Let’s Be Frank

You woke up one morning, and headed out the door for a nice walk.  It turned out to be a pretty average day: you dodged the sinister plots of an emaciated blue devil, rode for miles inside the husk of a spirit creature, and left an offering in the tomb of your ancestors.

If all of this happened to you recently, you might be Frank, an anthropomorphic character invented by cartoonist Jim Woodring.

Jim Cover #2Jim Woodring, Cover for Jim Vol. 2, 1993

Woodring’s Frank stories are uncanny in their dream-likeness.  Almost wordless, and nearly alien, the stories follow Frank and his friends on their bizarre and often deeply unsettling adventures through a twisted landscape.

The Frank Book4Jim Woodring, The Frank Book, 2003

The Frank Book1Jim Woodring, The Frank Book, 2003

This world (known as the Unifactor) is full of wonder and terror, and certain symbols reappear throughout the stories.  There is  dream-logic at work here that makes itself more apparent as time goes on.  The crazy thing is, the stories really make sense.  It’s tough to explain, but I find myself nodding my head at the end of each episode:

“Yup.  The man-pig died alone and unloved.  Seems right.”

The Frank Book3Jim Woodring, The Frank Book, 2003

The Frank Book5Jim Woodring, The Frank Book, 2003

Woodring manages to tap the deepest human fears and hopes, on a primordial level.  He’s released three graphic novels, Congress of the Animals, Weathercraft, and the recently-released Fran, as well as divers other smaller books.  Check ’em out.

The Frank Book2Jim Woodring, The Frank Book, 2003

Worse Than UselessJim Woodring, Worse Than Useless, 2003

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