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The Frank Book (Frank)

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  1,665 Ratings  ·  102 Reviews
-Introduction by Francis Ford Coppola
- Major review attention
- Advance reading copies
- Trade advertising
- Website promotion
- Gift book appeal
Hardcover, 351 pages
Published August 1st 2003 by Fantagraphics Books (first published June 2003)
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Jan Philipzig
With Frank, Jim Woodring conjures up an alternate universe that brings to mind the idiosyncratic style of early cartoons (Felix the Cat) and newspaper strips (Little Nemo; Krazy Kat), the freewheeling trippiness of underground comix (Vaughn Bode; Robert Crumb), as well as the darker, more doubtful and angsty postmodern narratives developed by the likes of David Lynch or Charles Burns. It’s an enigmatic and downright crazy place, this alternate universe – disturbing, gorgeous and funny all at onc ...more
Sam Quixote
Jim Woodring’s Frank is a generic cat-like anthropomorph who lives in a fantastical land called the Unifactor. His adventures are silent and generally black and white though there are several comics in this edition that are full colour.

The stories in The Frank Book are easy to follow in a technical sense because Woodring is an excellent cartoonist who knows how to tell a story sequentially. His art too is superb and enormously creative.

But content-wise? Woodring could take LSD on a trip - he co
Eddie Watkins
May 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: manga-comics
Throwback looking comics (60's trippiness & innocence pureed w/ menace) yet timeless for the open mind on edge dipping into platters of happiness with one eye on the vicious squigglies and massive sky stomps. Most of Woodring's comics are set in the shapeshifting inner void of dark dream shudderings (candy littered) reachable only by the innocence of cat hybrids. Frank is a furry Virgil with little or no brain but big smart eyes tethered to a sunshine heart.
Oct 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
My desert island book. Possibly even my dessert island book. It's that, good.

My copy is signed, too, which is like having The Bible signed by Peter, Paul and Mary. So, that's something.

Seriously, tho... this is my Favorite Book of All Time. Go to and buy a signed copy ... if it doesn't become your Favorite Book of All Time just give it to me and I'll pay you what you spent on it.*

*offer not valid outside** the 48 contiguous United States

**or, in
May 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommended to Andrew by:
Shelves: c-comics, read-own-d
I guess I'm just not a fan of "surrealism", whatever that word means. I enjoyed the more character driven and slap-stick elements of this book and I loved the art in places, especially the colored sections, but as a whole this was a pretty exhausting read and I didn't get any new insight into life from it.
Aug 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Much as I liked Seeing Things, reading something with a narrative, like The Frank Book, puts Woodring's abilities in a whole new light. It's part Carl Barks and part Fritz the Cat, only without that icky feeling the latter gives me. Frank is a creature of pure id, moving in a world that is held together by visual themes. Clues are all around, but how much they mean is hard to tell. Danger? A sign of something that needs to be done? It's easy to understand why Frank himself frequently becomes fru ...more
Jul 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art, favorites, comics
Is this philosophy or madness? I was collecting them separately when the hardcover came out. I bought it and immediately read it from cover to cover. It’s savage and beautiful.

It’s what I love most about comics.
I've been following the work of Jim Woodring, in particular the Frank stories, since the late nineties. He is one of the few artists able to translate the rules and revelations of dreaming into something cohesive and beautiful. Many try it, but most fail. Everyone finds their own dreams fascinating, but listening to someone else recount the 'crazy nightmare' they had last night is always a mind-numbingly dull experience. Even the best writers struggle and fail when it comes to incorporating drea ...more
David Schaafsma
Surreal, hallucinogenic, bizarre, disturbing, humorous...there are aspects of the art that owe something to early days of comics. . . so at a glance you might be inclined to think of this as a tribute to early comics. . . but at closer examination, there is this twisted nightmare and playful silliness and deeper rendering of human fears and curiosity and longing at the heart of Woodring's project. I think most people will find this world mostly disturbing, nightmarish.

I really do find this guy
zaCk S
Jan 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comics
i want to like this collection so much. i really do. the character designs are out of this world. the surrealism is fun. and it's just gross enough to make me laugh. i just can't do it. there's an afterword in this volume that probably would have better served as a foreword. i understand why it's not at the beginning though - the artist would obviously rather have readers approach Frank knowing as little as possible. and i can understand that. the problem i have with it in this case is the tone ...more
Javier Alaniz
Dec 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, indie-comics
When nerds like myself insist that Comic Books are "capital A" Art, there is no better example they could give you than Jim Woodring's "The Frank Book." Through the simplest of designs, Woodring creates disarmingly insightful stories of emotion and humanity, despite the complete absence of "human" characters or dialogue. The characters and stories in "The Frank Book" are timeless and ambiguous metaphors for the human condition, or for God, or for something. something important. I think... And wh ...more
Oct 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
i once had a copy of woodring's "frank" comic in the back seat of my car. a friend of mine picked it up and started reading it. after a few minutes he put it down and said, "man, this shit freaks me out." i guess i could tell you how great i think he is but...seriously, woodring's drawings are beautiful, and there is no one like him.
Jul 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think I first read a Frank comic when I was about twelve, and it probably took me about twenty years to get over being grossed out by it enough to assign it to my students. Since then, I decided I would like to read some more Frank comics. My friend has a lot of Frank comics. I borrowed them. I read them.

Jul 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing
What did The Frank Book teach me?

That weird shit can happen at any moment...especially if you are a half-cat half-weasel-type creature with geometric chickens for friends and an anthropomorphic pig named Man-Hog for an enemy.
Sooraya Evans
Oct 09, 2017 rated it did not like it
Felt like being taken on a bizarre trip that I didn't enjoy.
Just plain weird and most of it doesn't make any sense.
Never thought a silent comic could give me such a headache :(
Kane S.
Sep 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Wow. Part of me thinks I should reserve my rating of this book until I've read it again. I loved it but I cannot honestly say I fully understood it.

Almost completely wordless, this is a collection of comics Jim Woodring made about an anthropomorphic animal of ambiguous species. The art is absolutely beautiful but it really shines in the assortment of full-colour comics included in this collection.

I've seen these comics described as parables and I wouldn't necessarily disagree - though "fable" ma
Darran Mclaughlin
Mar 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
Astonishingly original and imaginative. This book is a collection of Frank comics published to mark the 20th anniversary of his creation. The comics feature a bizarre cast of characters who seem to have somehow emerged from the world of dreams to engage in a series of hallucinatory, Beckettian adventures. Woodring is equally adept at drawing them in colour or monochrome, but one of the most unusual and original aspects of these comics are that they are all 'silent'. There is no dialogue at all. ...more
Gordon Lee
Jan 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is hard to describe but I love it. How do you read a book without words? All you have to do is visualize. The Frank Book by Jim Woodring reads like some dream of flowers and sunshine that often becomes a nightmare of strange and frightening proportions. If I was going to compare this book to a film,'Eraserhead' and 'Un Chien Andalou' come to mind. There is an indescribably subtle sort of evil to this book. It's like finding a snake in a lollipop. In this book, you can certainly expect ...more
Aug 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Pretty bizarre. This book kept making me think that the author was trying to do cartoons without any real-world referents, and he mostly succeeded. It makes for a cryptic read, where character's motivations (and even actions) are sometimes completely inscrutable, and with a world filled with bizarre devices whose purposes are strange and impossible. But it was surely a fun read if you like strange things, and comics that make you ponder what's going on. The best stories were the ones with a defi ...more
Mar 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
World Mythology meets Silly Symphonies, tied together by a sometimes inscrutable but always compelling dream logic. Frank is our "innocent but not noble" stand-in for humanity, and Man-Hog is the saddest villain/victim you'll ever meet. The universe of Frank is always mysterious, but never inconsistent or unbelievable. It is a fully-formed fantasy world that has probably always lived in Jim Woodring's head, and it continues to live - in some strange capacity - in all of ours as well. Beautiful, ...more
Sep 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Here is a book about the wondrous things that happen after your mind ends, and ingenious parasites infest the ruins of your cerebellum. Your sense of self will become a purple catman with poor judgment, and you will be assisted by end table/raccoons in your struggles against other people, who are swine, and also against Satan and your father. The passementeries and tassels of unseen spiritual curtains will also help and hinder your progress. A story of the mind.
Dec 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This is so cool. Phil you haven't stolen my copy have you? You gave that to me for Christmas and I want it!
But yeah highly recommended - amazing art and disturbing story lines (in a good way).
Jun 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Aaron by: Jessixa
This book tucks me in at night. I have developed a way to read the stories aloud to my wife although there is no text.
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Frank Book is probably one of the hardest books to describe. It wasn't that hard to read, since there was hardly any words in it. That's one thing. The stories are told by showing the action (which has its difficulties on the page) and a LOT is left for the reader to decode. Because, and this is the other thing, Jim Woodring is quite the surrealist.

To sum up the stories collected in this volume, they all have one thing in common, a cat-like (but not quite) creature called Frank. There are ot
Eric Aguirre
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
No son necesarias las drogas si existen los cómics de Jim Woodring. Es como estar en un viaje psicodélico sin ningún tipo de estimulante. Aquí todo aparentemente es absurdo, sin embargo, después de leer los comentarios finales de Woodring nada es casualidad. Las imágenes están plagadas de símbolos que el autor pone de manera consciente e inconsciente. Me llama la atención la confesión que hace el artista sobre el hombre cerdo; según nuestro autor, esta basado nada más y nada menos que en su padr ...more
Bizarre, but occasionally funny and worth a read.
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's like a collection of dark and surreal animated shorts from the '30s.
Aug 06, 2017 rated it did not like it
Didn't make any sense.
Dec 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
Interesting, but a bit too grotesque for me. The art is whimsical and sometimes crazily colorful, which I enjoyed, and the cast of creatures inhabiting this world is great (my favorite was Pupshaw). However, the sometimes brutal and often psychedelic nature of the storylines was hard for me to appreciate.
Garrett Zecker
Feb 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
THE FRANK BOOK is a gorgeous collection of Frank cartoons. it begins with a beautiful introduction by Francis Ford Coppola, and moves to Woodring's work that continue his dark and mysterious story of the Unifactor in short and self contained stories that are unlike the first two books I read (Congress and Weathercraft). My favorites were an unlikely perfect day for Pushpaw and Pupshaw, an exploration of a day in the life of Manhog including a rare narration at the bottom of every page, a piece w ...more
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