Frank Cirocco is an American artist known widely for his work on the Alien Legion sci-fi series from Marvel/Epic in the mid 1980s. Frank got an early start in the video game industry, producing artwork for arcade cabinets, box packaging, manual illustrations, and promotional material. He would be one of the earliest and most prolific third-party artists to produce box art for the NES, illustrating 16 separate boxes.
Frank Cirocco's NES box art catalog:
- Tag Team Wrestling (Data East | October, 1986)
- BurgerTime (Data East | May, 1987)
- Athena (SNK | June, 1987)
- Ring King (Data East | September, 1987)
- Alpha Mission (SNK | October, 1987)
- Side Pocket (Data East | November, 1987)
- Karnov (Data East | January, 1988)
- Gun.Smoke (variant art with silhouette) (Capcom | March, 1988)
- Ikari Warriors II: Victory Road (SNK | April, 1988)
- Cobra Command (Data East | November, 1988)
- Bionic Commando (Data East | December, 1988)
- Rampage (Data East | December, 1988)
- Baseball Stars (SNK | July, 1989)
- Castlequest (Nexoft | September, 1989)
- 8 Eyes (Taxan | January 1990)
- Burai Fighter (Taxan | March, 1990)
Frank's extensive work for NES coincided with an equally prolific (though less thoroughly documented) output of arcade art for marquees, bezels, side panels, and flyers. Many of Frank’s most iconic arcade illustrations were for Capcom: Bionic Commando (1987), Ghouls N Ghosts (1988), Final Fight (1989), and Mercs (1990).
Data East and SNK machines were also among those blessed with Frank’s art. Notable examples include Bad Dudes vs. Ninja Dragon (1988) and Midnight Resistance (1989) for Data East and Prisoners of War (1988) and Ikari Warriors III: The Rescue (1989) for SNK. An earlier arcade installment in the Ikari Warriors series, Victory Road (aka Ikari Warriors II), for Tradewest may be among Frank’s earliest arcade work. He had a deep history with the Ikari Warriors series, further illustrating separate and distinct box art for the Commodore 64 releases of Victory Road as well as the original Ikari Warriors. For Technos, Frank illustrated the arcade art for Double Dragon II: The Revenge (1988), sporting the same scene as the NES title of the same name.
While many of Frank painted pieces are conspicuously adorned with a rectangular paste-up of his “FC” initials within an outlined border, his trademark signature is noticeably absent from nearly all of his arcade work, perhaps a consequence of the production process for coloring black-and-white art line art.
Frank Cirocco’s earliest game work appears to date to 1981, with Frank illustrating a comic for Yar’s Revenge packed-in with the Atari 2600 game. Forbidden Quest (1983) is also among Frank’s early game work; Frank illustrated 3 of 5 accompanying graphic art prints containing clues to be deduced and applied to solving the game. The same year, Frank illustrated the box art for Space Knights for Atari 400 and 800 Home Computers, a game that also presented itself as a book, including a complete science fiction novel with 38 Frank Cirocco illustrations.
Additional titles in Frank's box art catalog include: H.E.R.O. (Activision, 1984); Commando (Data East, 1988); and a trio of Sega Genesis titles all published by Renovation, Final Zone (1990), Arrow Flash (1990), and Gain Ground (1991).
Non-box art endeavors include work for GamePro magazine (Mutant League Football cards) and interior manual art for the NES title The Adventures of Rad Gravity (Activision, 1990) and for Might and Magic II: Gates to Another World (1991) and Mutant League Football (1993) from Electronic Arts for the Sega Genesis. In 1994, Frank art directed and co-created the Sega CD game Cadillacs and Dinosaurs: The Second Cataclysm, including creating narrative artwork for the game.