The Frank Book - Jim Woodring

Frank is an anthropomorphic cat/beaver/mouse thing, who has adventures in a psychedelic universe populated with very bizarre characters. I've seen Frank books in stores but never really looked at one until now. The Frank Book is a huge collection, one for the coffee table, and is a bit overwhelming. Just to give you a sample: Pupshaw is Frank's devoted pet, something like a mailbox with legs and a tail; Manhog is the villain, a cross between a man and a hog who often gets horribly abused (or killed), only to appear again in another story for more; Jerry Chickens are shaped like regular solids (cubes, cones, spheres); and Jivas are symmetrical, ornately decorated flying things (something like a vase with a tail).

The stories are pretty much wordless: sometimes there are signs or short letters, but there is no dialogue. Characters point and gesture and wink, and it's a bit like watching a disturbing silent movie, moreso because most of the stories are in a black and white style that evokes woodcuts and etchings. Some of the stories are cheerful, and some are disgusting, but most are just sort of unsettling. Woodring doesn't tell stories that have easy interpretations or meanings; Frank just has adventures, and then it ends, and then he has another.

It's imaginative and beautifully illustrated, and very very weird. I'm not sure if I like it or not.

Fed to jonathan's brain | June 05, 2006 | Comments (0)


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