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Congress of the Animals Hardcover – June 15, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“...[T]he payoff... feels like a weight has been lifted from Woodring’s strange world, while the route he takes to get there is illustrated so beautifully it’s almost superhuman. It’s the happy ending he’s spent most of his career earning.” (Sean T. Collins - Robot 6)

“It takes a bit of daring to be willing to alter the status quo in a respected body of work and considerable talent to be able to do so in as assured manner as Woodring does here...” (Chris Mautner - Robot 6)

“I love the fact that Woodring has made a huge, fundamental change to the world of Frank, and that in doing so it still feels like an old familiar friend.... There’s no other comics quite like Woodring’s out there, and I’m forever thankful that we get these amazing, disturbing, wonderful creations from him.” (Greg McElhatton - Read About Comics)

About the Author

Jim Woodring lives in Seattle, WA, where he was recently won the Stranger Genius Award for literature for his graphic novel, Weathercraft. It was the first wordless novel to receive the award.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics (June 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606994379
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606994375
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #459,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By S. Wik on June 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of Jim's unique and unsettling visions since I first encountered JIM magazine in the late 80's, but I have to admit, it took some time for Frank to grow on me. At first I was more enamored of Mr. Woodring's illustrated text pieces such as Horse Sinister, and his lucid dream inspired pieces like What The Left Hand Did. But eventually Frank and The Unifactor won me over.

One thing I've heard people say about Jim's imagery is that it resonates with them in a strange way, with a slight tug of deja vu at the base of the brain, like they've experienced it somewhere before. Perhaps in a long forgotten dream, a repressed childhood memory or a hallucination experienced during a severe childhood fever. Count me among them. When I read Jim's work, I often feel a sense of strange memories *almost* being recalled, but remaining tantalizingly out of reach. It is as though the art is merely a "port" that my eyeballs "plug into," allowing mysteries of the universe to flow directly into my subconscious from a source behind the page.

Jim's work isn't just incredible storytelling and unique visual style, it's a complete language unto itself. The best way I can describe it is that Jim's work forces the reader's brain to employ different "muscles" for comprehension than any normal human is used to exercising (at least in Western culture). The literal brain is gently lulled into stasis by Jim's hypnotic linework, while other faculties such as intuition and the ones that allow us to "read" facial expressions and detect emotion and meaning in patterns and designs come to the fore, but are used in a more all-encompassing way to "read" an entire story with a degree of depth and nuance that mere words and pictures alone could never hope to convey.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Diamonddulius on June 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Woodring has put out 2 original books in a year... we are so lucky to be alive right now!! Jim is a master cartoonist who has his own language and style. He is completely original, much like Kirby, yet different than anyone else. His work gets better and better and this book is certainly no exception. Any description I might give pertaining to what actually happens in this books is moot... Jim's work defies description. His work is perfectly suited for comics and Jim is a cartoonist, first and foremost.

CotA is the continuation of the adventures of Frank, Woodring's bipedal anthropomorphic protagonist, who often finds himself flung into journeys through Woodring's mental landscape. These wordless stories are beautifully drawn in a semi-bigfoot style, comparable to an animated cartoon of the 40s/50s/60s, yet Woodring's imagery is wholly his own. The storytelling is simple and easy to follow, yet there's really no way to describe exactly what Frank encounters... this is the beauty of Woodring's stories.

Anyone who likes Woodring will like this book. Anyone who likes cartooning/comic books will like this book. Pretty much anyone should like this book... I can't imagine anyone not liking it, and I certainly don't want to be around anyone who wouldn't... and I hope Jim stays with the format of this book and it's predecessor, Weathercraft: A Frank Comic. One book a year by Woodring would be absolutely awesome!! Proof that unique cartooning is alive and well!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sam Quixote TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Frank's house is destroyed after a freak polo accident, causing him to get a job at a factory to pay the costs of rebuilding it. But that wouldn't make an interesting book would it? Frank escapes and sets out on a journey of exploration of the wonderfully weird world of the Unifactor and falls in love.

Jim Woodring's follow up to the successful "Weathercraft" is another wordless, charmingly illustrated, surreal trip of a comic book. Everyone seems to be a strange monster and the further Frank delves into the Unifactor (the world Woodring created where all of his books take place in) the more confusing and bizarre the events unfolding become.

Woodring's style of highly detailed black and white drawings are gorgeous to look at and the story of someone leaving home and finding their place in the world, while as old as time, is given new life in this strange new world. If you've read "Weathercraft" or Woodring's "Frank" books you'll know what to expect and "Congress of the Animals" is as good as anything he's done previously. If you're new, be prepared to be bamboozled and fascinated by the uniqueness of the Unifactor.

Strange but beautiful, it's an interesting comic book that underlines how different Jim Woodring is from other comic book artists out there at the moment.
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By Brent Hill on February 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Congress of the Animals is my first exposure to Jim Woodring's "Frank" books. As this is a more recent title, I'm sure that I missed some of the significance of this story--as far as it relates to previous stories. Despite feeling a little disoriented (which I believe is somewhat intended), I found Congress of the Animals to be a wonderful exploration of graphic storytelling. Woodring shares the Alice-in-Wonderland-like journey of Frank, an old-style cartoonish animal. Each panel and illustration is beautiful, combining cartoony simplicity with dazzling and bizarre surroundings. There are no words in this book, but the lack of narration or written dialogue adds to the power of this story. My favorite part was actually a twelve panel spread in which Frank has a conversation with another character. There are no words, but Woodring's art makes the elements of the conversation clear through the characters faces and body language. It is astounding! I found this title inoffensive, but there is some minor gore and nudity (detailed human insides, less detailed human outsides). This book is a treasure! Come and enjoy its well constructed narrative and deep, entrancing pen and ink visuals. You may experience disorientation, but it's likely you'll be left begging for more!
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