Have you ever imagined reading a comic whose main protagonist sort of looks like a cross breeding of Pugsley Addams, Frankenstein’s monster, and a marshmallow? Me either. Yet, here I find myself reading a comic featuring just that in the character of Frank, in a self-published series titled Brutally Frank.
Brutally Frank takes place in the future. A future where an alien race, know as the Koan, brought the people of Earth to the brink of utopia and then seemed to overshoot it. As a part of this near-utopia they brought enlightenment, healing, and all the answers to the big questions. In exchange they wanted entertainment in the form of hundreds of thousands of what are essentially reality television shows. (My favorite of which is “You Bet Your Soul” starring Satan himself.)
So far, I have read the first three issues of the comic, and I’m not entirely sure what to make of it, mostly because I’m not really sure as to what is going on. The time line skips backward and forward, and the end game is still very unclear. All that is certain is that Frank has had a very messed up life, and now someone wants something from him. But what could anyone want from an extremely deformed young man with not much more than stumps for limbs?
Honestly, I am simultaneously charmed and repulsed by the character of Frank, but I kind of feel as if that was the author’s intention. In the course of three issues, this little guy has had the ever loving hell beat out of him, yet he still manages to spit out some rather entertaining snarky remarks.
I have to say this book is truly impressive if for no other reason than the fact its creator, writer, and illustrator are all the same guy, Robert Burns. The art is starkly presented in black and white (aside from the covers). There’s so much detail and some really remarkable panels. The illustrations make the most of the black and white by using a lot of intricate crosshatching and some very dynamic silhouettes and shadows.
I’m not going to lie: this is not a book for everyone. However, if you’re the adventurous sort looking for something different than what you usually find lining the racks at your local comic shop, this might be the something different you’re looking for. I have to admit, I find myself being very curious about the next parts of Frank’s journey. There is something very drawing about this title, and I think Robert Burns has definitely got his work cut out for him.
Physical copies of the ﬁrst three issues of Brutally Frank can be purchased at Challengers Comics + Conversation, 1845 N. Western Ave. 2R, Chicago, IL 60647, Phone: 773-278-0155; or ordered through Haven Distributors (call: 1-877-428-3650 or visit their website: www.havendistro.com). Brutally Frank may also be purchased online as a digital download from drivethrucomics.com. You can also find out more about this comic by visiting Brutally-Frank.com.