Rachel Dukes is the writer/artist of Frankie Comics, a hilarious comic series about the misadventure of Dukes’ cat, Frankie. I raved about the series last year. She now has a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to produce plush doll version of Frankie, as well as put out the fourth issue of Frankie Comics. I figured I’d have a quick chat with Rachel about the project and the comic.
When did you first realize that comics about Frankie were something that could carry their own book? Was it something that came to you while working on them or was it a case where readers were asking for more Frankie?
I first started drawing *Frankie Comics* during my thesis year at The Center for Cartoon Studies. I was drawing them purely as an exercise – to keep myself in a work routine and make myself laugh. While I hoped readers would enjoy the strip I had no idea that they would catch on the way that they did. It wasn’t until I started seeing readers’ reactions to the strips that I understood the strip was something that could carry itself.
Are these stories all actual things that have happened with Frankie over the years, or are some off them fictionalized?
There are a few things in issue one that are complete fabrications but – by and large – the strips are all based on actual events.
I saw you went to a Cat enthusiasts convention recently, what was that like?
CatConLA was terrific!
I had a fantastic time selling *Frankie Comics* and meeting so many other cat-centric vendors. It’s hard to explain the whole experience. There were vendors of course: myself, Ink and Sword, Jenny Parks, Kimchi Kawaii, Martin Hsu, Pusheen… there were artists doing caticatures (drawing you as your favourite breed of cat) and caticures (cat-themed manicures)… there was a vendor having attendees taste (their brand of) cat food to show that it was made out of natural/good ingredients… but there were also serious/important things happening. There were on-site adoptions and FixNation was there promoting the spaying/neutering of pets. Oh! And how could I forget: Lil Bub
Can you tell us a bit about your Kickstarter campaign?
The Kickstarter campaign is fairly straight-forward. I want to raise $8,500 to fund a run of plush Frankie dolls and the printing cost for *Frankie Comic*s #4. The Frankie dolls will be 6″ tall and handmade. (The plan is to debut those at Comic Con next month.)
*Frankie Comics* #4 will be 20 pages of brand new Frankie comics. Black and white (half-toned) interior with a black and white cover on colour stock, just like the previous three issues.
I’m offering several different rewards aside from the doll and issue 4. There’s an exclusive 1.5″ button, a sticker, past issues of the comic, a t-shirt, and original art all in the standard reward tiers. If we make it past the initial goal there’s also stretch goal including new button packs, stickers, patches, and a tote bag.
Do you have any plans for a collected edition of Frankie Comics?
That’s the plan. I’m currently working toward finishing my first graphic novel, *Let Me Walk You Home* (which should be out from Abrams in fall 2015 or spring 2016), but once that’s completed the rest of 2015 is dedicated to *Frankie Comics*.
I’m hoping to draw another 150 pages or so, then pitch a large collected edition to publishers this fall (ideally for a 2016 release). Finger and paws crossed!
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