Ben Rankel's first full length graphic novel, Frank is also the first graphic novel set during the Frank Slide disaster, one of Canada's most devastating natural disasters.The protagonist, Eve Lee is the daughter of Chinese and German immigrants and feels she has lived her life not fitting into either world of her parents. She is suffering from depression brought on by her lovers decision to leave her for another woman, and has turned to heavy drinking to blot out the pain. Barely able to keep her business going, Eve decides to pull herself together when her ex-lover disappears in dubious circumstances. As Eve follows the evidence and clues, warnings about a potential accident at the mine are unheeded as the operators look to maximize profits. Unknowingly, Eve is in a race against time to solve the mystery before disaster strikes.
There is increasing interest in Canadian historical titles, particularly graphic novels of which there are still far too few being published. When a well written and drawn book does come out, it stands out in the market because there is so little competition. How many other historical crime graphic novels are going to be released in Canada this season? None?
The lead character, Eve Lee, is a flawed heroine who is dealing with her emotional journey as well as the murder investigation and natural disaster. She adds much needed contrast to the usually male dominated historical fiction graphic novels available.
The artwork is gorgeous, contemporary and historically accurate at the same time. Ben is a gifted graphic novelist, soon to be amongst the most highly regarded, with Fiona Staples as his mentor to guide him. Eve Lee seeks to find out what really happened to her missing lover during the Frank Slide, one of Canada's deadliest natural disasters. A historical murder mystery. Eve Lee is in a self-destructive spiral. Her big plans for a new life in Frank have not turned out at all the way she had planned. Eve hits rock bottom when her former lover disappears under dubious circumstances. Pulling herself from the bottom of another bottle, Eve plays detective to find out the truth. Was it murder? And will she be able to find answers before the evidence and suspects are buried alongside her under Turtle mountain?
About the authors
Ben Rankel is a comic book artist & writer currently working on the original graphic novel FRANK (Renegade Arts Entertainment), a historical murder mystery during one of Canada's worst natural disasters. It's scheduled to be released in 2017. Other notable comics credits include two Rat Queens shorts: GARY (Image Comics) and The Absent King (Comixology), as well as Faulty Pump (Fight! Comics/Comixology).
His comics, illustration and design work for Sidney York's 2015 album 3s (HEARTS) was nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award. His comic work has also appeared in Avenue Magazine, GrainsWest Magazine and has been shown at the Roq La Rue gallery in Seattle.
Ben lives in Calgary, Alberta with his partner Fiona and their cat, Kupo.