Friday, May 17, 2013
by Ned Wazowski
Tagging along with Frank and His Friend
You might be a couple of minutes late to the party, but you haven’t missed any of the action.
One of my favorite things about Frank and His Friend is how open the storylines are. You often get the feeling that you’re just coming in on the middle of the action.
Artist Clarence ‘Otis’ Dooley often drew panels in such a way that the scene or the dialog hinted at what came before, but didn’t provide you with a complete picture. Like a snapshot, rather than a home movie.
Dooley didn’t always explain exactly what Frank and his Friend were up to, because those details just weren’t always important. Why, or how, a kid might have built an enormous pile of rocks was less important than how that task might have made a kid feel: enormously proud. Through these small moments of feeling, Dooley allowed us to fill in our own stories from childhood and remember the joy or exhilaration or even pride from those moments.
And I suppose, it was the feeling rather than the plot that appealed to Dooley most. After all, kids build rock piles for the same reason people climb mountains: because they’re there.
So whether or not you did all the same things as a kid that Frank and his Friend did (I’m disappointed, for example, that I never thought to use a plunger as an arrow with a bow), you can always relate to the feelings. How pleased with yourself would you have been to build an enormous pile of rocks? You’d just have to show someone.
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