Oliver Frey

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Oliver Frey
Born (1948-06-30) June 30, 1948 (age 69)
Zurich, Switzerland
Other names Zack
Alma mater Famous Artists School
Known for Science-fiction illustration, erotic comics
Spouse(s) Roger Kean
Website oliverfreyart.com

Oliver "Oli" Frey (born 30 June 1948 in Zurich, Switzerland) is an artist. A resident of Britain, he is known for his book and magazine illustrations – especially for British computer magazines of the 1980s – and erotic illustrations and erotic comics (under the pen name Zack)[1] – especially in British gay male porn magazines of the 1970s and 1980s.

Early life[edit]

Frey was born in Zurich, Switzerland on 30 June 1948. He grew up fluent in Italian and German. His family moved to Britain in 1956 but subsequently returned to Switzerland.[2] During his high school years in Switzerland, Frey enrolled in the American Famous Artists School correspondence course.[3]


After spending six months in the Swiss army and dropping out of Berne University, Frey moved back to Britain and started a two-year course at the London Film School, during which he supported himself with freelance work, including illustrating War Picture Library comic books. As a child Frey had loved The Eagle comics magazine,[2] and as an adult worked on the 1980s revival, drawing the strip Dan Dare.[4] Also during the 1970s, he illustrated for IPC Media's Look and Learn magazine, including the strip The Trigan Empire. He was commissioned to create 1930s-era comic book art for the pre-title sequence of the 1978 movie Superman.[5]

cover of Bike Boy by Zack

Through the late 1970s and the 1980s Frey was a prolific creator of gay erotic art, usually published under the pen name Zack. These included a comics series featuring a big, muscular bad-boy hero named "Rogue" for HIM Magazine, a monthly gay male pornography publication which he and his partner Roger Kean owned, along with related titles. He also produced, edited, and illustrated several issues of Man-to-Man Magazine. Frey illustrated twelve of the HIM Libraries, the first two written by Kean, the remainder by various authors who submitted manuscripts. The company was raided by the police in 1981, and all of its stock was destroyed under then-current laws. His gay pornographic work was also featured on front covers and in volumes of the Meatmen series of gay erotic comics. Russell T. Davies, writer of the British television series Queer as Folk, praised Frey's serial "The Street"[6] as an important influence on his ground-breaking gay TV drama.[7]

cover of The Fantasy Art of Oliver Frey

When Roger Kean and his brother Franco founded the computer magazine CRASH in 1983, Frey became the magazine's illustrator.[8] He went on to illustrate for CRASH's sister magazines Zzap!64, Amtix, and The Games Machine. He illustrated the comic strip "Terminal Man", written by Kelvin Gosnell, which was serialized in both CRASH and Zzap!64 in 1984, and published as a complete story in a large format book in 1988.[9]

During the late 90s, Frey worked as publishing director for Thalamus Publishing in Shropshire, which specialized in illustrated historical reference titles. Thalamus Publishing went into receivership in August 2009.[10][7] Frey and Kean formed Reckless Books in Ludlow, specializing in young adult action-adventure, historical, and gay adult reading.[11]

Several of Frey’s painted front covers for Fleetway and IPC War Picture Libraries were reproduced from the original art in two of David Roach’s books, Aaargh! It’s War in 2007, and The Art of War in 2008. Frey is the illustrator of over 16 books under the name Oliver Frey[12] and over 12 under the pseudonym Zack.[13] Classic video gaming magazine Retro Gamer has featured Frey's artwork on its cover. In July and August 2014 his gay erotic work was included in an exhibition at the British Library, and he was interviewed at the Library by novelist and reporter Rupert Smith at an event on 3 July 2014.[14]

Frey sells signed prints and paintings, and takes private commissions.[15]


Frey lives in the United Kingdom. He and Roger Kean have been a couple since the 1970s and formalized their partnership with a British civil union in 2006.[16][7]

Selected bibliography[edit]

As Oliver Frey[edit]

  • Dan Dare:
    • "Return of the Mekon" (in Eagle #17-18, 1982)
    • "Belendotor" (in Eagle #84-83, 1983)
  • Roger Kean: The Fantasy Art of Oliver Frey (Thalamus Publishing, 2006), ISBN 9781902886060
  • Oliver Frey, Artist The Terminal Man (Reckless Books, 2012) ISBN 9781479333691
  • Roger Kean, Author; Oliver Frey, Illustrator Living in the Ancient World Set (Chelsea House Publications. 2008) ISBN 9780816063369
  • Oliver Frey, Illustrator Exciting Stories Of Fantasy And The Future (Hamlyn 1982) ISBN 9780600366775
  • Roger Kean, Author; Oliver Frey, Illustrator The Complete Chronicle Of The Emperors Of Rome (Thalamus Publishing, 2005) ISBN 9781902886053
  • Chris Wilkins and Roger Kean, Authors, Oliver Frey, Illustrator Ocean, The History (Apple 2014)
  • Roger Kean, Author; Oliver Frey, Illustrator Forgotten power: Byzantium: Bulwark of Christianity (Reckless Books, 2013) ISBN 9781301533398

As Zack[edit]

  • Zack: The Art (Bruno Gmunder Verlag, 2012) ISBN 9783867874328
  • Bike Boy (Bruno Gmünder Group, 2010) ISBN 9783867871587
  • Hot For Boys: The Sexy Adventures Of Rogue (Bruno Gmünder Group, 2011) ISBN 9783867871013
  • Bike Boy Rides Again (Bruno Gmünder Group, 2012) ISBN 9783867871761
  • Boys of Vice City (The Adventures of Gil Graham & Mike Smith #1) (Bruno Gmünder Group, 2011) ISBN 9783867871204
  • Boys of Disco City
  • Boys of Two Cities
  • Boys of the West End


  1. ^ "Zack Art". zack-art.com. Retrieved 2017-02-17. 
  2. ^ a b Roger Kean: The Fantasy Art of Oliver Frey (Thalamus Publishing, 2006), ISBN 978-1-902886-06-0
  3. ^ "Fantasy Art of Oliver Frey - Crash, Zzap, Horror". www.oliverfreyart.com. Retrieved 2017-02-17. 
  4. ^ "BARNEY -- droid zone". www.2000ad.org. Retrieved 2017-08-04. 
  5. ^ "Fantasy Art of Oliver Frey - Crash, Zzap, Horror". www.oliverfreyart.com. Retrieved 2017-02-17. 
  6. ^ Sue (2008-05-11). "Fair View: Sunday Comics: Oliver Frey - The Street". Fair View. Retrieved 2017-02-17. 
  7. ^ a b c "Oliver Frey | PAUL GRAVETT". www.paulgravett.com. Retrieved 2017-02-09. 
  8. ^ Softy. "The Nonowt eZine X - The History of CRASH - #01". www.nonowt.com. Retrieved 2017-02-17. 
  9. ^ "The Terminal Man". Goodreads. Retrieved 2017-02-17. 
  10. ^ "thalamus publishing | Heritage Key". 2012-02-01. Archived from the original on 1 February 2012. Retrieved 2017-02-17. 
  11. ^ "Reckless Books". www.recklessbooks.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-02-17. 
  12. ^ "Books by Oliver Frey (Author of Ocean The History)". www.goodreads.com. Retrieved 2017-02-17. 
  13. ^ "Zack". Goodreads. Retrieved 2017-02-17. 
  14. ^ "What's On Home | Exhibitions & Events London | The British Library". The British Library. Retrieved 2017-02-17. 
  15. ^ "Fantasy Art of Oliver Frey - Crash, Zzap, Horror". www.oliverfreyart.com. Retrieved 2017-02-17. 
  16. ^ "Complaint Department - POST COMPLAINTS HERE (showing 5,901-5,950 of 7,103)". www.goodreads.com. Retrieved 2017-02-17.