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Book Review < Back

The Frank Book

Credits: Written and Illustrated by Jim Woodring
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books

The Frank Book combines all of the Frank strips in one place, including the previously released Frank vols. 1 and 2, as well as over 100 pages of uncollected material!

Commentary

With THE FRANK BOOK, Jim Woodring does something almost alchemical. These wordless, universally accessible cartoons transmit strange moods and evoke uneasy tones so brilliantly, so gorgeously, they'll leave you boggled and astounded by their beauty and horror.

I've read these FRANK stories dozens of times, and yet I'm still not sure what they're about. FRANK is a little... cat-mole... that lives a life propelled by pure curiosity. He lives silently in a fantastic world populated by surly and fearful manhogs, dogs that look like birdhouses with tails, moon-headed devils, and what I think might be souls. They interact. Sometimes they interact in black and white, sometimes in color, and never in anything less than a way entirely new and striking. From first to last, FRANK will leave you shaking your head because you didn't know that comics could do that.

FRANK is like the children's book you always thought Thomas Pynchon would write. FRANK is the best, and worst, book you could ever read to children; so you should read it to them and see what happens. FRANK is a masterwork of the medium, deceptively simple and infinitely complex. FRANK is a window into Jim Woodring's head, and it's a pretty great place to hang out. Scott McCloud has said Woodring may be "the most important cartoonist of his generation," and I can get behind that. FRANK wants to play with you.

FRANK exists silently. FRANK exists in a world unlike anywhere ever. FRANK will do your head in. FRANK teaches you to read it as you go. FRANK watches you while you sleep. FRANK is so beautifully rendered that you'll wonder if you're actually seeing it properly. FRANK will give you the willies in places you didn't even know you had.

-- Matt Fraction

 
Matt Fraction splits his time between motion graphics and design house MK12, writing comics, and reading comics. He is the author of the graphic novels The Annotated Mantooth and Last of the Independents, both available from AiT/Planet Lar. He can be found on the web at mattfraction.com. His wife is hot.

 


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