1989: Swordsmen and Saurians

Swordsmen and Saurians (1989) by Roy G. Krenkel.

Up until this point, Eclipse had almost exclusively published comics books, and virtually all of them either in standard US format or in album format. This would change over the next few years, what with Eclipse starting to publish trading cards and other weird stuff, but also a small line of art books.

This is an oversized, wide book, printed well on nice paper, and with one single colour piece included.

The book was designed by Krenkel and Marian Meschkow, which might explain why Eclipse never published anything that looked quite like it before or after.

William Stout writes a nice but perhaps too short introduction. We’re given a few personal reminisces, but not really much to explain what Krenkel did, or what his place in the world was, or what they work collected here is supposed to be.

But it’s extremely pretty.

We’re given no context to the work, or any explanation of whether the work is new or old, or what this work is. It’s arranged by subject, so we get a section on dinosaurs, and then a section on sabertooth cats, and so so.

But it soon becomes clear that this book is simply a collection of random sketches and studies that Krenkel must have used in preparation for his published work. If he’s known for anything (and I don’t really think he is) these days, it’s for doing painted covers for science fiction/fantasy books and magazines, and I’m assuming that that’s the end point for these exercises.

Don’t get me wrong: These are lovely drawings. And perhaps saying “A collection of random works in progress” on the cover wouldn’t be a good way to sell this collection.

And there’s some funny bits in here, too.

Steve Ringgenberg (or Ringennberg as the indicia would have it) does provide some historical context in the afterword, which is nice, because I’ve forgotten all I ever knew about Krenkel. This turns out to be from the article in The Comics Journal #80 that they published after Krenkel died in 1983.

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