Phil Frank, the artist behind the local Farley comic strip, is retiring because of a serious illness that has kept him confined to his home in Sausalito for several months and has made it impossible for him to continue to draw, the Chronicle reports. Frank, 65, has been drawing Farley for 32 years. That's more than 9,300 comic strips.
Farley, a rumpled newspaper reporter who lives in a San Francisco apartment with a wisecracking talking raven named Bruce, comments on the local scene, especially politics. Willie Brown was Frank's all-time favorite mayor, appearing in the strip as an emperor surrounded by spear-carrying flunkies. "Willie," Frank once said, "was a gift from the cartoon gods."
In 2005, Frank and cohort Joe Troise created a nationally syndicated comic strip, the Elderberries, which addresses the funny aspects of aging. Frank and Troise's version of the Elderberries stopped running daily when Frank became ill about a year ago, the Chron reports. The strip and Farley have been running in the Chron as reruns. Outside of San Francisco, the Elderberries continues in about 75 papers with Corey Pandolph of Portland, Maine as the artist. (Photo credit: Eric Luse, Chronicle, June 2005)