Oli Frey

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For other people of the same name, see Oliver Frey (disambiguation).

Oliver "Oli" Frey is a book and magazine artist, cartoonist and illustrator.


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.[1] During his high school years in Switzerland, Frey followed an American correspondence course called The Famous Artists.[2] After spending six months in the Swiss army, and dropping out of Berne University, Frey moved to Britain once again and started a two-year course at the London Film School during which he supported himself with freelance work, including illustrating the War Picture Library comic books. As a child Frey loved The Eagle comic, and as an adult was able to fulfil his childhood dream[1] by working on the revived version, drawing the strip Dan Dare. Also during the 1970s, he illustrated for IPC Media's Look and Learn magazine, including the strip The Trigan Empire.

In 1978 he was commissioned to create the opening for the movie Superman. His rough for the cover was accepted on the spot and used as it was in the pre-title sequence, along with his finished version of the strip."[3]

Through the late 1970s and the 1980s Frey was a prolific creator of gay erotic art including a series of a big, muscular bad-boy hero named "Rogue" for Him Magazine, and has produced, edited and illustrated several issues of Man-to-Man Magazine. Frey was co-owner with partner Roger Kean of HIM magazine and the other gay titles in the HIM stable. Frey illustrated twelve of the HIM Libraries, the first two, which were written by Roger Kean, the remainder were written by various authors who submitted manuscripts. The company was raided by the police in 1981, and all of its stock was destroyed under laws that were current at that time.

Russell T. Davies, writer of the British television series Queer as Folk and Queer as Folk 2 praised Frey’s serial The Street[4] as an important influence on his ground-breaking gay TV drama.[5]

When his partner Roger Kean and his brother Franco founded the computer magazine CRASH in 1983, Oli became the magazine's illustrator.[6] He also illustrated CRASH's sister magazines Zzap!64, Amtix and The Games Machine. The comic strip Terminal Man was serialized in both CRASH and Zzap!64, and was published as a complete story in a large format book Terminal Man in 1988.[7]

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.[5][8] Frey and Kean formed Reckless Books in Ludlow, Shrophire, UK specializing in young adult action adventure, historical, and gay adult reading.[9]

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 [10] and over12 under the pseudonym Zack.[11] Classic video gaming magazine Retro Gamer has featured Frey's artwork on its cover. During July and August 2014 his gay erotic work was included in an exhibition at the British Library and was interviewed at the Library by novelist and reporter Rupert Smith at an event on July 3, 2014.[12]

Frey is also selling online signed prints, paintings and taking private commissions.[13]


Frey and Kean have been together since the 1970s and formalized their partnership with a British Civil Union in 2006.[5][14]


Frey is also known as Zack.[15][16] Under the pseudonym Zack, Oliver Frey creates gay illustrations some of which are sold online.[17] Other illustrations are used in his gay erotic novels in collaboration with his partner Roger Kean[16][18] published under the pen name Zack including Boys of Vice City, Boys of Disco City, Boys of Two Cities, Boy of the West End, Bike Boy, Bike Boy Rides Again, Hot for Boys: The Sexy Adventures of Rouge[19][20] Zack is also the author of Zack the Art.[20]

Selected Bibliography[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
  • Zack (pseudonym of Oliver Frey) Zack The Art (Bruno Gmunder Verlag, 2012) ISBN 9783867874328
  • Zack (pseudonym of Oliver Frey) Bike Boy (Bruno Gmünder Group, 2010) ISBN 9783867871587
  • Zack (pseudonym of Oliver Frey) Hot For Boys: The Sexy Adventures Of Rogue (Bruno Gmünder Group, 2011) ISBN 9783867871013
  • Zack (pseudonym of Oliver Frey) Bike Boy Rides Again (Bruno Gmünder Group, 2012) ISBN 9783867871761
  • Zack (pseudonym of Oliver Frey) Boys of Vice City (The Adventures of Gil Graham & Mike Smith #1) (Bruno Gmünder Group, 2011) ISBN 9783867871204



External links[edit]