Bob and Tom Thaves
Bob Thaves' preference was to keep the focus on the characters
- not on him. Bob's son Tom, who worked with Bob for many years and now collaborates with a team to create Frank and Ernest, agrees. But, while still working at the drawing board, Bob did agree to let us share this background about how Frank and Ernest came to be and the characters:
Bob always knew he wanted to be a cartoonist and
began drawing as a boy. His formal art training
consisted of studying various cartoonists and their work. In fact,
as a boy, he could identify the cartoons of different
magazine cartoonists without being able to see their signatures.
His first cartoons were published in magazines while he was in college.
magazine cartoons have been supplemented by two comic strips and
images from both are included here. The first, Frank and Ernest
began in 1972. Thaves' second strip, King Baloo was distributed during the late 1980's and
Frank and Ernest grew
out of the magazine work that he did: he liked the variety and
flexibility of the magazine format. Frank and Ernest chronicles the adventures of two "every man" characters who are
anything but ordinary! They are able to appear in different settings,
time periods - even manifested as things and creatures other than
people. The variety in the strip extends to their observations
about a wide variety of subjects.
The wordplay often evident in the strip - frankly and earnestly! - begins with the name! Frank, the taller of the two characters, tends to be more open and candid.Ernest, true to his name,
typically is genuine and sincere. The strip is distributed daily
in over 1,200 newspapers.
A tradition of innovation sustains
the strip's vitality. When it debuted in 1972, Frank and Ernest was the first panel presented in a strip format and the first
comic to employ variety in settings and character manifestations,
eschewing an ongoing story in one setting. The tradition of innovation
was evident also in the introduction of e-mail addresses to the
comics pages of over 1,000 newspapers (1994) plus in the use of
detailed digital coloring process for the Sunday strips (1995).
web site, launched in 1997, extended the innovative tradition
in three ways:
King Baloo also reflects Thaves' inclination to break new
ground. The strip was the first offered to newspapers in both
the horizontal strip format and the vertical panel format. (Please
note that only horizontal strips are included here - vertical
formats will be provided upon request). This strip chronicles
the antics of a lovable despot, his family and subjects. They
live in a non-specific kingdon in a non-specific time and the
characters are just as likely to comment on Anne Boleyn as they
are Elvis Presley.
Frank and Ernest has
won numerous awards including three Reuben Awards
for Best Comic Panel, the Mencken Award and Bob Thaves was selected
as "Punster of the Year" by the International Save the
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