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Congress of the Animals
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Congress of the Animals (Frank)

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  475 ratings  ·  55 reviews
Readers of the "Frank" stories know that The Unifactor is in control of everything that happens to the characters that abide there, and that however extreme the experiences they undergo may be, in the end nothing really changes. That goes for treble for Frank himself, who is kept in a state of total ineducability by the unseen forces of that haunted realm. And so the quest ...more
Hardcover, 104 pages
Published June 15th 2011 by Fantagraphics (first published January 1st 2011)
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Eddie Watkins
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Mythopoeic. This term must be used when discussing Jim Woodring’s work. Behind the intensely subjective vision and surrealistic extravagances is a heraclitean bedrock of received and created myths. Take Congress of the Animals. What we have here is nothing less than a cosmological creation tale told from a macro- and microcosmic viewpoint. It can be read as the history of a person (more than likely autobiographically Woodringian) and the history of us all (or at least those of us op
Sam Quixote
Frank's house is destroyed after a freak polo accident, causing him to get a job at a factory to pay the costs of rebuilding it. But that wouldn't make an interesting book would it? Frank escapes and sets out on a journey of exploration of the wonderfully weird world of the Unifactor and falls in love.

Jim Woodring's follow up to the successful "Weathercraft" is another wordless, charmingly illustrated, surreal trip of a comic book. Everyone seems to be a strange monster and the further Frank de
David Schaafsma
A pair with another book, Fran, and this is a Frank book. Others have written more detailed reviews but this is surreally inventive, possibly hallucinogenic, mythical, magical, somewhat disturbing, impressively rendered, wordless. I have been revisiting Michael DeForge's works this past week and thought I would read Congress and Fran. Crazy books, and yet there are human dimensions we see in them we don't otherwise see as much in earlier works.
Mike Carey
I'm normally a little wary of totally silent comic books. There are very few people who can pull off that trick of creating a compelling and engaging story with no words at all. Jim Woodring is one of those people, and his protagonist Frank (an anthropomorphic creature who looks a little like a cat) is a wonderful creation. Frank lives in a world of inexplicable perils and arbitrary disasters, and he's largely unable to impose himself on events. He just moves from one crisis to the next, resigne ...more
Derek Royal
This is a great book, and one I've had for awhile and has been sitting on my "to read" stack. Now that Fran has just been released, I thought it the perfect opportunity to finally get to Congress of the Animals. This book would have been enjoyable on its own, certainly, but within the context of Fran, it probably reads even better. (I wouldn't know how it read by itself, without immediately preceding Fran, since I didn't read it when it first came out.) Now I'm sorry I didn't pick this one up ea ...more
Un comic sin diálogos ni textos, aparentemente silente, porque la ausencia de palabras y el estilo gráfico de J.W. detonan cientos de sonidos. Viscosidades sonoras, así lo sentí, como el sonido que produce el pisar un pulpo con unas botas pesadas o el de un pulpo cuando lo lanzas contra una pared, pensé mucho en pulpos, aunque nunca he visto uno. También hay sonidos mas corrientes, cuando Frank dibuja se siente el trazo del lápiz y se escucha un alarido ensordecedor cuando su chica le ha dejado. ...more
Do you like weirdness? (note: very positive connotation in my lexicon) Do you enjoy comics? Do you confidently process non-linguistic visual information? Did you answer "yes" to at least 2 of the first 3 questions? Then absorb this book with your eyes cuz you can't read it if it ain't got no words.

Ah, but Congress of the Animals is a drastic departure from The Frank Book's wordlessness. Woodring either agreed to let the publisher combine words with his pictures or he provided words for h
Nate D
Not quite as good as the shorter stories, I think, which tend to be more focused and elemental, somehow both clearer and less clear than this one, to me, but hard not to be amazed by regardless.
First-rate art, with Woodring's usual dream-like scenes and wordless storytelling. Could Bill Frisell please write a score for this book?
Callie Rose Tyler
What did I just 'read'. This is a wordless book and takes about 10-15 minutes to get through depending on how long it takes you to 'admire' the artwork, I personally would have preferred it in color. Then towards the middle this got weird, very very weird.


I enjoyed the whimsy.

But some parts just left me scratching my head.

Overall, it was interesting simply because of the strangeness. I thought I might be missing something so I read about the book...nope what you see is what you get.
Absolutely Amazing and Beautiful in every respect...the closer you look - the more there is to see. Beyond words.
Garrett Zecker
Apr 06, 2015 Garrett Zecker rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Jon Bartlett, John Pappas
Recommended to Garrett by: Gil Roth
A beautiful postmodern examination of existence in a psychedelic universe that often makes no sense, but one we must battle through indefinitely.

This gorgeous book, expertly and beautifully printed by Fantagraphic, features Frank in his most baffling adventure through the Unifactor that showcases a realistic life experience in the most unrealistic circumstances. There is love, deities, the most mundane and the most adventurous self, the futility of modern life in the face of materialism and comf
Abe Something
Possibly the most accessible of Woodring's work. This does not mean interpreting the text is easier, but following the sequential narrative isn't too challenging. I'd like to reread "Weathercraft" because I've either gotten more accustomed to reading Woodring's work, or he his storytelling has improved. One of us grew, likely both of us grew.

I don't intend to say anything about the story. It would be unfair to everyone involved. Let's just say that should you read "Congress of Animals" read it
First Second Books
Slap Happy
I loved the fact that this was a wordless comic. Often, I will read comics and think about how much better off it would have been if the author had not stuck his superfulous word graffiti on the page. Writer/illustrators in particular: the one-man shows. They are illustrators, first and foremost. I wish they would trust in their abilities as visual storytellers but more often than not we associate words with depth and so they compromise their strengths on the altar of words yet again.

And you mi
Geoff Sebesta
The rich strangeness of previous works has been replaced with a well-worked out artistic aesthetic that's used to say nothing much. Boy loses house, boy gets job, boy goes on quest, boy meets girl. That's the whole book. Maybe if I had invested a lot of time in Woodring and Frank I would enjoy this lightweight excursion, but all I'm seeing something that used to be dangerous.
Si Barron
Can't really claim to have read this as it consists entirely of pictures. I'd never experienced Jim Woodrings crazy cat 'Frank' before, but I saw a repro of a short piece in some book and I thought: This is the kind of weirdness I like; so I went out and got this one.

There's no rhyme or reason in Frank's world: weirdness happens and he copes as best he can.

In this episode Frank's house is swallowed and he gets into debt building another which causes him to flee his homeland.

The entities he meet
Could this be an upbeat Frank book? Maybe.

Funny and possibly more direct than other outings, I found this book read like a 'what-if' comic: satisfying and fun in and of itself, for itself, but somewhat 'light'. I'm still unsure why I feel that way, or, indeed, if I'll feel that way on subsequent readings.

That said, this effort contains one of my favorite Woodring sequences ever: the horrific faceless naked men in their obscene sculpture garden made me lose my shit. I read it several times. I w
As with last year's Weathercraft, Jim Woodring has delivered another book-length novel set in his imaginary world of the Unifactor, and this time around, the focus is all on his best-known character, the anthropomorphic Frank. Once again, the narrative lacks any dialogue, but certainly does not lack for mystery, adventure, and visual splendor. And better yet, Frank finds a love interest this time around! Woodring's work is so unique that it makes no sense to try and articulate exactly what happe ...more
Oh wow Congress of the Animals, now I need to read Fran next
brilliantly disturbing
I miss Manhog.
David Townsend
Silent and trippy
Gareth Schweitzer
This is what I call a graphic novel! No words! Yes!
A silent comic.

I have just discovered Woodring and have so far read this and two other works. Congress of the Animals is my favorite so far.

I am quite at a loss as to how to describe what populates the pages within. Surreal, uncanny, terrifying, goofy - these are all true, but only scratch the surface.

If I'm going to recommend a Woodring to anyone who has never before experienced his craft, this would be the one.
Peter Landis
I have never felt a deep connection with Jim Woodring, but I have always greatly respected what he does. I am most fascinated by his drawing style, which is what keeps me looking.

The story (in typical Woodring fashion) has more of the substance of a pliable dream: having fascinating moments interspersed midst awkward pauses.

Story: 2 stars
Art: 3 stars
Words fail to describe the beauty, the originality, or the strangeness of these wonderful, surreal, meta-poems of life!

Even though I love the color in some of his earlier works,
these last two books from Jim Woodring
(Weathercraft, and Congress of the Animals)
are probably his strongest works yet.

These are high works of art!
Morality play meets Salvador Dali in this graphic novel sans text. Filling in for the silence can be easy at times; the facial expressions and gestures go a long way to help us follow the action and the attitudes. At other times, the metaphors are a dense forest with strange and unfriendly beasts.
It's Woodring, as sublime as always. You always want to get comfortable in his world but you're sort of afraid to. I don't know where he gets this stuff, but I hope he doesn't stop. Also, it's nice when he takes a short break from being bizarre to be sweet/touching.
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