Phil Frank

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Phil Frank
Born(1943-03-27)March 27, 1943
DiedSeptember 12, 2007(2007-09-12) (aged 64)
Occupation(s)Artist, Comic Creator
Known forCreating Farley, The Elderberries comics and making baseball caps[citation needed]

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 for Road & Track magazine
  • The eponymous Frank and Troise also for Road & Track magazine.[1]
  • 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[citation needed]. When Farley transitioned from a syndicated to a local strip in the San Francisco Chronicle, Frank secured a secret[citation needed] studio atop the Chronicle building where he could covertly create his characters.

Other Works and Interests[edit]

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[citation needed], and one of his cartoon bears from Asphalt State Park was sold as a popular stuffed animal at California's State Parks alongside his Farley books.[citation needed]

Frank was well known in his home community of Sausalito and served on its Historical Society.[2]

An avid classic car enthusiast since he was a child, Frank restored an Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV, seven Ford Model As, two MG TCs, an MG SA Tickford Drophead, and a Jaguar MKII.[3] His second wife, Susan, collaborated as a 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 with a period-appropriate camper from California to Maine and back all along the back roads of America.[citation needed]

Retirement and death[edit]

Frank announced his retirement for health reasons on September 7, 2007 [1] and died shortly thereafter in Bolinas, California. Frank had been suffering from a brain tumor for months before and was gravely ill at the time of the announcement.[4]


  1. ^ a b Farley, Elderberries cartoonist Phil Frank retiring due to illness, San Francisco Chronicle, September 7, 2007.
  2. ^ "2016 Columns". Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  3. ^[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Farley creator Phil Frank dies after a months-long illness Archived 2010-11-13 at the Wayback Machine, San Francisco Chronicle, September 13, 2007.

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