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Background about Bob Thaves

Bob Thaves' preference was to keep the focus on the characters - not on him. Bob's son Tom, who worked with Bob for many years and now collaborates with a team to create Frank and Ernest, agrees. But, while still working at the drawing board, Bob did agree to let us share this background about how Frank and Ernest came to be and the characters:

Bob 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.

Thaves' magazine cartoons have been supplemented by two comic strips and images from both are included here. The first, Frank & Ernest began in 1972. Thaves' second strip, "King Baloo" was distributed during the late 1980's and early 1990's.

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

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. The strip is distributed daily in over 1,200 newspapers.

tradition of innovation sustains 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 web site, launched in 1997, extended the innovative tradition in three ways:

King Baloo also reflects Thaves' inclination to break new ground. The strip was the first offered to newspapers in both the horizontal strip format and the vertical panel format. (Please note that only horizontal strips are included here - vertical formats will be provided upon request). This strip chronicles the antics of a lovable despot, his family and subjects. They live in a non-specific kingdon in a non-specific time and the characters are just as likely to comment on Anne Boleyn as they are Elvis Presley.

Frank & Ernest and Bob Thaves won numerous awards including three Reuben Awards for Best Comic Panel, the Mencken Award and Bob Thaves was selected as "Punster of the Year" by the International Save the Pun Foundation.


Frank and Ernest
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King Baloo
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