The art of Oliver Frey

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It’s inevitable when writing about gay art and artists that Oliver Frey’s name will turn up eventually, so here’s the requisite posting. Frey is often better known in gay circles under the nom de plume he used in the 1980s, “Zack”, when he was a very prolific illustrator and comic artist for Britain’s small number of gay mags. As Oliver Frey he was already well-known as an accomplished professional illustrator who was for a time an artist for Look and Learn‘s long-running science fiction adventure strip The Trigan Empire. That professional work makes him probably the most widely-seen of all gay porn artists simply because he drew some Superman pages which are briefly seen at the beginning of the 1978 Superman.

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His career as a comic artist honed his skill at dealing with figures and telling a story which is one of the reasons his gay strips are still highly valued today. Those strips tend to be completely pornographic right from the start so I’ll spare the delicate sensibilities of some of the readers here and link you to some collections of his Zack work instead. In the meantime, I’d love to know where the picture of the boy with the sword (above) comes from originally. It’s a lot more finished than his Zack drawings and is paired on this page with a similar picture of serpent-twined tribal youths which hints at some kind of Burroughs-esque Wild Boys scenario. If anyone knows the answer, please leave a comment. As it is, it makes a good addition to the Men with swords archive, as does the piece of fluff below.

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Update: As noted in the comments, original art by Oliver Frey/Zack is now available for purchase here.

Oliver Frey links:
Zack Art | official site.
Arrumako’s Gay Blog | A substantial collection of complete strips and sundry illustrations.
Daddy’s Here | More single illustrations and some magazine scans including an interview with the artist.
Gay Erotic Art Links | Another page with further links elsewhere.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The gay artists archive
The men with swords archive

21 thoughts on “The art of Oliver Frey”

  1. The two paintings you refer to were indeed influenced by Burroughs’ work. They are ‘private’ works, i.e. not commissioned, acrylic on board, and hang here at home.

  2. Thanks for commenting, Oliver. Great to have the Burroughs influence confirmed, I’d have loved to have seen more work in that direction.

  3. Hi Michael. I’ve no idea whether any art is for sale. I presume if Mr Frey looks in here again he may be able to tell us. There are plenty of dealers selling comic art, of course, but I’ve never seen any selling hardcore gay material, their erotic sales are always straight pieces.

    The Adonis Art Gallery in London may know about past sales of Zack work.

  4. I was flicking through Arrumako’s Gay Blog when I reached ‘message to the emperor’. Those hairbands and tunics were *very* familiar. I just checked, and sure enough, Oliver Frey is the illustrator to ‘The Midas touch’ and ‘The monster in the labyrinth’ from ‘Storyteller’ (80’s partwork tapes). I always fancied his depiction of Theseus, even as a little girl (7 or so) and I must have stared at his Dionysus for hours, mesmerised. I did wonder if there was anything else going on in those illustrations, even when I was little…

  5. Hi guys. As Michael, i would like to buy some poster of some colored pictures Mr Frey drawn, cause i’am a big fan of these. I think he really captured very well the gorgeous side of the young guys in the 80’s. With some relation slave-master like, these gay stories was absolutly very exciting and a real pleasure to read them with one hand :-)
    I hope in a near future, we can found some books of quality with all the gay works of Mr Frey, like there is for Tom of Finland or other gay artist.

    So please, mr Frey, i hope you are working on that project because i’am sure that i’am not the only one who want to buy it !

    Best regards.

  6. Hi guys.
    Sadly there most likely won’t be a collected gay Oliver Frey book. It would be expensive to produce, and I doubt the sales would stack up. As to posters… nothing definite, either. Sorry

  7. Hi,
    if anyone is interested, a trip to oliverfreyart.com will reveal other areas of illustration I’ve been involved in. More is on offer at illustrationart.com
    Any gay overtones are only natural…

  8. So sad to hear that there won’t be any book on the horizon :( I only have fragmented folders of various images that I have been able to scrape together and a small colour strip of ‘Message to the Emperor’ that I was lucky enough to find reproduced in Buddy magazine a few years back. I would have loved a book gathering Oliver Frey’s gay erotic art and comic work. Even some 8X10 repros to purchase would be something…

    Fantastic artist, absolutely inspiring, with a detailed and highly erotic style.

  9. I’ve just signed a deal with Berlin publisher Bruno Gmünder for a book which collects four of my Zack comic strips (Bike Boy, Tender Bait, Teasy Meat and Slaves to Lust). Due this autumn in full colour… more info and details as and when I get them!

  10. Mr. Frey,
    I will definitely buy your book when it is released. Your work meant a lot to this bisexual guy when he was struggling with his feelings as a young man. It’s still the best gay erotica ever done.

    Wayne

  11. I hope I can meet other guys here in the spirit of true and genuine friendship that harbours no borders. My first time here and I am so very impressed by what I see here.

  12. This is an amazing site! I stumbled across it by mistake and am so grateful for having discovered it. For guys like myself who must remain in the dark , I very much appreciate all that guys like yourself do in reaching out to us who would not otherwise have access to any of this art in all of its beauty. God willing, hopefully someday I will be the proud owner of some of these remarkable works. Here’s HOPING!

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