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Congress of the Animalsby Jim Woodring
"First a bit of background: For years, in works like The Frank Book and Weathercraft, cartoonist Jim Woodring has been producing wordless, surreal, darkly beautiful comic book fables about .... Well, here's where things get tricky. Because Woodring's singular talent lies in creating vast, painstakingly rendered grotesqueries that resist tidy classification. His pen-and-ink landscapes — which look a bit like Rockwell Kent woodcuts had Kent eaten lots of peyote — are festooned with dark caves, scary jungles and mysterious minarets, each peopled with monsters who could be on work-release from Heironymous Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights. Within this dreamscape — a world Woodring calls the Unifactor — he sets his stories." Glen Weldon, NPR (Read the entire NPR review)
Synopses & Reviews
Readers of the "Frank" stories know that The Unifactor is in control of everything that happens to the characters that abide there, and that however extreme the experiences they undergo may be, in the end nothing really changes. That goes treble for Frank himself, who is kept in a state of total ineducability by the unseen forces of that haunted realm. And so the question arises: what would happen if Frank were to leave The Unifactor?
That question is answered in Congress of the Animals, Jim Woodring's much-anticipated second full-length graphic novel, and first starring his signature character Frank. In this gripping saga an act of casual rudeness sets into motion a chain of events which propels Frank into a world where he is on his own at last; and like so many who leave home, Frank finds himself contending with realities of which he had no previous inkling.
In Congress of the Animals we are treated to the pitiful spectacle of Frank losing his house, taking a factory job, falling in with bad company, fleeing the results of sabotage, escaping the Unifactor in an amusement park ride, surviving a catastrophe at sea, traveling across hostile terrain toward a massive temple seemingly built in his image, being treated roughly by gut-faced men and intervening in an age-old battle in a meadow slathered in black and yellow blood. And when he finally knocks on opportunity's door he finds... he finds...
Suffice to say he finds what most of us would like to find. Can he bring it back with him? Will the Unifactor accept him as he has become? Are his sins forgiven? Is love real? Is this the end of Frank as we know him?
The first full-length "Frank" graphic novel!
About the Author
Jim Woodring lives in Seattle, WA, where he was recently awarded the 2010 Stranger Genius Award for literature for his graphic novel, Weathercraft. It was the first wordless novel to receive the award.
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