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Moving Day

Here on the site we give you a second day of Joe McCulloch. Here is reviewing Jim Woodring’s Fran.

The truth is, all you really need to understand the Frank comics — those wordless exploits of a quintessential Funny Animal Character set loose in a “closed system of moral algebra,” per his creator — is to understand virtually anything of our long, shared cultural history of Silly Symphonies and Looney Tunes. And if Frank is not so cuddly as the rest of the menagerie (though still cuddlier than some), it’s because Woodring is less interested in replicating popular cartoon formulae than in distilling the fraught concept of “antics” itself into a sort of linguistics – observing, again, a reality of intuition.

Lately, Woodring has been concerned with what the book dealers call graphic novels, and it was to my delight that these latter works did not come across simply as longer Frank stories between hard covers, but rather as works of mythopoeic sweep, in ready dialogue with one another. In 2010′s Weathercraft, Woodring revised one of his crueler gag shorts (1996′s “Gentlemanhog”) into a study of cyclical mechanisms, in which a corpulent, ignorant humanoid beast becomes an enlightened and empathetic individual, only to find himself reduced again to a bestial state as the story concludes with everything reset for further exploitation later on. Frank is just a supporting character, “adopting the attitude that will bring him the most fun,” and occupying the book’s final panel by sitting down to peruse a magazine, as if eager to get the next story started.

Elsewhere:

Our own Frank Santoro interviewed by James Romberger about Pompeii over at Publishers Weekly.

And the big publishing news of the day is that DC Comics is going to move its editorial offices, and everything else, to Burbank, California.

Sean Howe features some of Jim Lee’s early career rejection letters over on his Tumblr.

Josh Neufeld contributes a comic strip reportage piece on the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.

 


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