Fashion sleuth, 1

While growing up in the 80’s I was very into comic books. Superheroes (and -heroines) were my preferred genre, but I read a wide variety of magazines, including many of the volumes by Franco-Belgian artists. One of them was FRANKA by the Dutch artist Henk Kuijpers. If you went to the comic book section in a public library, you would most certainly come across several FRANKA comics.

The Franka stories invariably take place in a hectic, modern, urban setting – usually in the world of fashion or flashy pop culture. Our heroine began humbly as a secretary in a Museum of Crime in a fictional Dutch city, but she soon moved to Amsterdam and settled down as a private investigator. In the later volumes especially, Kuijpers added more sex appeal to Franka’s stories. Throughout the series, she remains a modern single-woman, always dressed in trendy garments, and extremely resourceful when it comes to solving mysteries.

Kuijpers’s drawing style is clear and dynamic, yet crammed with details – and he is a master at depicting females in writhing, twisting positions. His characters always seem to be on the go, never standing still. Here’s an example – Franka changing into pantyhose and a short black dress, then being handcuffed by a security guard – from DE DERTIENDE LETTER (‘The Thirteenth Letter’, 1995). You’ll have to look closely to see the security guard slapping a pair of handcuffs on her.

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