Thursday September 20, 2007

Losses: Phil Frank, Robert Jordan

In September, the world lost two well-loved story tellers: Phil Frank and Robert Jordan.

Phil Frank, whose cartoons graced the pages of The Chronicle and other newspapers for more than 30 years, died Wednesday night only a few days after he announced his retirement because of illness.

Phil Frank dies - cartoonist who captured spirit of Bay Area - SF Chronicle, Sept 14, 2007

Author Robert Jordan, whose "Wheel of Time" series of fantasy novels sold millions of copies, died Sunday of a rare blood disease.

Author Robert Jordan Dies - SF Chronicle, Sept 17, 2007

Both will be missed.


Phil Frank

Phil Frank created Farley, a slightly rumpled newspaper reporter and occasional park ranger, along with a host of other characters: Bruce the raven, Baba Rebop (mystic), and my personal favorites, the bears: Alphonse, Floyd, Franklin, and Bruinhilda. Farley began his comic strip life in national syndication but moved to San Francisco the same year Rich and I did, becoming the only "local" comic strip in the country.

In 1985, Travels With Farley became simply Farley. Frank gave Farley a home in San Francisco, a job as a reporter on a newspaper called The Daily Requirement, a girlfriend named Irene and a cast of characters that included politicians, bears, a raven named Bruce, feral cats and assorted humans like Velma Melmac, a female camper who spent her time trying to make nature just like her suburban home. There were also the animals and visitors to Asphalt State Park, where Stern Grove, a martinet in a Smokey Bear hat, ruled with an iron fist.

His collection of bears ran a restaurant called the Fog City Dumpster in San Francisco and were rabid San Francisco Giant fans.

-- San Francisco Chronicle, Sept 14, 2007

As Jon Carroll, Chronicle columnist, says:

But, candidly, I liked the bears the best. They first appeared when Farley got a job as a park ranger in Yosemite; when Farley moved on to become a reporter on the Daily Requirement, the bears developed a separate existence, operating a Dumpster-based diner, hanging out in Yosemite and finally hibernating at the end of Giants season.

I cannot, in truth, remember all the plotlines of the various bear adventures. They were all sort of the same, which is OK: All the plotlines in Krazy Kat were real similar too, and it's still one of the two or three best newspaper comic strips ever drawn. At a certain point, the familiar becomes the eternal, and the eternal becomes comforting. Simple stories are the best, like the man said.

Phil Frank is survived by his characters. Books available.

Robert Jordan

Robert Jordan was a master world builder, creator of the world of the Wheel of Time. The bestselling fantasy series "is known for the extreme density of its plot, the intricate detail of its imaginary world and constructed languages, and complexity of relationships and interactions among characters." [c.f. Wikipedia]. The eleven books currently in the series, plus the prequel, span many years and thousands of miles in well over 8000 pages.

Jordan, whose real name was James Oliver Rigney Jr., ... turned his attention to fantasy and the first volume in his Wheel of Time epic, "The Eye of the World", was published in 1990 under the name Robert Jordan.

- SF Chronicle, Sept 14, 2007

I discovered The Wheel of Time series in 1990. The initial publication run of the 832 page "The Eye of the World" included a "sample" version - the first 20% of the book, available free at bookstores, to jumpstart anyone who wasn't quite sure they wanted to tackle the full-length novel. I not only came back to buy the novel but, when the spine cracked, I invested in the hardcover version. I own the rest of the series in hardcover as well.

The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose.... The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of time. But it was a beginning.

With this phrase, millions of readers have entered a world strikingly real, rich in detail and complexity—the world of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time. A world of kings, queens, and Aes Sedai—women who can tap the True Source and wield the One Power, which turns the Wheel and drives the universe: a world where the war between Light and Shadow is fought every day.

The Wheel of Time Series,

The twelfth, as yet unfinished, book was planned to be the final book in the series. There is hope that this book will see publication. Jordan apparently shared the entire story with his wife and cousin, as well as leaving a partial manuscript and copious notes.

[He] said that Jordan has been dictating outlines and plot lines and everything else related to the final book. He used the phrase "army of writers" to talk about the people that were converting those tapes into written form.

It would appear that the final book will still be published, I'm sure details regarding that will work themselves out. So please be patient (as challenging as that might be), and for now let's focus on Jordan's life, writing, and the joy he brought to us.

-- wotmania

I hope to see the end of the story in print. It would make a fitting tribute.

Losses: Phil Frank, Robert Jordan ( in category Books, Movies, Music , Noteworthy ) - posted at Thu, 20 Sep, 10:28 Pacific | «e»