We recently connected with Brendon and Brian Fraim and have shared our conversation below.
Alright, Brendon and Brian thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. Can you talk to us about a project that’s meant a lot to you?
One of the comic book series we’re known for drawing is THE THREE STOOGES for the publisher American Mythology Productions. We were hired over five years ago and have been drawing interior pages and covers. We’ve found the series meaningful in that in our small way, we are contributing to their legacy as American comedy icons.
We’ve been watching and studying the old shorts because American Mythology has the likeness rights for the Stooges. Now, the characters in the comics can look like Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Howard instead of simple, cartoony caricatures. Most importantly, we’re spending a lot of time getting the references for the Boys. Doing a Google search can only get you so much. The best way we’ve found is to DVR episodes (in HD if possible) and photograph the screen with our digital camera. We’ve captured 100’s of pics of the Stooges from every angle. And we still don’t have enough!
Anyone can watch an episode today and still get a kick out of it. They were, and are, funny! The Stooges are the “everyman” in their short films; trying to make a buck in a desperate time, trying to help those who need it, trying to do the right thing, etc., and usually failing at it. Well, maybe not everyone can relate, but we can!
And now that we are older, there’s a bit of nostalgia that goes along with watching, and drawing, the Stooges as well. The fact that we are contributing to their pop culture legacy, even in our own small way, really means a lot to us. We’ve never worked on such a beloved property before and it’s very humbling to be doing so now. Especially with the comic series being so well received.
We were lucky enough to stumble upon the very entertaining documentary series “Hey Moe, Hey Dad!” put together by Moe’s son Paul Howard and C3 Entertainment a couple of years back. It’s been interesting to learn more about the Boys and to see how they were viewed by others. Everywhere we go, if the conversation turns to “what are you guys working on?”, and we say, “The Three Stooges comic book”, the person always reacts with a smile and will want to tell a story about how the Stooges affected their lives in a positive way. It’s happened to us at cons, with a repair guy at our home, and even while at an appointment with our tax accountant!
Another plus of working on the series is it’s led to us starting a creator-owned series with American Mythology called “Starring Sonya Devereaux.” Starring Sonya Devereaux adapts, in comic book form, each film in the fictional career of self-absorbed, B-movie scream queen Sonya Devereaux, America’s 306th Best Actress. No budget is too low, no dialogue too cheesy and no plotline too thin to keep Sonya from appearing in these straight to DVD flicks. From horror – to action – to erotic thriller, each issue is a laugh-filled send up of a different genre and movie, but they all have one thing in common: Sonya Devereaux and FUN! Okay, that’s two things. But just like gravy on mashed potatoes is delicious, Sonya in a crappy movie is hilarious! It’s co-created and written by our collaborators Todd Livingston and Nick Capetanakis.
Brendon and Brian, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
Identical Twin artists Brendon and Brian Fraim began their careers working on the first volume of THE WAITING PLACE from Slave Labor Graphics as well as KNIGHTS OF THE DINNER TABLE: The Magazine, their spin-off comic book KODT: ILLUSTRATED for 38 issues and hundreds of illustrations for Kenzer’s HACKMASTER Role-Playing game. Another RPG company they’ve worked for is Hero Games and their CHAMPIONS RPG systems. Brendon and Brian illustrated the Harvey Award nominated ANTIQUES: The Comic Strip and drew the comic book sections in the Random House novel, WOLF BOY. They also drew the web comic AMERICA JR. about a small town that discovers in its town charter that they joined the USA on a temporary basis, which expires, and now have to become their own country. They drew THE ODD SQUAD published by Devil’s Due, the three-issue series VAMPIRE, PA from Moonstone with new issues available from American Mythology, and KIDS OF THE ROUND TABLE from Action Lab Entertainment. Also, from American Mythology Productions, the brothers are the lead artists of THE THREE STOOGES and their award winning, creator owned book STARRING SONYA DEVEREAUX. They have contributed art to the OVERSTREET Free Comic Book Day comic for the last few years from Gemstone, as well as the annual OVERSTREET Price Guide. They have also drawn sketch cards for Upper Deck (Marvel) and Cryptozoic (DC). They are also the artists for the six-part digital comic THE FLIGHT found at http://acesweekly.co.uk/
We began our careers over twenty-five years ago by finding writers and publishers who needed artists and submitting samples. This was before the days of the internet, and we found places to send through the comic related newspaper the Comic Buyer’s Guide. We started on small publications and have been “climbing the ladder” ever since.
Brendon and Brian can do the pencils, inks, and lettering for comic book pages as well as a vast range of genres for role-playing games. We’ve drawn fantasy, science fiction, Western, African tribal, urban fantasy, and everything in-between.
One of the aspects of our comic book drawing is problem solving. When a writer has a specific idea of what they want to see on a comic book page, it’s our job to interpret that and make sure it comes across clearly. It’s called storytelling in the industry. A rule of thumb is that the story needs to make sense without the dialogue balloons, and that’s what we are challenged with on each page.
Being distinctive is no doubt the main challenge. There’s A LOT going on out there and having your own distinct voice, or art style, is very important to us. We want to be recognized by our drawing style. We’re known for our simple, clean line and are always working to maintain that. The styles of the comic book industry are always changing as well. Everything seems to be focused on hyper-details of the character’s costumes and equipment, like at DC’ and Marvel. So, it’s been an interesting challenge to adapt and grow. And we are both our own worst critics. We only see the flaws!
Brendon and Brian agree that they are most proud of working on the Three Stooges and getting the opportunity to work on their creator-owned series Starring Sonya Devereaux. We enjoy getting that script and working out the scenes, get the mood just right and giving the characters that perfect facial expression. It’s hard for both of us to imagine ourselves not drawing. Our family always asks us, “Don’t you want to go on vacation?” To which we reply, “We don’t feel like we need one. Drawing isn’t work!”
Looking back, are there any resources you wish you knew about earlier in your creative journey?
It would have been great to have the internet as it was new when we were in college in the early to mid 1990s and then starting our careers. The ability to Google anything we might need for reference is quite incredible. We can’t imagine life without it now!
Alright – so here’s a fun one. What do you think about NFTs?
To us both, NFT’s feel like a passing fad, nothing more. As collectors, as well as artists, part of the thrill of collecting is getting that physical item and adding it to your collection. An NFT is a digital file that anyone could get a copy of just without the chain code. And who cares about that?
- Website: www.brosfraim.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thefraimbrothers/
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- Other: http://comicartfans.com/GalleryDetail.asp?GCat=31754 http://brosfraim.blogspot.com/
Illustrations by Brendon and Brian Fraim. All trademarked characters that appear are copyrighted by their respective owners and with no intention of infringement on the trademark. Fraim Brothers photograph by Kendall Whitehouse.