September 19, 2007 8:00 PM
Bonds Home Run Ball
It's ironic that I would be doing another Barry Bonds cartoon right now. I'm glad because it gives me the opportunity to pay tribute to a very special guy. Last week San Francisco lost a brilliant cartoonist, Phil Frank, after a battle with a months-long illness. I lost a friend, one I wished I had known a little better. Frank created a fantastic local comic strip for the San Francisco Chronicle called Farley. I encourage you to take a look at Farley by going to the link http://sfgate.com/columnists/farley/. If you want to read my tribute take a look below. I promise the time you spend learning more about Phil the richer your life will be.
copyright Phil Frank from the collection Going Local with Farley
Phil Frank was a cartoonists cartoonist. His work was rich in detail and content and wonderfully delightful in design. Frank took his national comic strip, Farley, local, to the San Francisco Chronicle, after becoming somewhat disillusioned with the deadlines of national syndication. His strip featured bears (like the one above), feral cats, pigs and assorted San Francisco politicos which he skewered in his ever so gentle way. His strip was pure genius, which is not a word I throw around lightly.
Phil, on the right, and I outside his studio at Yellow Ferry Harbor, Sausalito, 2003.
There are a handful of cartoonists whose work I admire greatly and have inspired me through the years. I have my own fab four. They are Bill Watterson, George Herriman, Charles Schulz and Phil Frank. I had missed the opportunity to meet Charles Schulz during his lifetime, something I've always regretted. So when my late wife, Debbie, and I visited the bay area in spring of 2003 I contacted Phil. He invited us out to Sausalito, and gave us a guided tour of his home studio as well as a studio he had in a pilot house of a turn-of-the-century riverboat docked at Yellow Ferry Harbor. It was a terrific day, Phil showing me samples of a strip he was about to syndicate called Elderberries. That perfect day was topped off by Phil giving me a Farley original which hangs prominently on the wall of my home studio. It was a wonderful gesture by a wonderful guy.
Phil in his pilot house studio. Photo by Jessica Flynn
After Debbie's death in 2004, Phil invited me back out to Sausalito. I couldn't muster the courage to go back so soon to a place with so many memories of Debbie, but I never forgot his kindness at a difficult time in my life. I invite you to explore the world of Phil Frank. Several of his books and collectibles can be found at his website http://www.farleycomicstrip.com/. Read his archives. Buy his books. I promise you'll feel like I do. Thankful to have been touched by the brilliance of Phil Frank.