The Portable Frank by Jim Woodring

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The Portable Frank
By Jim Woodring
Fantagraphics

Seeing Things, the title of Jim Woodring’s 2005 collection of charcoal drawings was intended as more than a simple descriptor of the artist’s surrealist mode of expression. For most of his life, Woodring has suffered from hallucinations, a fact that he’s discussed openly and often in interviews, over the years. For better or worse, the condition has, of course, played a rather prominent role in the artist’s work.

One of the most beneficial side effects is the remarkable sense of consistency with which Woodring has imbued his art. For all of its predominantly fantastic qualities, the world inhabited by his most beloved character, Frank, possesses a sense of internal reality rarely achieved by even the most stringently autobiographical works that the medium has to offer. It’s a sense of other-worldliness hinted at—but rarely, if ever, fully-realized by the psychedelic musings of underground comics’ early pioneers.

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