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Frank Bolle – RIP

Long time and prolific comic artist Frank Bolle has passed away.


Frank W. Bolle
June 23, 1924 – May 12, 2020

From the 1940s to the 1980s Frank’s comic book contributions were hard to miss, and during that time he also illustrated books and magazines. Not to mention a comic strip career that ran from the 1950s to 2015. He was not the flashiest artist, but Frank’s clean, distinctive lines and excellent storytelling graphics made for enjoyable comic continuity; and, given the time, he was a damn fine artist.

Frank’s work was seen at just about all the comic book companies and comic strip syndicates.
I don’t think the internet has enough bandwidth to list all of Frank’s work individually so
here’s Jerry Bails’ Who’s Who breakdown
and the Lambiek Comiclopedia biography.

 

Zeroing in on Frank’s comic strip credits:
On Stage
Rip Kirby
Debbie Deere
Alexander Gate
Children’s Tales
Best Seller Showcase
Encyclopedia Brown
Tarzan
Winnie Winkle
The Heart of Juliet Jones
Gil Thorp
Annie
Prince Valiant
Apartment 3-G

and probably others.

update:

Which comic strips did you work on?

I started out doing a strip called “Debbie Dear” and she was a lonely heart writer and she would get involved in some of the letters she got. I did that for about 4 years. Then I did “Alexander Gates”. He was an astrologist, I did that for a couple of years. Then one I enjoyed really was a thing called “Children’s Tales” and it was just a Sunday page where I illustrated some classics like Cinderella and Rumplestilskin and I did them in 3 parts so they would appear in 3 Sundays. And in between that I would also write original stories, so I wrote about 12-15 original stories then I would switch back and forth from classics to originals. Then I did “Winnie Winkle” for the Chicago Tribune. I did that for 20 years and that ended a few years ago. Today, I work on the “Prince Valiant” strip- I do some of them. it’s funny- I grew up reading, admiring and copying Prince Valiant and today I’m the one penciling them!

Joe Petrilak directs us to a Frank Bolle interview from around the turn of the century.

 

 

Community Comments

#1 Katherine Collins
June/10/2020
@ 2:07 pm

I would love to know more about Bolle’s work on Prince Val. I was never a fan of Murphy’s scratchy, itchy, angular work. Maybe I was blaming the wrong artist. I still cannot understand Foster’s choice of Murphy. It would have been better if he had chosen Gottfredson, or even Mort Walker.

#2 Ignatz
June/11/2020
@ 4:50 am

The first book I ever had was a telling of the Nativity Story called “Glory to God.” My parents got it for me in 1962 when I was four, and I still have it. I was looking through it recently for nostalgia’s sake, and was surprised to notice for the first time that the artist was Frank Bolle. I’ve been looking at that gentleman’s art for my entire life.

Rest in Peace, Frank.

#3 Hank Gillette
June/11/2020
@ 2:56 pm

Mr. Bolle did some excellent work in his career. I am saddened by his death, but also how King Features published the last year of Apartment 3-G which showed the significant decline in his ability to draw. Perhaps he needed the money, but King did his legacy a disservice by publishing the last few months of the strip.

You can see the last week of Apartment 3-G at the link above,

First and Last – The Girls in Apartment 3-G

#4 Mike Lynch
June/12/2020
@ 8:36 am

I met Frank a number of times in Connecticut for their monthly cartoonists’ lunch in Westport. This was in 2006 and ’07, and the group was composed of a number of cartoonists and friends including comic book artist Frank McLaughlin and great gag cartoonist Orlando Busino. Frank was just one of the nicest fellows and I noticed he listened more than he talked. One day my phone rang and it was Frank. He wanted to talk to me about markets and the internet. I think we chatted for about 20-30 minutes. He was curious about how a cartoonist used the web. I was amazed that he called me, and he was very polite and gracious, but also very serious about this. I don’t think there was a day in his life where he didn’t work. That’s the thing when you do what you love!

#5 Kip Williams
June/12/2020
@ 12:12 pm

Heritage Auctions recently displayed the original art for Wallace Wood’s try-out at Prince Valiant. They should have given him the job then and there. Not only was Murphy’s coarse style a poor follow-up to Foster’s exquisite renderings, but the stories got increasingly weak and silly. Magic kingdom where you change one letter of something’s name, so a wall becomes a well? Lord save us.

The present team of Mark Schultz and Tom Yeates is bringing life back to the strip, and more power to them.

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