The Frazetta connection

[If you need an introduction to the toy-line before reading this, then see What are the Galaxy Warriors?]

Influences, World Building, and Frazetta:
The most apparent influence for Galaxy Warriors (GW) is the Masters of the Universe (MOTU) toy-line produced by Mattel. MOTU can be accurately described as the "economic inspiration" that made Sungold actually produce an action figure line. Sungold wanted to "cash-in" on MOTU's huge profits by making similar muscular figures with the same scale and look of He-man and other MOTU figures. Sungold hoped that by copying the appearance of MOTU figures, consumers would purchase and use the cheaper Galaxy Warriors alongside their "real" MOTU figures. However, despite their obvious similarities, Galaxy Warriors differentiates itself from its MOTU "roots" through its design influences and through the fact that Galaxy Warriors creates a fantasy atmosphere that, in its simplicity, is more barbaric and potentially violent than the vastly detailed world of the Masters of the Universe.
      Many of the design elements for GW, aside from the He-Man body used by all the figures, were inspired not by MOTU but by the paintings of Frank Frazetta, the undisputed Grand Master of fantasy art. Frazetta's barbarians are muscular, fierce, and partially or completely naked. Most usually wear only a loin cloth and boots. The re-use of the same body for all the GW figures was no doubt based on the economic cost of designing individual bodies for characters, but the muscular He-Man copied body of the GW is perfect for a barbaric Frazetta-like toy-line. 
Left to Right: Galaxy Warrior Triton, He-Man from Masters of the Universe.
Frazetta's famous painting of Conan titled, Barbarian.
Frazetta's painting, Disagreement.
     Some might consider it just a happy coincidence that economic constraints helped keep the entire line of GW figures "simple" in attire and thus, somewhat Frazetta-like. But, from some basic examination, it is easy to see that Frazetta's work had a definite influence on the Galaxy Warriors. Some of the Frazetta influence is direct and obvious and some of it is more subtle. 
     On this page I will outline and show how Frazetta's paintings influenced the design of some elements of the Galaxy Warriors toy-line. It should also be observed that GW action figures, through their appearance and basic accessories, propel us into a world of barbaric fantasy adventure. They inhabit a brutal planet, called Ferror, where only the strong survive. This is exactly the type of world that, years before this line was created, was brought to life in the vibrant paintings of Frank Frazetta. The toy-line's connection to a Frazetta-esque world is only made stronger by the use of Frazetta's own art for packaging, figure designs and accessories. 

The Logo:
The first Frazetta image can be found on the Galaxy Warriors logo. This dramatically posed barbarian was taken from the 1966 Frazetta painting Against the Gods (Above left). This painting was the cover to the 1967 novel Thongor Against the Gods, written by Linn Carter. [Painting information courtesy of ICON: A Retrospective by Frank Frazetta, edited by Cathy and Arnie Fenner, 2003]
       The cropped form used for the Galaxy Warriors logo has been given an axe instead of a sword. Minor differences in how shadows highlight the figure make me believe that the logo image was not a direct photocopy of the Frazetta image, but it was instead a "knockoff" painting done to copy Frazetta's work as closely as possible. Whether it was a touched-up photocopy or a "new" painting, it is undeniable that the Galaxy Warrior logo comes from this Frazetta painting.

Box Art:

The next example of Frazetta art comes from Frazetta's 1971 masterpiece The Destroyer (Above). This painting is one of Frazetta's famous Conan covers, and it was first used as the cover to Conan the Buccaneer published by Lancer Books in 1971. [Painting information courtesy of ICON: A Retrospective by Frank Frazetta, edited by Cathy and Arnie Fenner, 2003]

The image above is a closeup of Frazetta's Conan as he hacks through a pile of enemies. Below is the Galaxy Warriors image found on the front of the Beast of Ferror box that the Galaxy Warrior beasts came packaged in.

For the Galaxy Warriors version of Frazetta's Conan, an artist has removed the barbarian's long hair, given him a new helmet, and changed the axe he wields. His enemies have also been replaced with a large rat. However, these changes cannot hide the original source of this image. I will return to The Destroyer later, as it contains more GW design influences that are less obvious at first glance.
     For now there is another element from the above image that needs to be analysed, and that is the T-Rex on the right side of the image. This T-Rex comes from Frazetta's 1969 painting Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Below is detail of Frazetta's T-Rex, followed once again by the Galaxy Warriors image found on the GW beasts boxes.

For the Galaxy Warriors box the T-Rex is most likely a repainted copy. The GW T-Rex is at a slightly different angle and has red eyes. Frazetta's Tyrannosaurus Rex painting was also used as the design influence for the Dinosaur (below) in the GW toy-line.

The Dinosaur figure is in the same pose as the dinosaur in the painting; left leg forward, mouth slightly open, hands with three fingers.

Blister card art:
The blister card that individual figures came in also includes Frazetta "inspired" art (below).

Galaxy Warrior on blister card.
Blister card image detail.
Frazetta's painting
The blister card art is taken from Frazetta's painting (above). For the GW art the ball and chain was replaced with an axe and the helmet was changed.

After analyzing the artwork used for packaging we can be certain that the Galaxy Warriors' artists had examples of Frazetta's paintings. Copying Frazetta's work must have been a deliberate decission, since every piece of artwork used for the original Galaxy Warriors packaging was taken from Frazetta paintings. So, if his paintings were the basis of all the GW artwork, then it is reasonable to assume that Frazetta's artwork may have been influential in the designs of other aspects of the GW toy-line.
     It is very possible, and in some cases a near certainty, that some of the characters for the toy-line were influenced by certain Frazetta images. Keep in mind that we have already determined that Sungold obviously had seen and had copies of Frazetta artwork.

     The first intriguing possibility is the design for Huk (pictured below). There are two Frazetta paintings that can reasonably account for the design of this bearded barbarian. Both are shown below.

The strongest connection to Huk comes from the 1967 painting The Snow Giants (below). This is one of Frazetta's Conan paintings, and a detail of one of the giants reveals a face that with near certainty we can say was the main influence behind the design of Huk. The bearded face provides an obvious connection between the image and the figure, but it is also important to look closely at the helmet. Huk's helmet is identical to the helmet in the painting.

Frazetta's Snow Giants, 1967.

Detail from Snow Giants. Is this image by Frazetta the inspiration for the design of Huk?

The Galaxy Warrior Huk, with the same helmet and face found in Frazetta's painting.
Is there any proof that Sungold was even aware of Frazetta's Snow Giants? As it turns out, years later Sungold would re-release the Galaxy Warriors under the name Freedom Fighters. The image below shows the carded Huk figure released as a Freedom Fighter. The image is very blurry, but it is still obvious that the blister card painting is a copy of Frazetta's Snow Giants, specifically, the giant that is the inspiration for the figure Huk. So, did Sungold know about Frazetta's painting? You bet they did. [I am still searching for a better picture of the Freedom Fighters blister card. I will update this image if I can find one.]

Although we can be nearly certain that Huk was based on the figure in Snow Giants, one other Frazetta painting also provides a very Huk-like figure, minus the helmet. The painting below is called Bloodstone.

A close-up (below) of this figure helps us to see the connection to Huk's visage. This painting may have another connection to the Galaxy Warriors, and I will discuss it again later in this essay.

Moving past Huk, we will now look at what may have been an influence for the creation of the figure Spikes (below).

The design of Spikes is very interesting because he is wearing a Greek-style helmet, making him a very classical gladiator-type character while the rest of the line can be seen as fantasy barbarians and half-human creatures. I believe the influence for Spikes's design comes from the Frazetta painting, Atlantis (below).

Detail of figure from Frazetta's Atlantis, possibly the inspiration behind Spikes.

The Galaxy Warrior called Spikes.
Due to the large amount of Frazetta influence we have already seen in the GW toy-line, there is a good chance that the painting Atlantis inspired the Galaxy Warrior Spikes. The toy designers shortened the helmet crest on the action figure, but they kept the three tiered levels and sweeping rear neck guard seen in Frazetta's painting. Spikes's head is even cloaked in shadows providing no facial details, just like the statue in the painting.

The design of the weapons and shields carried by the Galaxy Warriors also comes from Frazetta paintings.
We will begin by looking at the two axes. First up is the Execution style axe that was made famous in Frazetta's Death Dealer (below).

Frazetta's Death Dealer.

Axe detail.

The Galaxy Warriors' "Death Dealer" axe.

The second Galaxy Warrior axe can be found most notably in Frazetta's Apparition (below).

Axe detail.

On the Galaxy Warrior axe (above) even small details like the point between the axe blades and the narrow band under the axe head are carefully copied from the painting.
    The swords in the GW line come from Frazetta art too. The GW long sword comes from the painting Bloodstone (below) that we looked at earlier.

long sword detail from Bloodstone.
Galaxy Warriors long sword.
As we can once again see, although there are minor differences, the GW long sword design is very similar to the sword design in the painting.

Inspiration for the curved sword can be found in many Frazetta paintings. 

The Destroyer.

The curved sword can even be found in the foreground of The Destroyer (detail below), which we already know the Galaxy Warrior designers used for box art.

Frazetta's The Destroyer is also our starting point for discussing the Galaxy Warriors shield designs. On the left hand side of the painting we can see a character whose shield has a bird motif on it (detail below).

One Galaxy Warrior shield also sports a bird motif.

There is shield in a Frazetta painting with the exact same bird image found on the GW shield, but it is interesting to note that a bird motif on a shield shows up in several Frazetta paintings, a few of which are shown below. The GW designers may not have made an exact copy of one of Frazetta's bird shields, but the idea for using a bird may have come from seeing his shield decorations.

Indirect influences:
The obvious direct Frazetta influences used for parts of the toy-line should make us consider possible indirect, or more subtle, influences. The Beasts of Ferror are an example of items whose Frazetta influences may not be immediately obvious. We have already seen that the Dinosaur was directly influenced by Frazetta's art. So, if the Dinosaur was taken from his art then why not the other three beasts? Maybe Frazetta's art didn't directly effect the design of the other beasts, but it could have inspired Sungold to actually include those particular beasts in the toy-line.
      I believe the Horse can be associated with Frazetta's Death Dealer paintings, particularly Death Dealer IV (see below). The Death Dealer rides a black horse with red eyes. Yes, the Galaxy Warrior Horse has a white face instead of white front legs, but it is very similar. 
Death Dealer IV.

Detail of Galaxy Warrior Horse with its red eyes.

The inclusion of the Horse cannot be attributed to copying the Master's of the Universe, because MOTU did not have a horse in its line. Galaxy Warriors was also not copying the She-Ra toy-line which included many horses, because the first She-Ra figures weren't released until 1985, two years after the GW Horse was released.
    The Tiger may also have been inspired by Frazetta art, but its hard to point to a single painting and definitively say it was the source inspiration. Frazetta painted lots of big cats and it is possible that the idea to include a tiger in the toy-line came from the fact that there were lots of cats in Frazetta's body of work. The closest resemblance the GW Tiger has to one particular image comes from the painting Flying Reptiles (below).

The cat in this painting is crouched low ready to pounce and snarling ferociously. It is interesting to note that the GW Tiger is in a pose that is very similar to the cat in this painting; right paw forward, left paw tucked back, low to the ground and snarling. We already know that the Dinosaur's pose was taken from a painting, and I think the odds are pretty good that the Tiger's pose was taken from Frazetta's Flying Reptiles.

Galaxy Warrior Tiger.
I believe there is a chance that the idea to produce a Mammoth came from seeing some mammoth's in Frazetta's paintings, most notably The Mammoth (below).

Once again we should note that MOTU did not include a Mammoth in its toy-line, so Galaxy Warriors could not have been simply copying Mattel's idea.

 It is a fact that artwork for the Galaxy Warriors was taken from paintings by Frank Frazetta. And since Sungold obviously had its hands on images of Frazetta paintings, it is reasonable to assume that they may have used these paintings for ideas on weapons and even character designs. The fact that some of the toy designs do mirror characters and elements from Frazetta paintings indicates that Sungold did indeed consciously use, without permission, Frazetta's art for inspiration.