Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Hidden Treasures: Frazz

Frazz by Jeff Mallet is a great comic strip. The only people I know who’ve even heard about it are those fortunate souls I’ve gotten hooked on it. It’s centered on elementary school janitor Edwin “Frazz” Frazzier and his relationships with the children and teachers of the school. He spends the majority of his time talking to Caufield – a brilliant 8-year-old who is unchallenged by formal schooling. The main theme of the strip is discovery, not just learning.

The artwork and some of the themes Mallet touches upon remind many readers (including me) of Bill Watterson’s brilliant Calvin & Hobbes. Absurdist humor, pointing out the cluelessness of adults, and frequent literary references are par for the course. Some examples of the last one come from Caufield himself. First off, he’s named after J.D. Salinger’s Holden Caufield. Second, every year he dresses up as a character from literature for Halloween (Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird, Santiago from The Old Man and the Sea, Dorian Gray, etc). And third, you get frequent strips like this one:

Some of my favorite strips lean toward the social commentary side. See these on junk mail, the PT Cruiser, and these I want to pull out on math:

and this one that works on several levels:

If you’ve never heard of Frazz, do yourself a favor and check it out for a week or two. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

No comments: