Classic comics

Classic comic strip in San Francisco Chronicle

Phil Frank, the creator of the “Farley” comic strip passed away in the company of his family on the evening of September 12th, 2007 after a battle with brain cancer.

A series of articles surrounding Phil’s cartooning career, his retirement and obituary may be accessed by clicking this link to visit a special Chronicle page.

FARLEY by Phil Frank


Having first run in 1975, first as a nationally syndicated cartoon and, for the last 22 years, as a local feature of the San Francisco Chronicle “Farley” was the only local daily comic strip in the country. With this format, a cartoon responding to changing news can be put in the paper for the next day’s edition. When syndicated, the lag time between drawing the feature and its appearance in print was five weeks.

A life-long interest in history has kept Phil involved with many groups and projects. For the past twenty years he has been a steady volunteer with the Sausalito Historical Society where he has given many talks and created a number of videos about Marin. As the acting Exhibitions Coordinator for the Bolinas Museum’s History Collection he has created a dynamic one-room exhibit incorporating found objects, photographs and documents from as early as the 1900’s. In conjunction with this exhibit he has done extensive research on the Briones family who originally owned the majority of what we now call Bolinas in western Marin County. This research evolved to the cooperative publication of Bolinas and Stinson Beach, printed by Arcardia Press. In October of 2008 they published a second historical title by Phil, The Houseboats of Sausalito Other history-oriented projects include a series of cartoons for True West Magazine, maps for an upcoming printing of A Sense of the World .

local feature of the San Francisco Chronicle

The Elderberries, which was drawn by Phil and written by Joe Troise is still in print – Cory Pandolf has taken over the cartoon which runs in may national newspapers. In November of 2008 a compliation of these cartoons was published under the title The Elderberries: A Cartoon Collection.

During the 1980’s Phil created another strip entitled Miles To Go centering on a large, friendly and footloose dog named Miles. The cartoon chronicled his adventures and humorous interactions with those he would meet on his travels.

Phil was a resident of Sausalito, just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, since 1973 when he moved onto the houseboat, the Ameer, with his wife Susan. Both of his children, Stacy Frank and Phil Frank have benefitted from a creative upbringing – each have explored artistic careers as well.

There have been five collections of “Farley” comic strips produced over the years. There are two currently in print: I’m Ink, Therefore I Am and Fur and Loafing in Yosemite – these can be purchased directly through this website along with the out-of-print Don’t Parade on My Reign and Eat, Drink and Be Hairy.

Phil’s cartoon illustration, either incorporating characters from the comic strip or drawings designed for the specific client have illustrated materials for the de Young Museum, the S. F. City Treasurer, Small Business Bureau, minority businesses, BART, the San Francisco Giants, the San Francisco Water Conservation department, numerous regional utility companies and extensive educational materials for Yosemite National Park.

Phil has had long ties to the park system, initiated by the comic strip. He’s a member of the board of the Yosemite Association and is an honorary California State Park Ranger. Susan Frank wrote a series of four guidebooks to National Parks (Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Muir Woods) which Phil illustrated. Well received, the series was reissued by Avalon Publishers by 2008.

Phil’s art can also be seen in past issues of Road and Track and True West Magazine.

Interested in learning about the Sausalito Houseboats from Phil?  Click here to see and hear him in a YouTube video.
To view and hear Phil’s Washington Square Park memorial in San Francisco on YouTube click here. For the SFGate.com video click here.
To learn more about Phil’s history click below to read more articles and proclamations:

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