Clarence 'Otis' Dooley
Clarence ‘Otis’ Dooley was born in Kickapoo, Illinois in 1945. He first put his artistic skills to work drawing comics while in the military, and was part of the then-classified 22nd Division Caricature Corps. Discharged and back home in 1971, Dooley worked for the art department of Cudworth-Hooper Industrial, illustrating catalogs for hog oilers. When Frank and his Friend was accepted for syndication in 1975, Dooley quit the company to work on the comic full-time.
The popularity of Frank and his Friend was overwhelming. Likenesses of the two characters were emblazoned on everything from lunchboxes and t-shirts, to gardening equipment and spark plugs (and who can forget the hilarious advertisements by Arbuthnot Auto Parts). In 1982, Dooley was even in negotiations with Benday Studios to bring Frank and his Friend to television sets in an animated series. Although the deal ultimately fell through when the studio folded as a result of heavy investment in the North American laser disc market, much of the pre-production work still exists.
Though published for only nine years before Dooley’s untimely death in 1984, Frank and his Friend inspired countless cartoonists. From Arthur Bloomer’s Rumpus Room Rascals to the tow-headed underdog of Raining Cats and Hamsters, most of our favorite characters of the last twenty years owe something to the influence of Frank and his Friend.