Saturday, September 17, 2022

Travels with Phil Frank

Antique Shop Find of the Day--maybe the Year! An original comic strip by Phil Frank. Frank did a lot of work in comics before he died in 2007, including two syndicated strips--"Farley" and "The Elderberries"--and a rare arrangement in which he continued his "Farley" strip exclusively for the San Francisco Chronicle, making him probably the last single-paper strip cartoonist in the business.

I'm 99% sure that's what this is: one of the "Travels with Farley" strips he did for the Chronicle, both because of its date (2002 was two years before The Elderberries) and its San Francisco-based subject matter. 

You're gonna ask and I'm not embarrassed to say: $24. The frame and matte are worth more than that.

My favorite part is a sticky note on the back of the frame, in Frank's hand, reading "Found it!! Had to use a backhoe!" and affixed with a 37-cent postage stamp. I imagine that Frank dug up and sent the strip to a friend who'd asked for it, with the stamp's "Kansas" theme cleverly echoing the strip. It's also darned good provenance. 

I never met Frank but I was a fan of his loopy stories and characters, and his loose, confident linework. I think I can confidently say that this art could not have found a better home.

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