The Umpteen Millionaire Club: Discussion Questions for Fran
Friday, 06 December 2013

Fran by Jim Woodring

[The Umpteen Millionaire Club is our series which puts forth book club discussion questions for Fantagraphics titles. Our interns Keith Barbalato, Lillian Beaty, and Sonya Selbach put together this set of questions. - Ed.]

Rendered in vivid black and white (though it evokes psychedelia), Jim Woodring's Fran depicts a story of love, loss, and healing — all in wordless panels. From one page to the next, Woodring builds a fantastical world Frank readers will be familiar with: the Unifactor is the landscape against which Fran and Frank's love plays out. In Fran, the impetuous titular character drags reluctant Frank along on adventures that clearly depict two very different people trying to find common ground, despite Frank's wish for total honesty and Fran's desire for complete privacy.

What effect does having no words in this comic have?

What does the mysterious "memory device" represent?

Why is Fran so against having this "memory device" on, and why is Frank so forceful about her wearing it?

Do Fran and Frank transcend gender roles? If so, how does Woodring depict this?

What is the nature of their relationship?

How do their personalities complement each other, and how do they clash?

How do Fran and Frank interact differently with their environment?

Who is the "many-eyed-man"?

How would you characterize Frank's relationship with his pets?

What purpose do the pets serve in Woodring's narratives?

In the end, why is Frank so happy to be home?