Frank Graphic Novel
Creator: Ben Rankel
Letterer: Ryan Ferrier
Publisher: Renegade Arts Entertainment
Review by Josh Rose
Set in the year 1903, in the small town of Frank, Alberta, Frank is the story of a woman who’s life has not gone according to plan. Eve Lee searches for her former lover–suspecting foul play has occurred. Meanwhile, Turtle Mountain looms over the town of Frank waiting to unleash a devastating landslide.
It’s a really neat thing to be able to visit real places you’ve seen in stories. It’s another thing to realize this story takes place in your backyard. I’ve had the opportunity to visit Frank a few times and climb the boulders that wiped out half a town. It’s amazing how Ben Rankel was able to look at that same place and craft a story.
Right from the beginning, Rankel drops us into the night of the murder of a well-liked miner, Ash. Then he introduces us to our primary antagonist, Lusie, and Eve’s former lover, Oscar. The following morning we meet Eve in the drunk tank. We follow her as she tries to find Oscar, to reconcile with him, but she only finds a boot and a knife covered in blood. Rankel gives us a nice plot twist at the end that was very subtle. It forced me go back and reread the book.
Rankel doesn’t use traditional artwork in Frank. Rather, he uses consistently fine linework and bright colours which Rankel describes as acidic in the back page of the graphic novel. He uses more dull colours to suit the setting, but incorporates those “acidic” reds and yellows to show intense emotions, blood, and to focus the reader’s eyes on specific areas of the panel. One panel I particularly enjoyed shows Officer Gil pacing and in a different position between the prison bars as he lectures Eve.
While the red lettering to show minor actions or swearing feels amiss, most of Ryan Ferrier’s lettering is excellent and doesn’t distract from the art.
The Verdict: Buy It.
Frank is a great mystery that revolves around one person’s dedication to find out the truth of what happened to their ex–all set against a backdrop of early Albertan history. As much as it’s a mystery about what happened to Oscar and who murdered Ash, it’s also a story driven by Eve’s character development.
Frank is available for preorder here, and will be in stores May 18th, 2018.