My favorite artist in the Universe is a guy named Jim Woodring.
So, my mom gave me this comic book called Frank. This was like, five years ago. Paperface was hopeful and ready for Imminent Rockstardom (read: naive little bastards) and piled in a van leaving for California when she handed it to me. She had happened upon it at a used book store (my mom is very big on used book stores) and apparently she thought it looked weird enough to be something I would like. And I read it, and I was very confused and annoyed. But then I read it again, and again, and probably fifteen more times by the time the van rolled into Los Angeles. Ever since, I’ve been clinically addicted to Frank. I’ve had to re-buy Frank collections many times because I’m constantly peddling the drug. Check out this sample.
Anyway, Mr. Woodring is from Seattle and I wrote him a letter. I wanted to get his mailing address, so my friend and I looked him up in a Seattle phone book. I didn’t think it would actually be him…I’m not sure exactly what we expected to happen, actually. But anyway, it was him. I called Jim Woodring’s home phone, and here’s how the conversation went to the best of my memory (I’m not making this up):
“Hi, is this Mr. Woodring?”
“You….you fucking, little retard. FUCK YOU.”
“Oh, sorry to bother you, I was trying to find your mailing-…”
“OH. Oh! I’m sorry, I thought you were my son.”
“He and I enjoy being rude to one other!”
Anyway, I mailed my letter, and he sent me a really nice letter back (needlessly apologizing for calling me a fucking retard), and included a pencil drawing of my soul!
Recently I played a gig in Seattle, and it was right near Woodring‘s comic shop! I went in, and asked if they had any Woodring stuff, and the guy behind the counter got excited and said, “You know Jim comes in here all the time, don’t you?” And then he proceeded to re-enact Woodring‘s apparently consistent pathway through the store, narrating as he went. Then he showed me his extensive Frank collection and I spent my last sixty dollars in cash.
Wodring. Frank. Jim. This is pure truth, folks, but nicely wrapped in an knee-slapping, mind-massaging, pretty package. It’s like peering at the fabric of reality through the disembodied eyes of Bugs Bunny. Highly, highly recommended.