It's another entry in Panel Patter's SPX SPOTLIGHT series! We've been highlighting creators, publishers, and comics related to SPX since the site opened in 2008, but 2015 marks our fifth year of extensive coverage that is unlike what you'll find elsewhere! It's a great way to create your own personal guide for the show onSeptember 19th and 20th, 2015, in Bethesda, Maryland. Don't miss it! You can find all our SPX SPOTLIGHT posts here.
Everybody loves their pet - some people can be a little more vocal about it than others. We all know that person who will talk about their dog, cat, hamster, goldfish, or what-have-you at length. This is a legitimate thing, pets are great. They make us feel better and give us an excellent sense of companionship (for the most part). The existence of the internet and the prevalence of internet culture in our daily lives has made pets, especially cats, even easier to share and obsess over. Cats are everywhere. I can say with certainty that I have personally not gone a day where I accessed social media (or the internet in general, let’s be honest) without seeing a cat. Cats have become celebrities, with some like Grumpy Cat or Lil’ Bub making more money than I will likely ever see at once. Soon to be among their star studded but oh so fuzzy ranks, I believe, is Rachel Duke’s cat Frankie, the inspiration behind her series Frankie Comics.
Now is as good a time as any for full disclosure: Rachel Dukes is a personal friend of mine. I believe that Rachel is one of the most inspirational, supportive, and talented people I know. Frankie is an adorable cat, whose antics provide ample inspiration for Dukes’ comics. It is easy to see Frankie the character in Frankie the cat, who is equally as charming in her real form as her comics form. Very few animals I have met have as much personality as Frankie does, as such, she is thoroughly deserving of the comics she is a star of. Right now, there are three issues of Frankie Comics you can get your hands on, with a fourth from a recently finished Kickstarter on the way – or, if you are so inclined, you can read a great deal of the shorts online.
As a frequent contributor to anthology projects, Rachel Dukes has a great deal of varied work. It was her story, Shiny, that appeared in Maple Key Comics #1 that introduced me to her work, and is still one of my favorite things she has done. Over the last couple years, Dukes has had comics in To Boldly…, Symbolia, and SubCultures, as well as the upcoming Beyond and Oath anthologies. She has contributed illustrations to My Radio Zine and Mermaid Zine, among others, and variant covers for a variety of Boom! Studios books. Sometime in the near future, Dukes will also be releasing her first graphic novel, Let Me Walk You Home. Along with Frankie Comics #4, the aforementioned recently completely Kickstarted campaign also funded some quite adorable Frankie Dolls.
Rachel Dukes is one of my favorite creators, and one of my favorite people in comics right now. Her passion for comics and cartooning comes out in her consistently quality work, and she support and love she provides for the cartooning community is important and helpful to a great deal of cartoonists. I thoroughly hope that if you are at SPX that you stop by her table, and if not, take a look at her work and enjoy what you see.