Frank Thorne, the legendary comic book artist perhaps best known for his work on Marvel Comics’ Red Sonja, passed away yesterday, March 7, 2021, the same day as his wife, Marilyn. He was 90 years old. Cause of death is currently unknown.
Numerous industry professionals relayed news of Thorne’s passing on Facebook, including comic book writer Paul Levitz. “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,” Levitz wrote. Born on June 16, 1930,
Thorne began his comic book career in 1948, penciling romance titles for the now-defunct Standard Comics. He went on to work on a number of newspaper strips and comic books, including Perry Mason, Flash Gordon and The Green Hornet. Starting with 1976’s Marvel Feature #2, Thorne started drawing Red Sonja, a character created by Roy Thomas and Barry Smith for Marvel Comics’ Conan the Barbarian series (who was also partially based on Robert E. Howard’s characters Red Sonya and Dark Agnes). He succeeded Dick Giordano, who drew the character in Marvel Feature #1.
Thorne went on to draw Red Sonja throughout most of her first eponymous solo series at Marvel, which ran for a total of 15 issues from January 1977 to May 1979. The artist then went on to create several erotic fantasy comics, writing and illustrating “Moonshine McJugs” for Playboy, “Lann” for Heavy Metal and “Danger Rangerette” for National Lampoon. He also created the miniseries Ribit for Comico, as well as a number of graphic novels for Fantagraphics Books, including 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.
Bleeding Fool Media extends our most sincere condolences to Mr. Thorne’s family, loved ones, friends and fans.