Frequently Asked Questions

Background information about Frank & Ernest is presented below for the following:

General Information about the strip

Frank & 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.

Frank & Ernest peaks with a unique voice that reflects the strip's iconoclastic - but lovable - attitude combined with timely - and timeless - humor. Wordplay often adds extra entertainment value.

A tradition of innovation continues to sustain the strip's vitality. When it debuted in 1972, Frank & 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). The strip's first web site has extended the innovative tradition in three ways:

  • First translation of syndicated comic strip characters to 3-D format.
  • First availability of an interactive version of a strip first published in the newspaper.
  • First searchable database of syndicated cartoons.

Who knows what the future will offer!

Frank & Ernest is read daily by over 25 million people in1,200 newspapers in the United States andabroad.


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.

What traits do they share?

  • Observers.
  • Neither right nor left, but always off-center.
  • Nothing is sacred for them. Everything is fair game for their wit.
  • Respect society - but aren't afraid to point out its flaws.
  • Vacation plans likely to include renting travel videos and watching them on the couch.
  • Make fun of themselves - not others. Able to laugh at themselves.

Frank - the taller of the pair

  • Talkative, gregarious, uninhibited, self-centered.
  • Happily self-deluding. Fools nobody but himself, but that's good enough for him.
  • Has a girlfriend, Francine, but can't seem to have things go smoothly with her.
  • Lampoons pomposity.
  • Has unconscious wisdom. Has the correct answer to everything - but for all of the wrong reasons.
  • Precisely targets pretension.


  • Happy, lovable, innocent, easy-going, totally oblivious to himself.
  • Naively upstages Frank.
  • Pays no mindful attention to Frank's foibles.
  • Benignly punctures self-delusions.
  • Has worse luck with women than Frank does.
  • Often turns the table on Frank but is completely free of malice.

Creator, Bob Thaves (1924 - 2006)

Bob Thaves' preference was to keep the focus on the characters - not on him. But he agreed to let us tell you this much about him:

He 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. Frank & Ernest grew out of the magazine work that he did: he liked the variety and flexibility of the magazine format.

Towards the end of his life, Bob's son Tom began to collaborate on the creation and production of Frank & Ernest. Following Bob's death, Tom took over responsibility for the strip, working with a production team that had also worked with Bob for many years.


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Becoming a Cartoonist

There is no right or wrong way to become a cartoonist - but there are some things to keep in mind.

If you are lucky enough to have a successful strip, you will be working with the characters day-in and day-out for a very long time. So, it is critical that you enjoy the characters and what they are saying. If you don't like what you're doing, neither will your readers. Also, keep in mind that the drawing is only half of the battle. The other part is coming up something to say. To facilitate this, an aspiring cartoonist would be sell-served to know a lot about a lot of different things.

When you are ready to submit your work for review by a syndicate, you might want to start by getting a hold of "The Annual Syndicate Directory" published by "Editor and Publisher". It is probably in your library. This lists the addresses and telephone numbers of all syndicates. Contact them and ask about their submission guidelines - and you'll be on your way!


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