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“Frankie Comics” Artist Rachel Dukes Gets Life With Cats — the Cute as Well as the Gross

Her simple yet expressive artwork conveys humor and sweetness we all can recognize.

Angie Bailey  |  Nov 11th 2015


At CatConLA this summer, a Catster editor gave me a couple of little comic books called Frankie Comics. They’re by artist Rachel Dukes, who had a booth at CatCon. My daughter studies animation in art college, and my editor thought she’d get a kick out of the fun illustrations and feline humor. Yes, my daughter did enjoy the comic books, but not until after I’d pored over the pages, wearing a perma-grin.

Dukes, a Los Angeles resident, has a bachelor’s degree in media arts and animation as well as a master’s degree from the Center for Cartoon Studies. I love that a place like that even exists. How cool is that? What I’m saying is that this Rachel Dukes artist is legit in all kinds of ways, as well as crazy talented when it comes to capturing the humor of living with cats. I write cat humor for a living, but if I could draw too? I’d be the queen of … something awesome, I’m sure. For now, I’ll let Dukes wear that crown.

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Rachel and Frankie

In the Frankie Comics issues, Rachel features life with her gorgeous kitty girl, Frankie. Cat lovers will immediately connect with the day-to-day humor that happens when we share our lives with felines. I can see my cats and me in nearly every panel.

None of us can deny that kitties are usually smarter than we are, and it’s pretty easy to read their looks. They let us know exactly how they feel about a particular situation. They tug at our heartstrings, guilt the heck out of us, and use finely honed manipulation tactics to get what they want. And we humans? Well, we’re total suckers. Dukes gets that, and I adore how she draws Frankie’s facial expressions, especially her eyes.

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You can get Frankie Comics on Duke’s Mixtape Comics site, which was created in 2001. The site was originally called Poseur Ink, and it served as a small press comic publisher and alternative apparel shop. As Mixtape Comics, the site is the home of all Dukes’ comics and illustrative work. In addition to the comic books, the site offers buttons, shirts, posters, belts, stickers, original art, and toys. There’s even a Frankie plush. For real, now — how cute is that?

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Four issues of Frankie Comics are available for purchase, with the fourth out just this week. The books are $3 per issue, except for the second one, which is $2. What a deal, right? Don’t you think these books would be perfect holiday gifts or stocking stuffer? I do. I plan to stuff Frankie into some stockings this year. Ew, that doesn’t sound right, does it? You know what I mean. I’m not about to stuff a cat into a stocking. I’ve even stopped trying to plop an elf hat atop my cat’s head, although the bright red, bloody scratch marks that come along with the elf hat can look sort of festive. Sort of. They’re … red?

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Another reason I love Dukes’ work? She’s not afraid to tackle the gross parts of our beloved fluff butts. You know, the poopy, gas-passing parts. I’m a 45-year-old Beavis, so this greatly appeals to me. The thing is, even though our cats sometimes stink and even drop an air biscuit (heh-heh) right in our faces, we love them tons and could never imagine life without them. Frankie Comics captures the sweetness and the sometimes-grossness all at once, and Dukes ties it together with her simple yet expressive illustrations.

So, you really need to read these comic books. They’re fun, witty, and priced right. Plus, I love that every purchase supports an independent publisher and artist who’s out there living her passion. Go, Rachel!

Read more by Angie Bailey:

About the Author: Angie Bailey is an eternal optimist with an adoration of all things silly. Loves pre-adolescent boy humor, puns, making up parody songs, thinking about cats doing people things and The Smiths. Writes Catladyland, a cat humor blog, Texts from Mittens (originated right here on Catster) and authored whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds, a silly book about cats wheeling and dealing online. Partner in a production company and writes and acts in comedy web series that features sketches and mockumentaries. Mother to two humans and three cats, all of which want her to make them food.