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.