Frank Thorne, best known for his work on Marvel Comics Red Sonja series from the late 70’s, passed away yesterday on March, 8th at the age of 90 years old.
Thorne, who was born on June 16, 1930, started his career as a comic book artist in 1948, penciling romance titles for the now-defunct Standard Comics. He would go on to draw newspaper strips and comic books, including Perry Mason, Flash Gordon, and The Green Hornet.
Thorne started drawing Red Sonja, the Roy Thomas and Barry Smith creation, in 1976’s Marvel Feature #2, following Dick Giordano, who drew Marvel Feature #1.
Red Sonja, Originally created for Conan the Barbarian series and based on Robert E. Howard’s characters Red Sonya and Dark Agnes, would star in her own series from January 1977 to May 1979 Thorne handling art chores on all 15 issues. After his tenure on Red Sonja, Thorne would go on to create and illustrate erotic fantasy comics, writing and illustrating for publications such as Playboy (Moonshine McJugs), Heavy Metal (Lann) for National Lampoon (Danger Rangerette). He also created the Comico miniseries Ribit and several graphic novels for Fantagraphics Books, such as Ghita of Alizarr, The Iron Devil, and The Devil’s Angel.
Thorne’s work earned him multiple honors, including a National Cartoonists Society award in 1963, a San Diego Inkpot Award in 1978, and a Playboy editorial award. News of Thorne’s death was met by friends in the industry such as Paul Levitz, who had this to say on his Facebook page:
“Bidding farewell to Frank Thorne, an artist who progressively developed his style into a more and more personal expression. I had the pleasure of working with Frank in his later DC days when he did some magnificent work for the mystery titles and stepped in to pencil for Jim Aparo on The Spectre, matching his storytelling approach carefully to Jim’s.
But Frank had the best time of his career on Marvel’s Red Sonja, who he made both powerful and sexy. He was probably the first working mainstream [artist] to revel in [cosplay], becoming the Wizard who acted with Wendy Pini’s Sonja at show after show. A man of talent, charm, and great wit. Good journey onward, Frank, you will be long remembered.”
Fellow artist Chuck Patton would later announce that Thorne’s wife, Marilyn, passed away as well — seemingly a few hours after him.
The causes of Thorne’s death were not available at this time.
REST IN POWER
Legendary Marvel Artist Frank Thorne Passes at Age 90
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