Clarence ‘Otis’ Dooley
was born in Kickapoo, Illinois in 1945. Known as Otis to all after a resemblance to his Grandpa Otis (who ran the Tiny Tracks miniature railroad), Dooley showed a talent for drawing from a young age.
He received top marks in several school-sponsored art contests, and once turned in a self-made 24-page comic book on the life of Benjamin Franklin in lieu of a written report for an assignment. (Although his teacher was very impressed with his artistic skill and creativity, he lost points for making up whole periods of Franklin’s life.)
He studied at Shimer College (Home of the Flaming Smelts) where he drew political cartoons for several student publications. After college, Dooley served in the military as part of the then-classified 22nd Division Caricature Corps. Much of his work done for the military has yet to be released under the Freedom of Information Act.
Discharged in 1971, Dooley worked as a commercial artist, providing illustrations for catalogs and advertisements, while continuing his cartooning on the side. When Frank and His Friend was accepted for syndication in 1975, Dooley quit his job to work on the strip full time.
Since Dooley’s untimely death in 1984, his family has (so far) chosen not to have anyone else continue the characters. However, though Frank and His Friend was published for only nine years, it has continued to inspire artists. 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.
Frank and his Friend
This image was featured in the 2011 exhibition "Roughhousing: Clarence 'Otis' Dooley's Rough Sketches for...
Tuesday, Jul 19, 2016
by Ned Wazowski
Our favorite time of year has arrived – it’s finally Comic-Con time!
The Curio & Co. year basically revolves around these five days in San Diego: we’re either gearing up for Comic-Con or coming down from it.
During Comic-Con we connect with old friends and meet new friends. We get up close and personal with artists whose work we’ve admired from afar, and we celebrate each rarity we manage to hunt down. Comic-Con is like Thanksgiving, New Year’s and Valentine’s Day all rolled into one. Can you sense our goosebumps?
But of course, it’s not all about us. We’ll have a variety of treasures for you: pins, vintage posters and plenty of books. Plus, we’ll have all your favorite characters like Frank and His Friend, Spaceman Jax and Roger Believe.
Most importantly, however, we’ve poured through the archives to find you curios that you won’t find anywhere else! We won’t say more about these treasures yet – but you’ve got to see ‘em to believe ‘em! Come back for more information after the big reveal.
If you’ll be in San Diego for Comic-Con, drop by and say hello – we’d love to see you! We’ll be at booth o-2 in the Small Press section. We can’t wait to catch up!