(1918-1983) Fantasy artist and illustrator, claimed as an influence by many of today's leading fantasy artists, including Reed Crandall, Frank Frazetta, Jeff Jones, Mike Kaluta, William Stout and Al Williamson. Some of his book Illustrations change hands for considerable sums.
RGK's abundant creativity resulted in comparatively few finished artworks by his own hand. He preferred to work in collaboration with other artists, providing sketches and idea drawings on which they based their paintings. The most notable beneficiary was Frazetta, for whom RGK drew compositional layouts on which Frazetta based some of his early paintings for the covers of a series of reprints of Edgar Rice Burroughs's Tarzan and Robert E Howard's Conan.
His early influences were sf pulps, the writings of H P Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith and the art of Virgil Finlay, Hal Foster, Norman Lindsay, J Allen St John (> Tarzan), Joseph Clement Coll and Czech Dinosaur artist Zdeneč Burian. He studied for a year under the anatomist George Bridgeman. After service in WWII, he attended the Cartoonists' and Illustrators' School of Burne Hogarth, where he met other young artists who would, like him, subsequently go on to provide artwork for EC Comics. His only solo strip for EC was Time to Leave (Incredible Science Fantasy 1955), but he collaborated with Williamson and Frazetta on EC classics like Food for Thought, I, Rocket, 50 Girls 50 and many others. In 1951-1958 RGK collaborated with Williamson on a total of 23 strips for EC, Atlas, ACG and Famous Funnies; he was also a guiding creative force on the early issues of Creepy and Eerie, producing story concepts, cover design sketches and Monster Gallery features.
In addition to Comics work RGK painted memorable covers and internal illustrations for editions of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E Howard, as well as for many pulp magazines and historical novels. Most of his later work appeared in fanzines like Amra, Erbdom and Squa Tront. Other books he illustrated include Great Cities of the Ancient World (1972) by L Sprague de Camp. Portfolios include Roy G. Krenkel: Portfolio #1 (graph 1983) and Seven Wonders of the Ancient World (graph 1975). [RT/DR]
further reading: Cities and Scenes from the Ancient World (graph 1974) contains a detailed description of RGK's working methods; Swordsmen and Saurians (graph 1989) reprints many of his illustrations from fanzines, pulps and the Burroughs books; RGK's composition sketches for Warren covers were reprinted in Squa Tront #7 (1977); RGK's Burroughs covers were reprinted in the Russ Cochran hardback collections of EC Comics (graph colls 1985-1986).
Roy Gerald Krenkel