however,
fantasy consists of works by many writers, artists, filmmakers, and
musicians from ancient myths and legends to many recent and popular


Most fantasy uses magic or other supernatural elements as a main
plot element, theme, or setting. Magic and magical creatures are
common in many of these worlds.

An identifying trait of fantasy is the author’s use of narrative
elements that do not have to rely on history or nature to be
coherent. This differs from realistic fiction in that realistic
fiction has to attend to the history and natural laws of reality,
where fantasy does not. In writing fantasy the author creates
characters, situations, and settings that are not possible in

Many fantasy authors use real-world folklore and mythology as
inspiration; and although another defining characteristic of the
fantasy genre is the inclusion of supernatural elements, such as
magic, this does not have to be the case. For instance, a narrative
that takes place in an imagined town in the northeastern United
States could be considered realistic fiction as long as the plot and
characters are consistent with the history of a region and the
natural characteristics that someone who has been to the northeastern
United States expects; however, if the narrative takes place in an
imagined town, on an imagined continent, with an imagined history and
an imagined ecosystem, the work becomes fantasy with or without
supernatural elements.[dubious – discuss]

Fantasy has often been compared to science fiction and horror
because they are the major categories of speculative fiction. Fantasy
is distinguished from science fiction by the plausibility of the
narrative elements. A science fiction narrative is unlikely, though
seemingly possible through logical scientific or technological
extrapolation, where fantasy narratives do not need to be
scientifically possible. Authors have to rely on the readers’
suspension of disbelief, an acceptance of the unbelievable or
impossible for the sake of enjoyment, in order to write effective
fantasies. Despite both genres’ heavy reliance on the supernatural,
fantasy and horror are distinguishable. Horror primarily evokes fear
through the protagonists’ weaknesses or inability to deal with the


Early history

Elements of the supernatural and the fantastic were a part of
literature from its beginning. Fantasy elements occur throughout the
ancient Akkadian Epic of Gilgamesh. The ancient Babylonian
creation epic, the Enûma Eliš, in which the god Marduk slays
the goddess Tiamat, contains the theme of a cosmic battle between
good and evil, which is characteristic of the modern fantasy genre.
Genres of romantic and fantasy literature existed in ancient Egypt.
The Tales of the Court of King Khufu, which is preserved in
the Westcar Papyrus and was probably written in the middle of the
second half of the eighteenth century BC, preserves a mixture of
stories with elements of historical fiction, fantasy, and satire.
Egyptian funerary texts preserve mythological tales, the most
significant of which are the myths of Osiris and his son Horus.

Myth with fantastic elements intended for adults were a major
genre of ancient Greek literature. The comedies of Aristophanes are
filled with fantastic elements, particularly his play The Birds,
in which an Athenian man builds a city in the clouds with the birds
and challenges Zeus’s authority. Ovid’s Metamorphoses and
Apuleius’s The Golden Ass are both works that influenced the
development of the fantasy genre by taking mythic elements and
weaving them into personal accounts. Both works involve complex
narratives in which humans beings are transformed into animals or
inanimate objects. Platonic teachings and early Christian theology
are major influences on the modern fantasy genre. Plato used
allegories to convey many of his teachings, and early Christian
writers interpreted both the Old and New Testaments as employing
parables to relay spiritual truths. This ability to find meaning in a
story that is not literally true became the foundation that allowed
the modern fantasy genre to develop.

The most well known fiction from the Islamic world was One
Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights)
, which was a compilation
of many ancient and medieval folk tales. Various characters from this
epic have become cultural icons in Western culture, such as Aladdin,
Sinbad and Ali Baba. Hindu mythology was an evolution of the earlier
Vedic mythology and had many more fantastical stories and characters,
particularly in the Indian epics. The Panchatantra (Fables
of Bidpai
), for example, used various animal fables and magical
tales to illustrate the central Indian principles of political
science. Chinese traditions have been particularly influential in the
vein of fantasy known as Chinoiserie, including such writers as
Ernest Bramah and Barry Hughart.

Beowulf is among the best known of the Nordic tales in the
English speaking world, and has had deep influence on the fantasy
genre; several fantasy works have retold the tale, such as John
Gardner’s Grendel. Norse mythology, as found in the Elder Edda
and the Younger Edda, includes such figures as Odin and his fellow
Aesir, and dwarves, elves, dragons, and giants. These elements have
been directly imported into various fantasy works.The separate
folklore of Ireland, Wales, and Scotland has sometimes been used
indiscriminately for “Celtic” fantasy, sometimes with great
effect; other writers have specified the use of a single source. The
Welsh tradition has been particularly influential, due to its
connection to King Arthur and its collection in a single work, the
epic Mabinogion.

There are many works where the boundary between fantasy and other
works is not clear; the question of whether the writers believed in
the possibilities of the marvels in A Midsummer Night’s Dream
or Sir Gawain and the Green Knight makes it difficult to
distinguish when fantasy, in its modern sense, first began.

Modern fantasy

Although pre-dated by John Ruskin’s The King of the Golden
(1841), the history of modern fantasy literature is usually
said to begin with George MacDonald, the Scottish author of such
novels as The Princess and the Goblin and Phantastes
(1858), the latter of which is widely considered to be the first
fantasy novel ever written for adults. MacDonald was a major
influence on both J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. The other major
fantasy author of this era was William Morris, an English poet who
wrote several novels in the latter part of the century, including The
Well at the World’s End

Despite MacDonald’s future influence with At the Back of the
North Wind
(1871), Morris’s popularity with his contemporaries,
and H. G. Wells’s The Wonderful Visit (1895), it was not until
the 20th century that fantasy fiction began to reach a large
audience. Lord Dunsany established the genre’s popularity in both the
novel and the short story form. H. Rider Haggard, Rudyard Kipling,
and Edgar Rice Burroughs began to write fantasy at this time. These
authors, along with Abraham Merritt, established what was known as
the “lost world” subgenre, which was the most popular form
of fantasy in the early decades of the 20th century, although several
classic children’s fantasies, such as Peter Pan and The
Wonderful Wizard of Oz
, were also published around this time.

Juvenile fantasy was considered more acceptable than fantasy
intended for adults, with the effect that writers who wished to write
fantasy had to fit their work in a work for children. Nathaniel
Hawthorne wrote fantasy in A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys,
intended for children, though works for adults only verged on
fantasy. For many years, this and successes such as Alice’s
Adventures in Wonderland
(1865), created the circular effect that
all fantasy works, even the later The Lord of the Rings, were
therefore classified as children’s literature.

Political and social trends can affect a society’s reception
towards fantasy. In the early 20th century, the New Culture
Movement’s enthusiasm for Westernization and science in China
compelled them to condemn the fantastical shenmo genre of traditional
Chinese literature. The spells and magical creatures of these novels
were viewed as superstitious and backward, products of a feudal
society hindering the modernization of China. Stories of the
supernatural continued to be denounced once the Communists rose to
power, and mainland China experienced a revival in fantasy only after
the Cultural Revolution had ended.

Fantasy became a genre of pulp magazines published in the West. In
1923, the first all-fantasy fiction magazine, Weird Tales, was
published. Many other similar magazines eventually followed,
including The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction; when it
was founded in 1949, the pulp magazine format was at the height of
its popularity, and the magazine was instrumental in bringing fantasy
fiction to a wide audience in both the U.S. and Britain. Such
magazines were also instrumental in the rise of science fiction, and
it was at this time the two genres began to be associated with each

By 1950, “sword and sorcery” fiction had begun to find a
wide audience, with the success of Robert E. Howard’s Conan the
Barbarian and Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories.
However, it was the advent of high fantasy, and most of all J. R. R.
Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, which
reached new heights of popularity in the late 1960s, that allowed
fantasy to truly enter the mainstream. Several other series, such as
C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia and Ursula K. Le Guin’s
Earthsea books, helped cement the genre’s popularity.

The popularity of the fantasy genre has continued to increase in
the 21st century, as evidenced by the best-selling status of J. K.
Rowling’s Harry Potter series and George R. R. Martin’s Song of
Ice and Fire


The term “Fantasy Art” is closely related, and is
applied primarily to recent art (typically 20th century onwards)
inspired by, or illustrating, fantasy literature. It can be
characterised by subject matter—which portrays non-realistic,
mystical, mythical or folkloric subjects or events—and style, which
is representational and naturalistic, rather than abstract—or in
the case of magazine illustrations and similar, in the style of
graphic novel art such as manga.

Several fantasy film adaptations have achieved blockbuster status,
most notably The Lord of the Rings film trilogy directed by
Peter Jackson, and the Harry Potter films, two of the
highest-grossing film series in cinematic history. Meanwhile, David
Benioff and D. B. Weiss would go on to produce the television drama
series Game of Thrones for HBO, based on the book series by
George R. R. Martin, which has gone on to achieve unprecedented
success for the fantasy genre on television.

Fantasy role-playing games cross several different media. Dungeons
& Dragons
was the first tabletop role-playing game and
remains the most successful and influential. According to a 1999
survey in the United States, 6% of 12- to 35-year-olds have played
role-playing games. Of those who play regularly, two thirds play D&D.
Products branded Dungeons & Dragons made up over fifty
percent of the RPG products sold in 2005.

The science fantasy role-playing game series Final Fantasy
has been an icon of the role-playing video game genre (as of 2012 it
was still among the top ten best-selling video game franchises). The
first collectible card game, Magic: The Gathering, has a
fantasy theme and is similarly dominant in the industry.


By theme (subgenres)

Fantasy encompasses numerous subgenres characterized by particular
themes or settings, or by an overlap with other literary genres or
forms of speculative fiction. They include the following:

  • Bangsian fantasy, interactions
    with famous historical figures in the afterlife, named for John
    Kendrick Bangs

  • Comic fantasy, humorous in tone

  • Contemporary fantasy, set in the
    real world but involving magic or other supernatural elements

  • Dark fantasy, including elements
    of horror fiction

  • Epic fantasy, see “high
    fantasy” below

  • Fables, stories with non-human
    characters, leading to “morals” or lessons

  • Fairy tales themselves, as well
    as fairytale fantasy, which draws on fairy tale themes

  • Fantastic poetry, poetry with a
    fantastic theme

  • Fantastique, French
    literary genre involving supernatural elements

  • Fantasy of manners, or
    mannerpunk, focusing on matters of social standing in the way of a
    comedy of manners

  • Gaslamp fantasy, stories in a
    Victorian or Edwardian setting, influenced by gothic fiction

  • Gods and demons fiction
    (shenmo), involving the gods and monsters of Chinese

  • “Grimdark” fiction, a
    somewhat tongue-in-cheek label for fiction with an especially
    violent tone or dystopian themes

  • Hard fantasy, whose supernatural
    aspects are intended to be internally consistent and explainable,
    named in analogy to hard science fiction

  • Heroic fantasy, concerned with
    the tales of heroes in imaginary lands

  • High fantasy or epic fantasy,
    characterized by a plot and themes of epic scale

  • Historical fantasy, historical
    fiction with fantasy elements

  • Juvenile fantasy, children’s
    literature with fantasy elements

  • Low fantasy, characterized by
    few or non-intrusive supernatural elements, often in contrast to
    high fantasy

  • Magic realism, a genre of
    literary fiction incorporating minor supernatural elements

  • Magical girl fantasy, involving
    young girls with magical powers, mainly in Japanese anime and manga

  • Paranormal romance, romantic
    fiction with fantasy elements

  • Romantic fantasy, focusing on
    romantic relationships

  • Sword and sorcery, adventures of
    sword-wielding heroes, generally more limited in scope than epic

  • Urban fantasy, set in a city

  • Weird fiction, macabre and
    unsettling stories from before the terms “fantasy” and
    “horror” were widely used; see also the more modern forms
    of slipstream fiction and the New Weird

  • Wuxia, Chinese martial-arts fiction often incorporating
    fantasy elements

By the function of the fantastic in the narrative

In her 2008 book Rhetorics of Fantasy, Farah Mendlesohn
proposes the following taxonomy of fantasy, as “determined by
the means by which the fantastic enters the narrated world”,
while noting that there are fantasies that fit none of the patterns:

  • In “portal-quest fantasy”
    or “portal fantasy”, a fantastical world is entered
    through a portal, behind which the fantastic elements remain
    contained. A portal-quest fantasy tends to be a quest-type
    narrative, whose main challenge is navigating a fantastical world.
    Well-known examples include C. S. Lewis’s novel The Lion, the
    Witch and the Wardrobe
    (1950) and L. Frank Baum’s novel The
    Wonderful Wizard of Oz

  • In “immersive fantasy”,
    the fictional world is seen as complete, its fantastic elements are
    not questioned within the context of the story, and the reader
    perceives the world through the eyes and ears of the protagonist,
    without an explanatory narrative. This narrative mode “consciously
    negates the sense of wonder” often associated with speculative
    fiction, according to Mendlesohn. She adds that “a sufficiently
    effective immersive fantasy may be indistinguishable from science
    fiction” because the fantastic “acquires a scientific
    cohesion all of its own”. This has led to disputes about how to
    classify novels such as Mary Gentle’s Ash (2000) and China
    Miéville’s Perdido Street Station (2000).

  • In “intrusion fantasy”,
    the fantastic intrudes on reality (unlike portal fantasies), and the
    protagonists’ engagement with that intrusion drives the story.
    Normally realist in style, assuming the normal world as their base,
    intrusion fantasies rely heavily on explanation and description.
    Immersive and portal fantasies may themselves host intrusions.
    Classic intrusion fantasies include Dracula by Bram Stoker
    (1897) and the works of H. P. Lovecraft.

  • In “liminal fantasy”, the fantastic enters a
    world that appears to be our own, but this is perceived as normal by
    the protagonists, although it disconcerts and estranges the reader.
    It is a relatively rare mode, and such fantasies often adopt an
    ironic, blasé tone, as opposed to the straight-faced mimesis of
    most other fantasy. Examples include Joan Aiken’s stories about the
    Armitage family, who are amazed that unicorns appear on their lawn
    on a Tuesday, rather than on a Monday.


Professionals such as publishers, editors, authors, artists, and
scholars within the fantasy genre get together yearly at the World
Fantasy Convention. The World Fantasy Awards are presented at the
convention. The first WFC was held in 1975 and it has occurred every
year since. The convention is held at a different city each year.

Additionally, many science fiction conventions, such as Florida’s
FX Show and MegaCon, cater to fantasy and horror fans. Anime
conventions, such as Ohayocon or Anime Expo frequently feature
showings of fantasy, science fantasy, and dark fantasy series and
films, such as Majutsushi Orphen (fantasy), Sailor Moon
(urban fantasy), Berserk (dark fantasy), and Spirited Away
(fantasy). Many science fiction/fantasy and anime conventions also
strongly feature or cater to one or more of the several subcultures
within the main subcultures, including the cosplay subculture (in
which people make or wear costumes based on existing or self-created
characters, sometimes also acting out skits or plays as well), the
fan fiction subculture, and the fan video or AMV subculture, as well
as the large internet subculture devoted to reading and writing prose
fiction or doujinshi in or related to those genres.

According to 2013 statistics by the fantasy publisher Tor Books,
men outnumber women by 67% to 33% among writers of historical, epic
or high fantasy. But among writers of urban fantasy or paranormal
romance, 57% are women and 43% are men.


Fantasy is studied in a number of disciplines including English
and other language studies, cultural studies, comparative literature,
history and medieval studies. For example, Tzvetan Todorov argues
that the fantastic is a liminal space. Other work makes political,
historical and literary connections between medievalism and popular

Related genres

  • Science fiction

  • Horror

  • Superhero fiction

  • Supernatural fiction

  • Science fantasy

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