Radnjom stripova upravljaju fantastični oblici i teksture, krajolici i dekor. Sve blista psihodeličnim sjajem. Trava, rijeka i nebo doimaju se na rubu neobičnih preobrazbi. A osjećaj usamljenosti prejak je za nas i ne možemo suosjećati. Možemo samo gledati izdaleka.
David Pescowitz: Neizlječivo ludi stripovi Jima Woodringa
Strip-umjetnik Jim Woodring iz Seattlea tvrdi da je samo jedanput u životu bio istinski deprimiran, i da je to trajalo samo nekoliko dana. No, neobičnost njegova života napokon ga je počela plašiti. U ranim 80-im Woodring se obratio jungovskom psihologu u potrazi za potisnutim sjećanjem.
Nakon njegova prvog termina, psihić je pregledao dva primjerka njegova stripa Jim i odbio ga kao pacijenta. Drugog psihologa kojeg je Woodring upoznao na zabavi ta je priča razgnjevila, ali nakon što je vidio njegove stripove, rekao je Woodringu da ga ni on neće uzeti za pacijenta. Ni on nije želio otkriti razlog.
“To što psiholozi nisu htjeli imati posla sa mnom, shvatio sam kao znak da se ne trebam plesti s njima”, kaže Woodring. “Odlučio sam da ću nastaviti živjeti tako što ću dopustiti da moje potisnuto sjećanje ostane tajna.”
Možda je to i bilo u najboljem interesu za Woodringovo mentalno zdravlje. Djetinjstvo kojeg se Jim ne sjeća ne bi moglo biti nadrealnije i da je izmišljeno. Njegov je otac bio inženjer, a majka toksikolog u mrtvozorničkom uredu u Los Angelesu. Woodring je kao mali dječak često imao halucinacije - veliko izbuljeno oko je lebdjelo nad njim, a groteskna lica virila su preko njegova kreveta vičući užasne psovke. Glasove čuje i dan danas. Čak i prije svoje pete godine, Jim je crtao slike koje su bile toliko zastrašujuće da ih je zakopao u rupu u zemlji.
“Moji snovi iz djetinjstva bili su jednostavni, sjajni i imali su vrlo sigurnu vizualnu kvalitetu,” tvrdi on, “iako su često bili vrlo strašni. Uopće ne smatram da je taj dječji oblik izražavanja siguran i dobroćudan. Ne smatram da je djetinjstvo sigurno i dobroćudno”, kaže.
Godine 1970., nakon što je maturirao, Woodring se upisao na večernju školu povijesti umjetnosti. Jedne večeri nakon profesorove projekcije, Jim je vidio najutjecajniji prikaz svojega života na platnu projektora. Slika koju je projicirao Jimov um bila je divovska žaba poput lika iz stripa (koja se pojavljuje na omotu stripa Jim#1). Woodring je vrisnuo, pobjegao van iz sobe te tako dramatično završio svoje formalno obrazovanje.
Nakon što je pobjegao s faksa, selio se gore-dolje po Zapadnoj obali dajući svoj doprinos časopisu Car-toons. U ranim 80-im, izdavač Fantagraphica Gary Groth zapazio je njegov samizdat “autožurnal” i dao mu vlastiti strip.
U posljednje vrijeme Woodringov rad dobio je vizualnu kvalitetu Technicolora, uz pomoć suradnje s groteskno slatkim Frankom i Manhogom – prvi je bolno naivan, a drugi je zla kukavica. Zajedno, kaže Woodring, oni tvore cjelovitu osobu.
Woodring kaže da mu zamisli za stripove dolaze poput svrabi koju ne možeš počešati. Kad svrab počne, Woodring tjeskobno odjuri u duboku guduru pokraj svoje kuće. Tamo ostane dok svrab ne umiri mentalnim češanjem,
“Zaista ne mogu reći što je to što mi daje te zamisli”, kaže Woodring. “Ne zapisujem ih svjesno. No kad je cijela stvar završena, mogu je pogledati i vidjeti u njoj neku unutarnju logiku”.
Nakon izlaska najnovijeg stripa možda Woodring nađe vremena za rad na svojim motoriziranim skulpturama – koje nalikuju na voštanu kopiju stopala sa stršećim metalnim šipkama koje stružu o kotač za mljevenje, a sve lebdi u kutiji neprženih kokica.
Ali, prije ili poslije Jim Woodring će otići u postelju. A onda će se snovi vratiti…
S engleskog prevela Ksenija Švarc
Steven Shaviro: Frank
SVJETLUCANJE. Jim Woodring objavljuje svoje priče o Franku od 1992. Taj strip zapanjuje me svojom stranom ljepotom. Priče se kazuju samo u slikama. Nema natpisa ni balončića za riječi. Umjesto njih, radnjom upravljaju oblici i teksture, krajolici i dekor. Neki stripovi su u boji, a drugi su crno-bijeli. Woodring se služi bojama jarkih kontrasta i visoke zasićenosti. Sve blista psihodeličnim sjajem. Trava, rijeka i nebo doimaju se na rubu neobičnih preobrazbi. Crno-bijele priče postižu sličan učinak gotovo opsesivnom upotrebom valovitih crta. Pozadina je obojena tek toliko da bi svjetlucala i tekla. Bilo da su u boji ili crno-bijeli, ti stripovi pokazuju svijet u kojemu ništa nije posve čvrsto. Crteži u stripu većinom su visoko stilizirani. Nevažni detalji izostavljaju se. Nekoliko crta može biti dovoljno da prenese mjesto, tjelesni stav ili izraz lica. Što je lik osnovniji, to se doima univerzalnijim. No, Woodring tom postupku pridaje posebnu notu. Njegove slike nisu svedene na svoje bitne crte, jer su stilizirane u čudne oblike. Uzmimo za primjer leteća stvorenja u “Frank i istina o obilju”. To su dugački, gipki, segmentirani šiljci. Urešeni su raskošnim konstrukcijama usporednih vrpci, polja točaka i rupa raspoređenih u krugove. Woodring negdje kaže da su ti likovi anđeli. No oni više naliče gumenim, izduženim šiljcima u vrtnji, ili biljkama koje su propupale kao sportski trofeji. Woodringovi anđeli puka su dekoracija, bez oblika i boje. Likovi su to bez identiteta i bez sličnosti. To im daje delikatnu, stranu ljepotu. U tim slikama svjetluca vizionarski svijet. Svjetluca, a potom ugasne. Jer, sve je prolazno i krhko. Strip je u samim kosim crtama i krivuljama. Gotovo uopće nema pravih kutova ni ravnih crta. Čak i arhitektura je nagnuta na jednu stranu. Woodring crta kuće nalik na raskošne šahovske figure ili na cvjetno izrezbarene urne. Krovovi su im kupole ili stošci. Sa strane su opsesivno urešeni arabeskama, vijugama i ponavljanim motivima krugova. Posvuda su vrata, portali i prozori, izvedeni razrađenim cvjetnim uzorcima. Ti crteži vrlo su privlačni. Pozivaju vas da pogledate ili uđete. Tu su i bazeni koji sugeriraju tajanstvene dubine, te pećine i hodnici koji mame u svoju tamu. Poklopci golemih vrčeva skrivaju čudan sadržaj, kao i znakovi ispisani šifriranim pozivima. Naslovni lik Frank nikada se ne može oduprijeti tim kušnjama. Njegova radoznalost uvijek ga nadvlada. Frank je u stripu antropomorfna životinja. Ima uši Mickeyja Mousea, dva zuba, široko lice s ljupkim pjegama, kratak rep i ruke sa četiri prsta, u rukavicama. Njegov lik crta se punim bojama i čvrstim, jednostavnim crtama. To ga čini posve različitim od svega drugoga u stripu. Kao da je pogreškom dospio u svijet. U Disneyjevom crtiću osjećao bi se kao da je kod kuće. On je svojevrsni Svatković, zamjena za čitatelja. Manje je sudionik, a više je pasivni promatrač. Luta prizorima iznimne ljepote i užasa. U priči “Virko” jednostavno ide u šetnju. Na prozoru opazi veliku žabu. Ona stoji u monumentalnoj pozi tuge, nad mrtvim punoglavcem. Takav osjećaj usamljenosti prejak je za nas i ne možemo suosjećati. Možemo ga samo gledati izdaleka. Frank ide dalje. Kroz drugi prozor ugleda kanibalističku orgiju. Neljudska tijela leže na gomili. Nije jasno kome pripada koji organ ili tjelesni otvor. To je samo odvratna zbrka od očiju, usta, usana, jezika, isprepletenih udova i krvi. Takav je užas elementarnih oblika. Frank bježi. Zatim pogleda kroz teleskop i ugleda svog neprijatelja Manhoga. Ako je Frank humanizirana životinja, onda je Manhog upravo obratno: čovjek pretvoren u zvijer. Priču za pričom, Manhog buja od prkosa, zavisti i pohlepe. Ima svinjsku njušku i svinjske uši na inače ljudskom licu. Ruke i noge su mu ljudske. Ali torzo mu je svinjski i obično hoda na sve četiri. Poput Franka, vizualno se ističe od ostaloga u stripu. On je jedini naturalistički nacrtan lik. Zbog toga je još ružniji. No, “Virko” ne završava Manhogom, nego posljednjom zagonetnom vizijom. Šiljasti vražji lik ponudi Franku pogled kroz drugi teleskop. Frank gleda u udaljenu zvijezdu… i ugleda staromodnu slastičarnicu. Bivši izloženi čudovišnome, završavamo sa svakodnevnim. Ma kako nas privlačio ili užasavao, vizionarski svijet ostaje odvojeno mjesto. Dopušteni su nam samo kratki, svjetlucavi pogledi na njegovu stranu ljepotu. Slastičarnica je otvorena, ali Frank ne može onamo. Umjesto toga, posljednji kvadrat “Virka” prikazuje kako je Frank pao na tlo, a lik vraga uzdiže se nad njim.
S engleskoga preveo Goran Vujasinović
"Readers who haven't discovered Jim Woodring's Frank stories will find a treat waiting for them in the pages of this book. Since publication in 1991 of the award-winning, epoch-making "Frank in the River," these lusciously hypnotic fables have dazzled cartoon lovers the world over.
Frank is a generic anthropomorph who lives in a world of mysterious and dangerous beauty. Propelled by forces beyond his control, including his own unquenchable curiosity, he finds himself in one bizarre escapade after another, frequently involving the loathsome Manhog or the power-hungry Whim. Luckily, Frank has a protector and ally in the form of his feisty godling companion, Pupshaw.
Frank's adventures are told in a series of nearly wordless cartoon stories that draw readers deep into a hallucinatory mindscape governed by a profound interior logic that raises The Frank Book to a level above fantasy. As Francis Ford Coppola says in his introduction, "The ancient myths and folk tales of all cultures which have been preserved for so many centuries have meaning for us today because the fantastic elements in them are rooted in immutable reality. The Frank stories belong to this class of literature."
Download and read a 23-page PDF excerpt (4.9 MB).
"Frank will take you to another world, re-arrange your consciousness and reprogram the inside of your head. It's cheaper than virtual reality, less risky than recreational pharmaceuticals, and more fun than falling asleep." – Neil Gaiman
"Frank, and I say this without a shred of hyperbole, is a work of true genius by one of the all-time greats." – Daniel Clowes
"The Frank stories have a meditative, hallucinatory feel... They tap into a universal consciousness of archetypes. But ultimately Frank tells one story, everyone's story, the same story as life: 'How Laughably Absurd It All Is.'" – Time.com
- Frank Book, The — Grovel: graphic novel reviews "This collection of strips doesn’t have much of a thread running through it, apart from the characters and their surroundings. Like classic cartoons and newspaper strips, they are there to have situations inflicted upon them. In his afterword, Woodring suggests that each strip is intended to be a mystery but that one concept runs through each one, like a sort of moral or statement. Finding these can, at times, be challenging, but this obscurity and strangeness is a large part of what gives the book it’s charm." – Grovel
- Graphic Novel Blog | Politics & Prose Bookstore "Jim Woodring’s little anthropomorph, Frank, has been around for quite some time, and his silent, life altering, universe confusing, epic comics finally get collected into one nice book. Frank has graced the comics page for decades now, and his curiosity, foolishness, but utter innocence leaves one always wishing for more, and to have it collected into one volume is an absolute treasure. There is much to say about The Frank Book, but really, you should just pick it up and wander with Frank and his friends and enemies, into a world that is so different, and yet, so similar to our own." - Politics & Prose "Favorite Graphic Literature of 2011"
- The Frank Book | Comics Bulletin "Whilst a 350+ page volume like this might sound like a daunting way for newcomers to try out a series that you've never sampled before, it's fair to say that a certain degree of immersion in Frank's world is needed before you'll really start getting the most out of his misadventures. However, those of us who have tried Frank before will need little convincing that this long out-of-print collection -- recently reprinted by Fantagraphics -- is well worth your time and money." – Dave Wallace, Comics Bulletin
- Reviews October 2011 week four | Page 45 - Comics and Graphic Novels | "The stories [in The Frank Book] are fantastical, phantasmagorical fables full of transmogrification, mostly silent so that you can bring to them what you will and interpret them as you like, and if you were to sit down with someone else and discuss any given piece you’d find it very revealing – both of yourself and of your friend. I often describe them as 'mind-altering, yet legal.' Enlightening too, as I say.... [Jim Woodring] is a visionary, a veritable shaman with a love of Persian architecture and that rare ability to communicate wisdom — and folly (umm, yes, mostly folly!) — with skill. As a visual craftsman he totally floors me, his wrinkled-line textures placed just-so, leaving each panel on the page a perfect composition. A beautiful, beautiful book." – Stephen L. Holland, Page 45
Ask! Just Buy It! - Oct. 12, 2011: Franks a Lot - ComicsAlliance |
Comic book culture, news, humor, commentary, and reviews "A new edition (in both hardcover and paperback) of Jim Woodring's early Frank stories, which are utterly wonderful -- the first one, 'Frank in the River,' is my single favorite comics story ever at least 20% of the time. I can't think of much other art that's both so unironically devoted to pleasure and entertainment (in this case, in the form of funny-looking animals doing amusing things in colorful, inventively odd settings) and so deeply, primally unsettling and ambiguous." - Douglas Wolk, Comics Alliance
- De la arrebatadora belleza al horror · ELPAÍS.com "Each change, each mutation is the beginning of a thought without a defined path that will take the reader into the recesses of his mind. It can be simple aesthetic sensory enjoyment, perhaps of ravishing beauty, perhaps creepy horror; it can be a profound reflection on the significance of humanity or a simple gag in the purest tradition of slapstick. Either option is good: the silent Frank stories are surely a shock that spins the reader's neurons at high speed, a total reset of the system of established reality that leaves the mind in a renewed state of equilibrium. A masterpiece..." – Álvaro Pons, El País (translated from Spanish)
Lincoln Michel: Steamboat Willie on an Acid Trip: TFT Review of Congress of the Animals by Jim Woodring
In the early days of the Surrealist movement, members believed that it was literary efforts and techniques—such as automatic writing—that would be the most powerful representations of Surrealism. André Breton even had doubts that the visual arts could be authentically Surrealist. Nevertheless, the visual artists who joined the movement ended up defining Surrealism. Nowadays, Surrealism is associated almost entirely with those paintings and other visual art of artists like Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, and Giorgio de Chirico.
For my own tastes, I often find something lacking in the static nature of Surrealist paintings no matter how much I admire them. Surrealists wanted to access the unconscious, the realm of dreams and hidden desires, but dreams are not merely images. Dreams are narratives (or, if you prefer, we force narratives on them). The most impacting surrealist works for me have combined the narrative with the visual: the collage novels of Max Ernst, the collaborative films of Dali and Brunel, the films of David Lynch, and, I would now add, the Frank comics of Jim Woodring.
Jim Woodring has been drawing individual Frank comics since the early 1990s, but it wasn’t until 2010’s Weathercraft that Woodring completed a full-length story. I have long admired Woodring’s brilliant, hallucinatory, and bizarre Frank comics. But his work has taken a leap forward with last year’s Weathercraft and this year’s Congress of the Animals. The Frank world is one the reader benefits by being immersed in. What might seem a bit incomprehensible in a short strip blossoms into a dark Dionysian dream in these two graphic novels.
To describe the plot of Congress of the Animals feels somewhat pointless, as it must be experienced. I will say that it begins with Frank’s house collapsing in a croquet set accident. His home is rebuilt by a traveling craftsman, but Frank’s apparent ignorance of commerce leads him to wage enslavement in a factory that crushes small birds into paste. Frank and a co-worker stage a proletariat rebellion, fleeing to a bizarre amusement park. After a stormy night, he is washed ashore on a mysterious land and spots a gigantic building shaped like himself. He sets out to discover what lies inside.
Jim Woodring’s surreal Frank comics are borne out of beautifully conflicting forces: beauty and horror, change and permanence, elegance and cartoonishness. The living creatures resemble early Disney cartoons like Steamboat Willie, but the backgrounds recall Victorian woodcuts. Change is the rule of the land—dubbed the Unifactor—and creatures transform and twist into new beings with regularity. At the same time, the forces controlling the Unifactor work to constantly restore balance. Like Dali’s paintings, Woodring’s work is filled with powerful symbols—frogs, jivas, and eyes are some recurring images—yet the symbols meanings seem to change from book to book or page to page.
The Frank comics are almost entirely wordless, and yet the covers and inside flaps of Weathercraft and Congress of the Animals are beautifully written and display a linguistic oddness that matches the art. I might also add here that Fantagraphics has done an impeccable job designing these two books. The covers are as gorgeous as the insides. I really can’t get enough of these two graphic novels. If I keep mentioning them together, it is because I believe they beg to be read together. They show different but complimentary sides of Woodring’s vision. These two books combine to form, I believe, one of the greatest achievements in recent comics. If you are a fan of the strange, the uncanny, the bizarre, the hallucinatory, and the fantastic, I can’t recommend them enough.
"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 following 2010's universally acclaimed Weathercraft, 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?
Download an EXCLUSIVE 10-page PDF excerpt (819 KB).
- As melhores HQs publicadas nos EUA em 2011 – Alternativas e clássicas | | Ambrosia.com.brAmbrosia.com.br Gustavo Guimaraes of Brazilian culture & entertainment site Ambrosia names "The best comics published in the U.S. in 2011 - Alternative and classic," including Congress of the Animals by Jim Woodring (translated from Portuguese): "The world created by Woodring is unique, beautiful and scary. His stories can be incomprehensible at times, but always intriguing and charming."
- Our favorite comics of 2011 | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment Robot 6's Chris Mautner ranks Congress of the Animals by Jim Woodring at #4 on his best of 2011 list: "As with Woodring’s previous book, Weathercraft, Congress finds one of the central characters in the author’s surreal Unifactor world, in this case Frank, going on a lengthy journey and coming back having altered his world somehow, though in this case the changes seem to be permanent. It takes a bit of daring to be willing to alter the status quo in a respected body of work and considerable talent to be able to do so in as assured manner as Woodring does here."
- Our favorite comics of 2011 | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment Robot 6's Sean T. Collins ranks Congress of the Animals by Jim Woodring at #14 on his best of 2011 list: "The potential for change explored by the hapless Manhog in last year’s Weathercraft is actualized by the meandering mischief-maker Frank this time around. While I didn’t quite connect with Frank’s travails as deeply as I did with Manhog’s, the payoff still feels like a weight has been lifted from Woodring’s strange world, while the route he takes to get there is illustrated so beautifully it’s almost superhuman. It’s the happy ending he’s spent most of his career earning."
- CBR's Top 100 Comics of 2011, #100 - 76 - Comic Book Resources Congress of the Animals ranks at #88 on Comic Book Resources' 2011 best-of list: "It takes a bit of daring to be willing to alter the status quo in a respected body of work and considerable talent to be able to do so in as assured manner as Woodring does here." – Chris Mautner
- Velocity Comics, BEST GRAPHIC NOVELS 2011: 10. GREEN RIVER KILLER... Richmond VA comic shop Velocity Comics counts down their top ten Best Graphic Novels 2011, with Jim Woodring's Congress of the Animals at #9: "There are few artists’ work I can endlessly stare at with as much feverish perplexitude as Jim Woodring’s. Yes, I just made that word up."
- The Best of 2011 - comiXology Tucker Stone ranks Congress of the Animals at #5 on his Best of 2011: "Deftly exploring the individual's relationship with labor, consequence and love, Congress of the Animals might be Woodring's least nightmarish work yet. (Although there's still a decent portion of it involving face-robbed humanoids that you shouldn't leave lying open if you have junkies visiting.)"
- Best of 2011 With the Critics – Timothy Hodler, Matt Seneca and Joe McCulloch | Inkstuds Jim Woodring's Congress of the Animals and Johnny Ryan's Prison Pit Book 3 are among the books discussed by Inkstuds host Robin McConnell and his guests Tim Hodler, Joe McCulloch and Matt Seneca for his "Best of 2011 with the Critics" episode.
- The Unshelved Book Club "[Congress of the Animals] is wordless and flows from scene to scene with dream logic, so it’s a quick read. Woodring’s inking is so fabulous that I’ve already reread it, and opened it to specific pages to stare at the varying weights he gives his lines. I particularly liked the textures of the wood walls in the background of the factory where Frank works and how they make the machines stand out from the background." – Gene Ambaum, The Unshelved Book Club
- Read About Comics » Congress of the Animals "Congress of the Animals might be my least favorite Woodring book, but it’s still overall strong and compelling. I love the fact that Woodring has made a huge, fundamental change to the world of Frank, and that in doing so it still feels like an old familiar friend. I’m not sure just anyone could have pulled this off so late in the game, but with Woodring it feels like a natural extension of everything we’ve seen up until now. There’s no other comics quite like Woodring’s out there, and I’m forever thankful that we get these amazing, disturbing, wonderful creations from him. After all, a 'merely good' comic from Woodring is still better than most other comics out there." – Greg McElhatton, Read About Comics
- Recommended Reading: Congress of the Animals « More than you want to know about comic books! "Calling Congress of the Animals recommended reading is a bit misleading. It’s definitely recommended, but it doesn’t technically involve reading. The entire book doesn’t feature a single word bubble. The only words are on the book jacket. What this is is a story told entirely through pictures — delightful pictures at that.... This was really an entertaining book. It was visually different from anything I’ve ever seen in a comic, the story was unique, and some parts were laugh out loud funny..." – Corey Pung, Panel Discussions
- Steamboat Willie on an Acid Trip: TFT Review of Congress of the Animals by Jim Woodring « Fiction "I have long admired Woodring’s brilliant, hallucinatory, and bizarre Frank comics. But his work has taken a leap forward with last year’s Weathercraft and this year’s Congress of the Animals. The Frank world is one the reader benefits by being immersed in. What might seem a bit incomprehensible in a short strip blossoms into a dark Dionysian dream in these two graphic novels.... If I keep mentioning them together, it is because I believe they beg to be read together. They show different but complimentary sides of Woodring’s vision. And also because these two books combine to form, I believe, one of the greatest achievements in recent comics. If you are a fan of the strange, the uncanny, the bizarre, the hallucinatory, and the fantastic, I can’t recommend them enough." – Lincoln Michel, The Faster Times
- The New Surrealism: Now With Meaning! | San Mateo County Library "Maybe it seems as if I’ve told you the whole story [of Congress of the Animals] already. Not to worry, as I am only giving a basic outline of what Jim Woodring has rendered (without a single word!) in inspirationally meticulous ink drawings. You’ll really have no idea of this book’s content until you pick it up and view sights that are organically bizarre, beautifully horrific, cryptically disturbing, and genuinely heartwarming." – Chris Gray, San Mateo County Library blog
- Comics-and-More: Congress of the Animals "Like Weathercraft, this new work [Congress of the Animals] is completely silent, showcasing Woodring's amazing talent to convey a story without a word, with seemingly little effort. It's just an eye-popping visual feast of amazing illustrations in this crazy world where Woodring can put whatever he wants on the page, to a stunning end result." – Dave Ferraro, Comics-and-More
- Rude Chapbooks 07.08.11 | EXTRA: Another Handful of Stiffies "In the oneiric power of his work as a writer/artist, Jim Woodring enjoys few rivals in contemporary comics... Within the first ten pages of Congress of the Animals, calamity literally descends on poor Frank in the form of a wood-boxed croquet set. In the next ten, our bucktoothed, bobtail boyo suffers both a labor dispute and a credit crisis, and thereafter, in the U.S. in 2011, it should come as no surprise that things fast go from bad to worse; just for starters, Frank has to enter the working world. Ameliorating all of his tribulations, at least from readers’ vantage, are his creator’s nonpareil pen and undulant line — a quivery visual seduction courtesy of Higgins. Moreover, by the finale, Frank’s [spoiler redacted – Ed.] — so the little guy ain’t doin’ too bad, y’know?" – Bryan A. Hollerbach, PLAYBACK:stl
- Warren Peace Sings the Blues: Art What I Like (even if it makes me want to puke): Jim Woodring freaks me RIGHT THE FUCK OUT "I don't think I'll ever stop marveling at the amazing artwork [Woodring] fills his books with. It contains some of the most solid and tangible representations of fantastical objects and events I've ever seen, along with a deeply unsettling atmosphere, something that either creeps me out or turns my stomach to look at it. There's something about the plantlike growths on animal creatures, the gaping orifices, and the plentiful eyeballs that, while obviously unnatural, goes a step further into a visceral gut-punch, somehow keying into a subconscious urge to look away. This aspect of the work has been present in other Frank stories I've seen, but Woodring seems to crank it up to near-unbearable levels [in Congress of the Animals]..." – Matthew J. Brady, Warren Peace Sings the Blues
- Comics Time: Congress of the Animals « Attentiondeficitdisorderly by Sean T. Collins "...I’ll admit it: I did not expect to read a Frank book whose final panel made me go 'Awwww!' ...[T]he journey [in Congress of the Animals] takes Frank so far afield that at some point (probably when he gets lost at sea and washes up on some distant shore) he ends up outside the Unifactor’s confines. New information can now enter his world... And at that point all hell breaks loose…which in a Frank comic is to say it doesn’t break loose at all." – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly
- Irregular Orbit » Blog Archive » Congress Of The Animals "Congress of the Animals... [is] Woodring’s second book-length Frank story. Not so overtly horrific as last year’s Weathercraft, but somehow more unsettling to me. Perhaps I’m just traumatized by the destruction of Frank’s house. Fantastic wordless storytelling, as always." – M. Ace, Irregular Orbit
- The Formula Is Broken by Paul Constant - Seattle Books - The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper "Expectations are foiled at every turn [in Congress of the Animals] precisely because Woodring is digging deep into the rich soil of his own imagination; he's pulling these stories up from the same place that myths and legends come from, and in that way, his books have the weird weight and unmistakable freshness of myth. These are stories that haven't been told before, but they come from the place where stories are born, so they're instantly recognizable to everyone. And because they live in the prelinguistic language of cartoons, almost anyone on the planet can look at a page and immediately understand what is happening." – Paul Constant, The Stranger
- The Weekly Wire: The Week's Recommended Events - Page 1 - Arts - Seattle - Seattle Weekly "Frank's adventures take place in a kind of Byzantine fun-house phantasmagoria of windows-slash-orifices, faces without faces, and extruded intestines. The spirit is like Disney meets Hieronymus Bosch, a comic surrealism in which Frank undergoes an exile and return from his beloved home." – Brian Miller, Seattle Weekly
- Skyscraper Magazine » Congress of the Animals "Woodring’s someone whose work demands repeated reads. For longtime fans, Congress of the Animals is another puzzle piece in Woodring’s complicated world of art. For newcomers, it’s likely going to be the first enjoyable step of discovering that world and Woodring’s back catalogue." – Nick Dean, Skyscraper Magazine
- “The Mind of a Worldly Man Is Like a Fly”: A Jim Woodring Interview | The Comics Journal At The Comics Journal, Nicole Rudick talks to Jim Woodring: "I had the story before I knew I was going to do it as a hundred-page comic, and those Frank stories kind of write themselves. I set out to gather material for them and when I have enough of it, and it’s the right kind of stuff that fits together in such a way, it makes a whole that works. So I didn’t really set out to write Congress of the Animals as a personal story, but once I had the story in hand and I realized that it was that personal — I had that in mind all the time I was drawing it and that influenced some of the visuals, the factory, for example, and the faceless men."
- Graphic Novel Reviews -- Congress of the Animals « Now Read This! "At the pinnacle of the funnybook pyramid is Jim Woodring, in a position he has maintained for years and clearly appears capable of holding for years to come. Woodring’s work is challenging, spiritual, philosophical, funny, beautiful and extremely scary. Moreover, even after reading that sentence you will have absolutely no idea of what awaits you the first time you read any of it, or indeed – even if you’re a long term devotee – when opening a new silent masterpiece novel such as Congress of the Animals." – Win Wiacek, Now Read This!
- A Weird, And Wonderful, Cartoon 'Congress' : NPR "...Congress of the Animals finds twisted fabulist Woodring at the top of his darkly delightful game: Open the book at random and the odds are very good that your gaze will alight upon something that stings, bites, drips, oozes or squelches. Tentacled plant-beasts threaten the unwary, factories powered by crushed blackbirds produce who-knows-what, slimy amphibians enact bizarre rituals and a tribe of naked, faceless men whom the jacket copy refers to as "blind gut-worshippers" — easily the most potent nightmare fuel Woodring has ever produced — drug passersby for mysterious purposes of their own. You certainly won't want to live inside the covers of Congress of the Animals, but it's a fascinating and thrilling feat of imagination, and one hell of a place to visit." – Glen Weldon, NPR.org
- Graphic Novels & Art-Comics - Late June and Early July 2011 | Books | Comics Panel | The A.V. Club "...Woodring returns with Congress of the Animals, a 100-page book focused on Frank. The style and format will be familiar to Woodring devotees — wordless and surreal, with each panel packed with thick, squiggly lines — but the story’s more clearly allegorical than usual, following the buck-toothed, easygoing Frank as he moves into a new home and learns what it means to work a soul-crushing job to maintain a standard of living. The theme is heavy, but there’s a strong slapstick comedy element too, which endures right up to the point where things take a turn from the merely weird to the mind-meltingly weird." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
- Congress of the Animals: Jim Woodring's latest mindbending graphic novel - Boing Boing "There is no one remotely like Jim Woodring. I admire dozens of living cartoonists, but Jim's wordless comic book stories... are some of the most mindbending books I've ever read.... Is there a lesson to be learned from Congress of the Animals? What is the meaning behind it, and Woodring's other books? That's the question I'm unable to answer. His comics affect the part of my brain that can think and feel, but cannot verbalize. His comics change me, but I can't say why or how." – Mark Frauenfelder, Boing Boing
- Reviews June 2011 week three | World of Page 45 "...[J]ust as Woodring’s wordless walkabouts are voyages of discovery for his anthropomorphic protagonists, so they should be for each of us. Wonders wait around every corner, so I’ll leave you to wonder what wonders they’ll be. What I can promise you [in Congress of the Animals] is the same, exquisite level of craftsmanship you’ll have become accustomed to." – Stephen L. Holland, Page 54
- Graphic Novel Review: Jim Woodring's 'Congress of the Animals' | Hypergeek "Congress of the Animals is a beautifully illustrated modern fable, which manages to say more without words, than most graphic novels can with hundreds of words. The tale rewards repeat readings, with each successive exposure to the story revealing new and interesting details that were not at first apparent. Woodring has really outdone himself here, and has created the finest work of his career. This is a strong contender for graphic novel of the year, if not the decade!" – Edward Kaye, Hypergeek
- Not just black and white - Boston.com "As one surreal event leads to another, including a battle with men with holes for faces, an arduous journey to a mystical tower, and the blossoming of love, [Congress of the Animals] continually tries to outdo itself in its pure unpredictability. These misshapen figures recall a combination of Maurice Sendak, Terry Gilliam, and R. Crumb, blending the loopy and the nightmarish in a way that is both unsettling and inspiring." – Max Winter, Boston Globe
- Largehearted Boy: Atomic Books Comics Preview - June 8th, 2011 "The master of psychedelic cartoon storytelling is back with another fantastic collection. It is impossible to look at a page of this book and not immediately be drawn in to each panel by Woodring's line work, where the world fades away from around you and suddenly you feel like a character in the Unifactor." – Benn Ray (Atomic Books), Largehearted Boy
"For over 20 years now, Jim Woodring has delighted, touched, and puzzled readers around the world with his lush, wordless tales of “Frank.”
Weathercraft is Woodring’s first full-length graphic novel set in this world — indeed, Woodring’s first graphic novel, period! — and it features the same hypnotically gorgeous linework and mystical iconography.
As it happens, Frank has only a brief supporting appearance in Weathercraft, which actually stars Manhog, Woodring’s pathetic, brutish everyman (or everyhog), who had previously made several appearances in “Frank” stories (as well as a stunning solo turn in the short story “Gentlemanhog”).
After enduring 32 pages of almost incomprehensible suffering, Manhog embarks upon a transformative journey and attains enlightenment. He wants to go to celestial realms but instead altruistically returns to the unifactor to undo a wrong he has inadvertently brought about: The transformation of the evil politician Whim into a mind-destroying plant-demon who distorts and enslaves Frank and his friends. The new and metaphysically expanded Manhog sets out for a final battle with Whim...
Weathercraft also co-stars Frank’s cast of beloved supporting characters, including Frank’s Faux Pa and the diminutive, mailbox-like Pupshaw and Pushpaw; it is both a fully independent story that is a great introduction to Woodring’s world, and a sublime addition to, and extension of, the Frank stories."
Download an EXCLUSIVE 12-page PDF excerpt (1.4 MB).
- Trade Post: Weathercraft « UnitedMonkee "Weathercraft feels like a day-in-the-life story. It’s a weird and wild one, but you don’t have to know anything going on, you just experience it. ...Weathercraft has an arc and a story and all that, but it’s probably not exactly what you’d think if you’re more used to traditional comics. Still, it’s a great piece of fiction to pick up and really experience..." – T.J. Dietsch, United Monkee
- Irregular Orbit » Blog Archive » Weathercraft "Weathercraft... [is a]nother volume of nightmarishly beautiful wordless comics by the remarkable Mr. Woodring. Even for those accustomed to his work, there is page after page that makes you say, 'I’ve never seen anything like that before!' And then hide under your bed." – M. Ace, Irregular Orbit
- Hey, Read This: Jim Woodring's Weathercraft • Joe Keatinge's Comics & Stories "With Woodring’s skill, I never found myself confused, at least, more than you’re supposed to be. I’ve never read a statement by Woodring saying this, but I always got the impression he wanted you to work for the meaning behind his stories. Even if it’s not the case, I highly enjoy the process. In one graphic novel [Weathercraft], I got what I think may have been a love story, a treatise on spiritual enlightenment and sometimes just a whole lot of fun." – Joe Keatinge, Joe Keatinge's Comics & Stories
- Orbital Comics Among London shop Orbital Comics' staff favorites for 2010, Jim Woodring's Weathercraft: "The book is every bit as beautiful, weird and mesmerizing as I expected, and serves both as great introduction to Jim Woodring’s wondrous world and a wonderful treat to those already familiar with it."
- The Best Original Graphic Novels of 2010 | Hypergeek "I only discovered Jim Woodring this year, on a recommendation. I was so impressed by this enchanting, silent masterpiece that I went out and purchased everything else I could find with his name on it, which as it turns out is surprisingly little. It's a beautiful and spellbinding book, with otherworldy illustrations that take you to another place. It's hard to adequately describe this story, it's really beyond definition, it's better that you just experience it for yourself." – Edward Kaye, Hypergeek
- Best of the Year – Andrew Salmond | The Forbidden Planet International Blog Log "Weathercraft, by Jim Woodring, is my tip to the old hands that brought out work this year. As much as I love the others..., Woodring is for me in a class of his own. Reading an extended work by the man, you find yourself falling into a different state of mind, a world of sickly, queasy imaginings. [...] Few are as adept at drawing you so deeply into worlds which are so utterly alien, yet so incredibly personal." – Andrew Salmond
- Acme #20 Tops PWCW’s Fifth Annual Critics Poll "Jim Woodring first hit his bullseye so long ago, and has been splitting his own arrow right down the middle so many times, that he's easy to take for granted. Don't. Weathercraft is a magnificent and slightly wicked little book: a whimsical farce about some of the nastiest, darkest metaphysical stuff there is, a banquet for the eyes that starts growing tendrils once it's inside you." – Douglas Wolk, Publishers Weekly
- 2010 Graphic Novel Favorites | Politics and Prose "Weathercraft, by Jim Woodring, is a beautiful dream and a beautiful nightmare. [...] Weathercraft is page after page of utterly original, outrageous, wordless thrills. Somehow, in a place where confusion and chaos seem to reign, Woodring creates sense. The challenge and beauty of Weathercraft is taking hold of that sense, and letting it go when the dream becomes too beautiful to pass up." – Adam Waterreus, Politics and Prose
- Our favorite comics of 2010 | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment "It’s always darkest before the dawn, and the psychedelic body-horror of Jim Woodring has never been darker than it gets here. His hapless, villainous Manhog is made to suffer like you’ve seen few comics characters suffer before in any style or genre…only to emerge enlightened and overjoyed on the other side in a final act that feels like that first breath of fresh cool air after you’ve hidden your head under the covers in terror for minutes on end." – Sean T. Collins
- CBR's Top 100 Comics of 2010, #50 - 26 - Comic Book Resources Comic Book Resources counts down their Top 100 Comics of 2010. At #36, Weathercraft by Jim Woodring: "It's a twisting, twisted, often bizarre, often disturbing but always gripping tale of one creature's self-redemption and ultimate sacrifice told without words and often as enigmatically as possible. If you had any doubt that Woodring could still deliver after laying low for so long, consider them erased." – Chris Mautner
- The Best Comics of 2010 - comiXology Tucker Stone ranks Weathercraft by Jim Woodring the #3 comic of the year: "It's a comic that stays behind when it's closed, twisting in memory until you're not sure you caught what it said, a demanding experience that's unusual and unique. There's no other medium that could tell the kinds of stories that Woodring prefers; luckily, he's come back to stay."
- ComicsAlliance's Top 10 Best Comics of 2010: #10 - 6 - ComicsAlliance | Comics culture, news, humor, commentary, and reviews Comics Alliance ranks Weathercraft on their Top 10 Best Comics of 2010. Jason Michelitch writes: "Woodring is a cartoonist of frightening power, and Weathercraft is him performing at full strength, a high note sustained for every panel on 100 pages. His work is of a caliber where it's hard to know what to say about it, so struck dumb are you by the immensity of the rendering and storytelling skill on the page. [...] There is no other comic this year that so successfully creates such a viscerally compelling and hermetically individual fictional world, or which displays such a thorough mastery of visual storytelling, provoking complex thoughts and feelings with simple, beautiful strokes. Weathercraft is essential."
- Best Graphic Novels of 2010: Weathercraft - - Techland - TIME.com At Techland - TIME.com, Douglas Wolk ranks Weathercraft at #6 on his top 10 Best Graphic Novels of 2010: "The first standalone Frank book from Jim Woodring is as gloriously mind-expanding as anything he's drawn. It's a wordless Hieronymous Bosch-via-Chuck Jones parable about cartoon animals in a cruel, psychedelic landscape, in which the wicked Manhog attains enlightenment, then sacrifices it again."
- Drawn - Favourite Books of 2010 - John's Picks "Jim Woodring’s masterful cartooning is showcased in this latest graphic novel featuring his familiar cast of characters including Frank, Manhog, Pupshaw, and Pushpaw. It’s never easy to discern what Woodring’s comics are about, but there is never any question as to what is happening in each panel. Such is the control and understanding he has of both the medium and his tools. Weathercraft is a silent movie governed by dream logic and the id." – John Martz, Drawn
- The 2010 Inflatable Squirrel Carcass Top 15 and More - WFMU's Beware of the Blog On WFMU's Beware of the Blog, Nat Roe's multi-media Top 15 includes Jim Woodring's Weathercraft at #5: "Stick a straw in my brain and suck until there's nothing left but that gurgling sound of air, the remnants of carbonation gathered like patrons in a bar on a Tuesday night 'last call' at the other end of the straw; that's how Jim Woodring makes me feel."
- Comic of the Year of the Day: Weathercraft « Attentiondeficitdisorderly by Sean T. Collins Weathercraft, "a thrilling, nauseating, inspiring journey from terror to triumph," is Sean T. Collins's Comic of the Year of the Day at Attentiondeficitdisorderly.
- Weathercraft by Jim Woodring « The Name Of This Cartoon Is Brunswick "An utter nightmare. [...] Over a hundred densely-drawn pages, filled with Woodring’s bejewelled creatures and salamandric hallucinations, Manhog achieves a kind of enlightenment. A great if unsettling work." – Grant Buist, The Name of This Cartoon Is Brunswick
- Scribes Sounding Off: Most Rocking Comix 2010 "Illustrative Ibogaine, Woodring’s own cartoon-streamlined use of false world-obliviating imagery makes God’s invention of time seem like a quaint abstraction. [Weathercraft] is as necessary as Genesis By Robert Crumb, the Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators, Philip K. Dick’s UBIK, The Art of War by Sun Tzu, and 2001: A Space Odyssey." – Chris Estey, KEXP
- Envisioners, Explainers and Iconoclasts | Holiday Guide | Oakland, Berkeley & Bay Area | East Bay Express East Bay Express's Anneli Rufus names Jim Woodring's Weathercraft one of the Best Books of 2010: "It's a wordless masterpiece from a Harvey Award-winning autodidact who executes his rhapsodically weird yet somehow relatable surrealistic visions with a lush, lifelike, retro-tinged precision that recalls Edward Lear and Winsor McCay. In an age when too many cartoonists draw with a lazy, defiantly fuckoffish lack of skill, Woodring's museum-quality mastery puts most of his colleagues to shame."
- Warren Peace Sings the Blues: Weathercraft: Uh, wha? "So, does it all mean anything? Who knows? But it’s certainly a fascinating read, full of arresting images that seem like they are triggering some deep impulse in our lizard brains, and that’s a pretty significant achievement in itself. If nothing else, it’s often quite funny... If you can accept that as something entertaining and play along with its dreamlike logic, you should be able to enjoy the book at the very least, and maybe you’ll even feel like you get something out of it. I know I did, and even if it was just confusion, it was worth it." – Matthew J. Brady, Warren Peace Sings the Blues
- Jim Woodring . Weathercraft Fantagraphics Books . 2010-+SOMA . SUA DOSE DIÁRIA DE CULTURA INDEPENDENTE "The absence of words is matched by the most crazy drawings that depict surreal, unbelievable moments that make us stop to look again — and again. It's all so wacky and unusual that not infrequently we find ourselves laughing, reflecting on the silliness that we keep inside us all. For large and small, Weathercraft is sure to [bring] multiple pleasures." – Gilberto Custódio Junior, Soma (translated from Portuguese)
- Comics-and-More: Two Quick Reviews "Weathercraft... is a nice showcase for Woodring's beautiful art, which often dips into the grotesque, but is always interesting and somehow pretty no matter what is depicted. He's a great cartoonist, which he shows off through his imaginative creatures and the curious monsters, and fully-realized alien world. It's a whimsical journey, completely silent, but unforgettable and haunting." – Dave Ferraro, Comics-and-More
- The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.: Book-A-Day 2010 # 207 (8/29) -- Weathercraft by Jim Woodring "There are books that can be easily reviewed — they have straightforward plots that either make sense or don't, characters whose motives are explicable and definable, and settings that relate to places in the real world. And then there are the works of Jim Woodring, where nothing is explained, nothing is stable, and nothing is like anyone else's work. And it's absolutely goddamn genius. [...] There is no one like Jim Woodring, and comics are immeasurably strengthened by the fact that he's chosen this art-form to work in. [...] If you have any feeling in your soul, Weathercraft will confuse and mesmerize you." – Andrew Wheeler, The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.
- Comics Reviews: 7/19/10 "A book that sticks with you like a virus, Woodring's newest collection of tales of vague morality and definite oddity [Weathercraft] keeps intact his status as one of comics most eccentric auteurs. ... Woodring's wordless story is a looping and circumstantial affair, concerned more with fantastically rendered backgrounds — his starkly layered landscapes play like minimalist woodcuts of the deepest unconscious — than matters of plot and story. There is a creeping message of sorts, about the wages of greed and what happens to curious cats, but it's mired in a universe of deeply strange beauty and not always easy to divine." – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
- CriticalMob | Books "In Weathercraft, his first foray into graphic-novel territory, Seattle denizen Jim Woodring employs his repertory troupe of ambiguous, liminal characters — Frank, Manhog, Pupshaw, and Pushpaw — to tell the kind of Pilgrim's Progress tale that David Lynch might have conjured up if he were a cartoonist. ... Impermanence, the conundrum of physical senses that guide and ensnare at the same time, the challenge of a rational response to an irrational universe — all this and more await the returning fan or the open-minded acolyte in Woodring's best work yet. And for an artist of his caliber, that's saying something." – Damian Van Denburgh, Critical Mob
- Robot reviews: Wilson and Weathercraft | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment "His wordless tale filled with an eerie landscape and creatures that are both familiar and horrifyingly alien evokes dread and mystery. Equal parts parable, fable and surreal (and perhaps at times unfathomable) vision, Weathercraft further cements Woodring's reputation as one of the true geniuses of comics." – Chris Mautner, Robot 6
- Jim Woodring | Books | Interview | The A.V. Club "Merely calling Jim Woodring’s comics surreal is selling them short. …Woodring’s vivid draftsmanship and narrative linearity operate just as easily as parable, gospel, and even slapstick. …Weathercraft… pushes his iconography and storytelling into new areas of grotesquerie and revelation, all without his characters uttering a word." – Jason Heller, The A.V. Club
- Newsarama.com : Indie Comics | Comic Book Interview | Fantagraphics | Newsarama At Newsarama, Michael C. Lorah discusses Weathercraft with Jim Woodring: "This is Manhog’s book. He’s a more interesting character than Frank in a lot of ways. He’s deep, whereas Frank is bottomless."
- The Daily Cross Hatch » Weathercraft by Jim Woodring "Exploration, thankfully, is precisely what Weathercraft is all about. Woodring’s latest graphic novel is a deep exploration of Unifactor, through looking glasses, behind tears in the world’s fabric, under sea and into space, this time all experienced through the beady eyes of Frank’s principle antagonist, Manhog." – Brian Heater, The Daily Cross Hatch
- A Short Walk through the Unifactor: Jim Woodring, Frank and Weathercraft « The Hooded Utilitarian "For the first time, this hapless figure, this half-man, half-animal is a picture of heroism and nobility, his metamorphosis achieved not through cosmic dances or tops but by cruelties inflicted on him by that creature of many masks and tricks, Whim. Earlier in Weathercraft , an infernal creature plucked from the pig-man’s gullet sanctions enlightenment. He who once resembled the demons surrounding the decapitated Ravana becomes whole and fully clothed, now cognizant of his true nature." – Ng Suat Tong, The Hooded Utilitarian
- “Freakshow!” | Willamette Week | June 23rd, 2010 "Trying to explain Jim Woodring’s art is like describing an acid trip: One never gets the feeling across and inevitably sounds like a crazy person while doing it. ... His work is like Carl Barks’ Donald Duck comics twisted inside out by a black hole. Terrifying, disgusting, funny, silent and beautifully illustrated. See? It sounds crazy." – Casey Jarman, Willamette Week
- Hallucinogenic Precision | Books | Portland Mercury "Regular, rectangular panels are the only thing conventional about Weathercraft, which follows the metaphysical mishaps of Manhog, a blank-eyed, snout-nosed creature who wanders naked through Woodring's pages, on a journey of self-realization disguised as a vivid, botanically inventive acid trip. ... But while the creatures and scenarios in Woodring's world are fantastical, they're drawn with the precision of a woodcarving, black-and-white space shaded with ever-present wavy lines. This precision is crucial, with no words to guide the story — as an exercise in purely visual storytelling, Weathercraft is both challenge and reward." – Alison Hallett, The Portland Mercury
- Reviews | 6 stylish collections embrace the wild and the whimsical - Books - MiamiHerald.com "Woodring's wild and wordless story [Weathercraft] seems awfully lysergic, but his stunning symbolism and amazing line work is clever and crafty. Manhog, the creature starring in the strange story, is hardly sympathetic, but Woodring's imagery evokes amusement, bemusement and wonder." – Richard Pachter, The Miami Herald
- WEATHERCRAFT: A FRANK COMIC "Regarding the artwork, finally, it is once again amazing. Creatures and landscapes seem to spring from the most disordered imagination and land on white paper before diving in a bucket of surrealism. So [Weathercraft] is yet another excellent work by Woodring..." – Thomas Papadimitropolous, Comicdom (translated from Greek)
- Blog Flume: Weathercraft "Read [Weathercraft] a third time, thinking about Woodring’s video commentary, and recognize how cohesive it is. There’s a real clarity to the plot and to Woodring’s character designs and panel compositions. You will think that, in some way, the key to much of this is the artist's omnipresent wavy line, but will be unsure." – Ken Parille, Blog Flume
- Jim Woodring’s “Weathercraft” "[Jim Woodring] has been called one of the great cartoonists of his generation and at this point, there’s little doubt of his visual storytelling prowess. But it’s the intense, visionary images and worlds that spring from his mind and on to his pages that truly separates him from his peers. ... Weathercraft, like all his Unifactor stories, is absolutely wordless. It’s a quiet, cosmic adventure that relies on Woodring’s extraordinary control of visual language and blends his understanding of Vedantic beliefs with stylized, Max Fleischer nightmares to explore ideas about the evolution of consciousness." – Paul Rios
- Rod McKie Illustrations and Cartoons: Weathercraft and Nutwood; world's apart? "[Weathercraft], which centres on the evolutionary and spiritual journey of Manhog, is breathtakingly original, and looking at it just brings home to me how timid many of us in this business are. ... These works, Weathercraft and Rupert [the Bear], should be poles apart, and yet they have much in common; both are brilliant ideas, both are brilliantly drawn, both 'exist' in fully imagined worlds, worlds familiar enough to be like the world we know, but different enough from the world we know for magic to happen. It may be a fanciful notion on my part, but I can see much more craft in these two magical comic creations than chaotic meanderings, and I'm relieved." – Rod McKie
- HEY, READ THIS!: Jim Woodring’s Weathercraft | Neon Monster Blog "With Woodring’s skill, I never found myself confused [by Weathercraft], at least, more than you’re supposed to be. I’ve never read a statement by Woodring saying this, but I always got the impression he wanted you to work for the meaning behind his stories. Even if it’s not the case, I highly enjoy the process. In one graphic novel, I got what I think may have been a love story, a treatise on spiritual enlightenment and sometimes just a whole lot of fun." – Joe Keatinge, Neon Monster
- Description Is a Myth: Weathercraft - comiXology "For those who find the work involving enough, Weathercraft will resonate with them on some emotional level — there's moments that unnerve, moments that touch — and while it is an immersive experience, the comic, especially in its hardcover form, operates most like a testimony of events. It's a comic, through and through, but it hews closer to a religious tome than it does a Love & Rockets installment." – Tucker Stone, comiXology
- Cartoon City by Paul Constant - Books - The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper "Rather than a narrative arc, with ascensions and declines, Artichoke [Tales] feels like a series of expansions. The characters and their world grow to envelop the reader in a singular, charming way." ... "Without a single word, Woodring tells an enormous tale of redemption and heartbreak. Weathercraft crackles with the power of myth, and it extends far beyond its pages with a life of its own; one could imagine a postapocalyptic culture forming an entire religion based on this one thin book. You've never read anything quite like Weathercraft, but at the same time it feels eerily familiar, like a dream you had last night." – Paul Constant, The Stranger
by Jim Woodring: A Long Overdue Trip [Review] - ComicsAlliance | Comics
culture, news, humor, commentary, and reviews "Weathercraft is at once far wilder and more subtle than I could have imagined. The imagery and the surroundings are more hallucinatory, the mixture of cartoon-cute and skittering, undulating grotesquerie more effectively creepy, and the characterizations and themes more layered and nuanced than any version of this book that played out in my head. ... Weathercraft paints small moments of beauty and mystery on a huge canvas of twisted wonder." – Jason Michelitch, Comics Alliance
- Attentiondeficitdisorderly "Part theater of cruelty, part joyous liberating revolution, Jim Woodring's freakishly beautiful Weathercraft is at once the most direct and most elliptical of his Frank comics that I can remember reading." – Sean T. Collins, Attentiondeficitdisorderly
- Panel Mania: Weathercraft - 2010-03-29 21:20:00 | Publishers Weekly Publishers Weekly presents a 6-page excerpt from Jim Woodring's graphic novel Weathercraft. Observe as a newly-enlightened Manhog explores the Unifactor and encounters a startlingly familiar face.
- Jim Woodring: Alkymisterne | tegneseriesiden "To go into [Weathercraft] is like sticking your head deep in a witches' pot and letting your brain cook slowly. It is an attack that has the ability to flush from the visual into your other senses, it is like to smell and hear and above all feel with the eyes, synesthesia in cartoon form." – Janus Andersen, tegneseriesiden (translated from Danish)
"It’s all even stranger than [the] description makes it sound, but Woodring manages to make it all somehow convincing and compelling. There’s a consistent internal logic at work, and his cartoony-but-detailed drawing style, loaded with surreal imagery (think Walt Disney meets Carlos Castaneda) is the ideal vehicle to convey this hauntingly peculiar tale. And if it doesn’t all make perfect — or even imperfect — sense, its mysteries and subtleties reward repeat readings. Over the past two decades Woodring has created a dense and distinctive universe, and Weathercraft is perhaps its most rewarding portrayal yet." – Gordon Flagg, Booklist
"When most people try to employ dream logic in their work they fail miserably but Jim [Woodring] is great at it. The closest thing to a peer he might have is David Lynch but even that’s a stretch. Jim Woodring is the only Jim Woodring and no one has done what he does except for him. ... There’s not much point in trying to sum up the story of this comic. There’s no text, the art is beautiful, and you’re totally consumed by the world he’s created and you exist inside it while you’re reading it." – Nick Gazin, Vice
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