Krenkel, Roy G

Tagged: Comics | Art

(1918-1983) American illustrator. A lifelong resident of New York, Krenkel studied at the School of Visual Arts run by Burne Hogarth (1911-1996) after World War Two and started his career at EC Comics, where he became friends with Frank Frazetta. A great deal of his art, heavily influenced by the work of J Allen St John and also by the Australian artist Norman Lindsay (1879-1969), was published in the Sword-and-Sorcery Fanzine Amra (> George H Scithers), where it came to the attention of Donald A Wollheim of Ace Books. Wollheim was planning to reprint many novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and he thought that Krenkel's style would be ideal for their covers and interior art. Krenkel went on to do about 20 Burroughs covers for Ace, and while his spirited portrayals of loinclothed barbarians confronting strange creatures may seem routine to contemporary audiences, they were strikingly innovative in their day, and proved popular enough to earn Krenkel the 1963 Hugo Award as Best Professional Artist. Also, when Krenkel could not meet all of his Burroughs deadlines, he passed some work on to his friend Frazetta, thus launching that artist's sf career.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Krenkel painted a number of covers for works of Heroic Fantasy published by Ace Books, Lancer Books and DAW Books, including novels by Otis Adelbert Kline, Lin Carter, and Philip José Farmer; he also did interior work for sf magazines and some celebrated covers and interior illustrations for Robert E Howard collections published by Donald M Grant. Though his covers were good, he felt most at home with his pen-and-ink work, his first love, which is both delicate and spirited. Krenkel's career was limited due to his slow, methodical approach to art and his dislike for the constraints of commissioned work; as Jane Frank reports, he continued to prefer the freedom – and obscurity – of doing art for Amra and other fanzines, even though there was no pay involved. Since his death in 1983, however, two compilations of Krenkel's artwork have been published, and he will no doubt be long remembered for his Burroughs illustrations if for nothing else. [JG/PN/GW]

Roy Gerald Krenkel Jr

born New York: 11 July 1918

died 24 February 1983

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