March 27, 1943|
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
|Died||September 12, 2007
Bolinas, California, United States
|Occupation||Artist, Comic Creator|
|Known for||Creating Farley, The Elderberries comics and making baseball caps|
Phil Frank (March 27, 1943 – September 13, 2007) was an American cartoonist best known as the creator of the San Francisco-based comic strip Farley and the artist on nationally syndicated comic strip The Elderberries.
In addition to his Farley comic strip, Frank collaborated with writer Joe Troise on several comic strip projects:
- Chateau Defeat (published in the Wine Spectator)
- Miles to Go
- Nigel Shiftright, Automotive Anachronism or Road & Track magazine
- The eponymous Frank and Troise also for Road & Track magazine.
- A series of "Teletoons" for Network World magazine.
Frank started cartooning at Michigan State University first by creating illustrations on classmates jackets and then with the university newspaper for $5 a strip. After graduation and marriage he took a job as an illustrator and humorist with Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, where his son Philip was born. Frank returned to teach at Michigan State for a few years, during which time his daughter Stacy was born. After moving to the Bay Area California in 1973, Frank was an illustrator for a variety of clients including the US Army. He started his now famous syndicated comic strip Travels with Farley while he and his second wife, Susan, lived on a house boat in Sausalito, on San Francisco Bay. During this time his studio was in a pilot's cabin atop a ferry boat docked nearby. When Farley transitioned from a syndicated to a local strip in the San Francisco Chronicle, Frank secured a secret studio atop the Chronicle building where he could covertly create his characters.
Other Works and Interests
In addition to his comic strip work, Frank also worked as an illustrator on many projects during his career on education materials for conservation ("Aunt Energina," the "Electric Gnus,"). He had numerous commercial freelance clients, including the San Francisco Giants and Pet Food Express. He also created some of the first computer-based clip art, and one of his cartoon bears from Asphalt State Park was sold for many years as a popular stuffed animal at California's State Parks alongside his Farley books.
An avid classic car enthusiast since a child, Frank over the years restored of seven Ford Model As, two MG TCs, an MG SA Tickford Drophead, and a Jaguar MKII.His second wife, Susan, collaborated as writer on several of his publishing projects including children's books. In the summer of 1976 he, along with his wife Susan and the two children, drove a 1929 Model A Four Door pulling a period appropriate camper from California to Maine and back all along the back roads of America.
Retirement and death
Frank announced his retirement for health reasons on September 7, 2007  and died shortly thereafter in Bolinas, California. Frank had been suffering from a brain tumor for months prior to and was gravely ill at the time of the announcement.
- Farley, Elderberries cartoonist Phil Frank retiring due to illness, San Francisco Chronicle, September 7, 2007.
- Farley creator Phil Frank dies after a months-long illness, San Francisco Chronicle, September 13, 2007.