Saturday, October 15, 2011

Frazetta And Krenkel



There is a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding about the relationship between Frazetta and Roy Krenkel. What is completely clear is that Frank thought the world of Roy. They were very dear friends. Roy reciprocated their unconditional friendship. The dynamic of the "fleagles" looked like this: Frank was very close with Roy, Nick Meglin, and Angelo Torres. He was less close with Al Williamson. There are many reasons for this. Most people think that Frank and Al were always extremely close. Not true. They were hang-around buddies, but Frank felt closest to Roy. Al was very best friends with Roy. The basic unease between Frank and Al can be traced to the very early 50’s. It’s a long story and not something I want to pursue right now. I heard both sides of the story from Frank and Al. They agreed on the facts and the results.

Many people think that Frank was influenced by Roy’s artwork. Not true at all. I asked Frank about this on several occasions.

Frank said clearly: "Roy was my friend, real good friends. I’d do anything for him. We had great times. He was always showing me books that he picked up. He loved all the artists. He copied all of them. He would copy and copy, sketch and sketch. I yelled at him. Do your own work! Forget those guys! Show them all what YOU have. He lacked confidence. He was insecure. I don’t know why. We gave up trying to figure him out. We tried to set him up on dates. Many times. Nice girls, no dogs. He never once accepted. Not once. Ellie used to sit on his lap and flirt with him. He turned redder than a beet. I think he died a virgin. Everyone was getting laid but Roy. He just didn’t care. He loved drawing those fat women of his. It drove us crazy. We started to draw them too. I don’t know where THAT came from.

My approach to art was different. His style had no affect on me. Nothing. I did my own art. I enjoyed making it up. I tried to help him. I couldn’t teach him. I tried. We had a sketchbook where I would draw a page, and then Roy would draw a page. We would compare them and talk about the differences. Remember that sketch sheet I gave you where Roy and I drew some cats. We even talked about how the whiskers should be added to the face. We both loved cats, big cats.

He liked to collect things, to find new artists. Every week he showed me someone new. He proclaimed him the greatest this or that. Al would get wrapped up in all that too. They drove me nuts. I looked at it and saw nothing. I could do better and did. We did help one another with jobs. We all needed dough and we all helped out one another. It was fun. All night sessions of drawing and joking. Good laughs, good times.”

The above drawing is from the great 1954 sketchbook. Frank is doing a spoof on Roy’s “fatties”. The lively and idiosyncratic animation of Roy’s figure is pure Frazetta. Tremendous energy and ribald subject-matter fill the page. Frank was having some fun here. And Frank manages to misspell Roy’s name TWICE!!!

© 2011 Dr. Dave Winiewicz

All art © the Frazetta Estate and cannot be used without permission.

12 comments:

  1. Boy, she seems to have an Al Capp face, doesn't she? LOL!!!

    What's the story with the second photo, Dave?

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  2. Yes, indeed!

    The second photo is the study to the Ace paperback cover of PRINCE OF PERIL. It is one of the finest RGK originals in existence. It is signed under the mat.

    DAVE

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  3. Hokey-smokes, Bullwinkle! I never knew this blog-site existed! I am immediately going to spread the word to about 50 OTHERS who are also(!) nuts about Frazetta! Amazingly, I NEVER grow tired about hearing about Frank and his compatriots (Willi, Woody and Roy)...the GREATEST Comic Artists of ALL TIME! PERIOD! And Great ILLUSTRATORS to boot!

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  4. Thank you for the enthusiasm!

    DAVE

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  5. I just discovered your blog. Really great stories! I met Ellie while at their Museum. I was with my sister and 2 classmates from the Joe Kubert school. She was closing up shop and asked if we wanted to meet Frank! It felt like we were about to meet God himself. Both of them were super super nice! He did like my camera! He said he has one of the same...haha. Then he showed me his camera collection. What a great guy. I was at the museum again a day or two before the horrible incident. It was such bad news. Ellie must be sooooo pissed off! Anyway, great blog Doc Dave. Thanks!

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  6. fantastic...

    this has changed my life. I read more of your blog and found your essay on the 'frazetta femaie'.
    i couldn't agree more. i'm no expert, but I've seen vargas and elvgren. frazetta is in a league of his own.

    i'm a modern guy, and most of his art happened before I existed, but I have to say. I prefer his
    rendition of the ideal woman over the modern by quite a large margin :-)

    thanks for posting that story and some of his works. he is now one of my all time favorite artists.


    cheers,

    dru

    Thanks Dru! I appreciate the comments.

    DAVE

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  7. Hi Dave

    Although I don't have the issue readily at hand, I do remember there being a SQUA TRONT fanzine that features Roy's cover ideas/designs for the early Warren mags, CREEPY and EERIE. Some of Frazetta's (Warren) paintings appear to be based on Roy's imagery.

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  8. Terry:

    There is no question about that. They helped one another in jobs. Frank asked Roy for designs so that Roy could get some money. Frank was helping Roy out. Frank thought the designs were good enough to use.

    I would still not count that as a case of Krenkel art INFLUENCING Frazetta. It was a job that needed to get done and Frank helped out a poverty-stricken friend. Roy ALWAYS needed money.

    Thanks!

    DAVE

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  9. My father loved Roy and would go out of his way for him. I don't believe Roy had a drivers license either. Dad always heard Roy say, "There goes another Krenkle girl, "! as he pointed to a fatter woman carrying groceries across the street somewhere in Brooklyn. Dad would make some kind of facial smirk at me and Roy, shake his head and say, " Ok Roy, then its about time you take one out on a date!"I know my father had his manly, physical side, but deap down, there was as much of a Roy Krenkle sense of humor side to him as the other. Roy also loved kids, he would be at our home and never avoided us or the neighbors pesty little brats.. He cattered to us as if we were his own children. We loved him dearly and mom and dad never spoke a bad word about him in my presence or even under their breathe. I miss all of them dearly.

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  10. Roy was completely unique. He was as sincere and honest as anyone you would ever meet. I know Frank loved him like a brother. I miss him deeply.
    Thank you for the comments.

    DAVE

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  11. By the way, you are right. Frank was VERY blunt in his opinions about everybody, but he NEVER spoke a bad word to me about Roy. He only had praise for him.

    DAVE

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  12. Roy always did sound like a great guy, I'm sure when I say that I wish I had met him and counted him among my friends, I would not be the only one to have felt this way.

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