Frank & His Friend Collectors Edition Review

By | Monday, July 15, 2013 Leave a Comment
Frank and His Friend Special Collector's Edition Vol. 1 makes its debut at Comic-Con International in San Diego in a few days. It's the latest book from the folks who brought you the Eisner nominated Finding Frank & His Friend and Time For Frank & His Friend. I reviewed both those books very favorably here and here, and the Curio & Co. team were kind enough to send me an advance copy of this newest work.

To catch you up, Frank and His Friend was a comic strip that ran from 1975 until 1984 when creator Clarence 'Otis' Dooley died. While the jokes weren't always laugh-out-loud funny, the strip had a warmth and charm that endeared it to many readers. Except Otis never existed, nor did Frank and His Friend. Complete fabrications of the Curio & Co. team. The idea, as noted in their latest press release on the book, states "This allows Curio & Co. to poke fun at today's impatient culture and create an 'instant heirloom' for collectors who want their history in half the time." Besides the Frank books, they also have production drawings from the Spaceman Jax cartoon, giclées of the Italian comic covers of Roger Believe, prints from various Oberpfaffendorfer packaged food ads, and original owner's manuals from the Gadabout TM 1050. All of which are fakes from top to bottom.

Frank and His Friend Special Collector's Edition is different from the other two Frank books in some notable respects. Finding Frank was a coffee table type book examining nostalgia without the burden of actual nostalgia getting in the way; it's a modern book with a retrospective look on someone's life and career. Time For Frank was more of an attempt to reproduce nostalgia from something that no one could possibly have nostalgia for; the book does a fantastic job mimicking the comic strip reprints of the 1970s. The Collector's Edition has the same basic format as Time For Frank but it's a modern reprint collection.

At a basic level, the content between The Collector's Edition and Time For Frank is similar; they're both pocketbook collections of strips. And while the basic set-up of the strip and the type of humor is the same, there's a slightly different feel to the strips. Like they came later in Otis' career. Ostensibly, they were selected by Melvin Goodge (author of Finding Frank) as his favorite strips and best representatives of the series and, from what I recall in Finding Frank he did come to the strip much later than its '75 debut. Personally, I liked the earlier ones better, but the trick with nostalgia, of course, is that you often remember your initial impressions more strongly. And given that Frank and His Friend don't exist... well, that gives you a lot to think about!

I think what Curio & Co. is doing overall is fantastically interesting. While there are some folks out there doing retro-style posters and prints, these guys have really gone the extra mile to create and entire world full of pop culture, parallel but distinct from our own. I highly recommend getting all three books, or at least this latest one if you've listened to my previous advice and you already have the other two!

Curio & Co. will be at Comic-Con International in Booth #2102 in the Independent Press section. Tell them I sent you! (I don't know if that'll get you any special treatment or not, but it'll make me feel useful.) If you're not able to stop by in person, hit their website up.
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