Death Dealer, more than an icon

The character, created in 1973 by Frank Frazetta, is not such a popular story. Only avid readers of Fantasy literature are familiar with this brave and magical warrior.

The story of the Death Dealer is pretty strange and it seems to have emerged from a Fantasy story. Initially, it is just a painting that the great American artist Frank Frazetta (considered the father of Fantasy illustration of the 20th century) did in 1973 for the cover of the debut album of the famous Molly Hatchet rock band. But soon after, as in the most incredible stories, the shape metaphorically comes to life…

Caesar, Caesar Tattoo, New York, USA
Caesar, Caesar Tattoo, New York, USA

Obsessed by this figure, Frazetta isn’t able to sleep for several days and he thinks the figure is trying to tell him something. He asks a friend to write the story of the character; he wasn’t allowed to make up anything. The friend is the writer and journalist James Silke who does exactly what Frazetta says and in no time at all he wrote four books that describe the life and the actions of this character: ‘Prisoner Of the Horned Helmet’, ‘Lords Of Destruction’, ‘Tooth And Claw’ and ‘Plague Of Knives’.

The adventures take place in a faraway time, before the fall of Atlantis in a flat land which will then become the Mediterranean Sea. Death Dealer is in reality the suffering hero Gath de Baal. Gath must dare to confront the Kitzaak lances. Gath must dice with the gods to save the peaceful People of the Forest they would give him extraordinary strength and power, and the price he must pay is to don the Horned Helmet and become death made flesh.

Only the innocent touch of the maiden Robin Lakehair could free him from its murderous power, even temporarily. Now Tiyy, Nymph Queen of Pryam, seeks the godlike powers that she can gain only from Robin Lakehair‘s death. To save Robin’s life, Gath must don the helmet again and confront the demons Tiyy has summoned from the primordial depths-demons that emerge from mankind’s deepest fears.

The violent world of Death Dealer inspired several other fantasy novels and films in the past 30 years, starting from Conan The Barber who, according to many, is the translation of the myth of the same Death Dealer. Let’s see it like a warrior of the pre-Atlantis period who gains his space in collective fantasy along with his inseparable lance used to kill all enemies.

This is what Frank Frazetta said about the stories of the character he created and his world: «Only the sun and moon can remember now how it looked then. Lush, rich, tangled. Savage. Shadowed. A world populated by demons and serpents, by wild men and proud, sensual women. A world of mystery. Magic. Music. Murder.». From the 80’s onward Death Dealer fan clubs were created everywhere and in the past few years some illustrators and film directors started publishing other books with new stories about this sublime character. And this means only one thing: immortality.