Frank at Home on the Farm is a wild and unique book from publisher Mad Robot Comics. Created by writer Jordan Thomas and artist Clark Bint, Frank is a psychological horror mystery set in a 1920s rural England that is still recovering from the First World War.
Issue #3 is currently on Kickstarter, and I recently got the chance to catch up with Bint and ask him a few questions about the new issue and fundraiser.
MIKE PHILLIPS: What attracted you to the story?
CLARK BINT: I think what attracted me most was the character-study aspect to the story. That kind of focus can really inspire how the visual narrative pans out, and what kind of imagery can be used. A period piece setting also sounded like a nice challenge, and that wartime England aesthetic is one of my favourite things to draw in my sketchbooks. Knowing that the story was going to keep escalating — getting more and more wild — was also really exciting.
PHILLIPS: Did you have any specific inspirations when it came to approaching this story?
BINT: While I’m a huge fan of old horror movies, I actually try to find inspiration from other sources, since it can be easy to take inspiration of certain film imagery and musical cues, but hard to incorporate them into the comic format that well. Besides, Jordan’s script is solid enough that I don’t think I’ve needed to look particularly hard at other horror for inspiration. For Frank, I’ve been looking more at the actual horror show of WW1, as well as more classical works of landscape and portrait art from Constable, Bacon, Goya and others. Since I’m also from the English countryside, I know how isolating the middle of nowhere can be, so I kept those feelings in mind when setting a visual tone.
PHILLIPS: What have you found the most enjoyable part of working on the book?
BINT: Figuring out how best to capture Frank’s psyche has been a lot of fun, like planning out how he evolves visually. The more action-orientated scenes are obviously great to work on, but I’ve enjoyed the challenge of finding the visual equivalent of those for the quieter scenes — really stretching myself with some of the page layouts to make try and make every page offer something special. I’ve also enjoyed visiting petting zoos for research purposes.
PHILLIPS: How do you feel like your work has developed over the three issues so far?
BINT: It really has developed quite a lot over the last few issues, though to be honest I couldn’t really tell how it has, because it’s something I only look at retrospectively, and it’s not something I’m conscious of at the time. I have gotten faster at drafting though; I think that’s the one thing that stands out to me most of all. As a colourist, I’ve also gained more confidence with different light sources and palettes.
PHILLIPS: Do you have any particular favorite moments or characters you’ve drawn in these first 3 issues?
BINT: As far as #3 goes, there’s been a lot of great animal action that I’ve drawn, but I don’t want to spoil them for anyone — but, basically, if you liked the darker, more twisted parts of the first two issues, you’ll find a lot to like in this new issue. For the last two, I’ve really enjoyed the contrast between Frank’s world and Harold’s world, as well as just anytime I can get creepy.
(Once again, you can check out the new Kickstarter campaign HERE.)