Comic strip created by Bob Thaves in 1972
and still in syndication
in 1,300 newspaper
Plot: Frank and Ernest are two tramps/everymen in the tradition of
Laurel and Hardy or Vladimir and Estragon, who don't do much beyond comment on their environment.
Given that Thaves only uses one panel... there is no story, per se. Though Bob Thaves grew up admiring strips like George Herriman's Krazy Kat and
serial strips like Dick Tracy and Terry and the Pirates, it is the magazine format of cartooning
(Thaves had drawn cartoons for the Saturday Evening Post) that informs Frank & Ernest.
The strip was the first single panel cartoon to appear in a comic strip format and the first cartoon
to have recurring characters who were not bound in time or place. They are just as likely to appear in the strip in Ancient Rome as they are
in a modern day doctor's office-- any place that can provide material for the observational comedy and puns that the two
characters specialize in. Their names themselves are puns, reflecting their "frank" and "earnest" attitudes.
In many strips, neither Frank nor Ernest appear. It's not about them. It was never about them. It's about the gag.
The drawing is, well, it's not about the drawing. It was never about the drawing. The characters are drawn like many limited to the newspaper format, with heads roughly equal to the size of the torso. Frank and Ernest usually are built
on a triangle (their torso being twice as wide as their head), with enormous noses break up the line (in real life, the characters's noses would be the
size of grapefruits... which explains, IMHO, the failure of the 3-D rendered version of the strip at www.frankandernest.com- their noses aren't big enough to make them recognizable as their 2-D pen and ink counterparts). Frank is the taller of the two, and often has fuzz (not quite a moustache) under his nose.
Sources: Randall Brown , "Frank and Ernest Here to Stay," The Daily Beacon,