Monday, November 27, 2006

Book-A-Day #134 (11/27): RGK: The Art of Roy G. Krenkel edited by J. David Spurlock and Barry Klugerman

Before this book, I knew of Krenkel just as "that guy who painted like Frazetta before Frazetta." Now, I think of him as "that guy who was completely unprofessional." Both are not entirely true, but what the hell...

I should explain: Krenkel was older than Frazetta, and broke into book publishing (doing Edgar Rice Burroughs books that Ace's Don Wollheim thought were in the public domain) slightly before Frazetta. Also, they were friends, and part of the same circle. And they were both, initially, very influenced by the early 20th century illustrator J. Allen St. John.

Second: several of the essays in this book mention that Krenkel had no phone, was hard to reach, was very reluctant to part with his paintings, and had to be coaxed into accepting commissions at all. If that all doesn't add up to "unprofessional" for a cover illustrator, I don't know what does.

There's a lot of good art in this book -- Krenkel's line work is particularly interesting -- but it's not organized in any way, and there's no way to trace his work over time. The various essays included are also very scattershot, and don't really explain Krenkel or his art well. I'm afraid that this book was created for people who already know everything about Krenkel, and just want a nice book collecting his best stuff. I hope all of them have already bought it; the rest of us would have liked a book that actually presented Krenkel and said something about why we should care about him.


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1 comment:

Bill Hillman said...

You might enjoy perusing our Edgar Rice Burroughs Tribute sites . . . and our many features on J. Allen St. John:
Bill Hillman
Editor and Webmaster for the
Official Edgar Rice Burroughs Tribute Sites.
Weekly Webzine:
www.ERBzine.com/mag
www.Tarzan.com
www.Tarzan.org
www.JohnColemanBurroughs.com
www.BurroughsBibliophiles.com
www.ERBzine.com

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