Friday, February 17, 2012

Cavegirl Art 16: Cavegirls by Roy Krenkel

From the Ace Books reprint of The Cave Girl (1962)

We featured some of Roy Krenkel's superb pen and ink drawings over on our Venus Observations blog.  Amongst his other work were some very fine cavegirls; principally to illustrate Edgar Rice Burroughs' novel The Cave Girl.

The novel was published in 1925 but it consisted of two stories entitled The Cave Girl and The Cave Man whch first appeared in serialised form in The All Story Magazine in 1913 and 1917 respectively.

Despite its name, the book is set in the present (i.e.e the second decade of the twentieth century) and tells the story of Waldo Emerson Smith-Jones who is washed overboard from a ship in the South Seas.  Landing on an island he is confonted by primitive ape men who attack him but also discovers Nadara the cave girl.

Sketch for the cover of The Cave Girl

Much complicated action follows as Waldo remains with Nadara, leaves her, goes back to her, and then communicates with his parents via a visiting ship whilst choosing to remain on the island.  In the end Nadara is revealed as the daughter of modern day nobility whose parents were also shipwrecked on the island but died.  It all ends happily. 

Finished artwork for cover

Krenkel illustrated the book for a 1962 edition by Ace Books and his Adara is a typically curvy girl who looks rather more like a girl from the pre-First World War period than a 1960's pin up.  Krenkel, we have to say, was a better line artist than a painter and his cover for The Cave Girl is rather lacking in the strong composition some of his other colour work for Ace Book's sixties Burroughs reprints showed.

The same can't be said for his pen and ink work which was exceptional, however.  Krenkel was a significant influence on the young Frank Frazetta.  The two met around 1950 and they worked together at EC Comics.

Interior illustration for The Cave Girl

Krenkel produced other prehistoric themed work, including some with a suitably cavegirl take on another Burroughs character, La of Opar from his Tarzan books.

 La of Opar

Although La is dressed in a nice fur bikini her jewellery and metal spearhead show her to be  a lost world cavegirl rather than a prehistoric one.


These pterodactyl-like creatures are the Thipdars from another Burroughs book, At the Earth's Core.  In this case, however, our busty protagonist has a proper stone-tipped spear.

This final picture, in a cleaner style, shows an even larger lady than usual astride a small brontosaur.  A large amount of character is expressed in a few lines!

Roy Krenkel (1918-1983)

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