I was just recently pulled from the dregs of mainstream superhero comics in the last 2 years. It was a slow and painful operation, but eventaully my eyes were opened to how stupid they really are. So, of course, i got into indy comics, where the art is not only categorically better but the stories are...god, don't even get me started. We're not talking about me or indy comics in general here. We're talking about the remarkable Jim Woodring's FRANK. Woodring is a master artist who pulls tricks out of his hat that no one's ever even thought of before; his inventive use of pressure on his pen to create the effects of light and dark, not mention every texture imaginable, is absolutely astonishing. Every panel of every page looks so finished you'd think there was an assembly line working on this. Nope; it's just Woodring. If his original black and white pages weren't enough, his full-painted comics and covers convey a measure of patience and diligence unheard of even in most fine art. His expressive characters are all wonderful to look at, because nothing like any of them has ever been seen before. Now, Woodring's art could be praised so many times in so many different ways that Amazon would collapse, but his stories deserve just as much recognition. Every issue is breathtakingly creative, and the plots are completely oringinal. Somehow, despite the fact that they're all silent, a connection is made with the characters on a deep, intense level. Frank, curious and innocent (but not noble), Pupshaw, dependent and loyal, Whim, vindictive and conniving, and every other character within are perfectly fleshed out. Woodring is subtly and bombastically brilliant; you barely even notice that the book is silent or that you're reading about a cat-ferret-beaver. Thing. Frank is a generic anthropomorph, resembling a lot of things but being none of them. FRANK is as surreal as any Dali piece, and in some ways, on par with them in sheer originality and quality. the stories are bizzare, fluid, funny, disturbing, unsettling, lively and like nothing i've ever seen before. Collected in this handsome hardcover volume (which means no more scrabbling for individual issues), Frank is a dream-come-true in so many ways. The book the favorite of all the comics i own, because it cannot be called similar to anything else. Thank god for Jim Woodring; the comics world will be barren and lonely without him.