Frazz by Jef Mallett
Type: Comic Strip
Frazz follows the adventures of an unexpected role model: Edwin "Frazz" Frazier, an elementary-school janitor who's also a Renaissance man. While he's sweeping the hall, he's whistling Beethoven. Or Lyle Lovett. He paints the woodwork in the classrooms; he paints a Da Vinci on the cafeteria wall. He's a trusted authority figure who is every kid's buddy. He took the janitor's job while he was a struggling songwriter, and when he finally sold a hit song, he decided to stay on at school.
Frazz won a Wilbur Award from the Religion Communicators Council in 2003 and 2005 for excellence in communicating values and ethics.
Jef Mallett is the creator of the famed Frazz comic strip. Frazz follows the adventures of an unexpected role model: Edwin "Frazz" Frazier, an elementary-school janitor who's also a Renaissance man. While he's sweeping the hall, he's whistling Beethoven. He paints the woodwork in the classrooms; he paints a Da Vinci on the cafeteria wall. A trusted authority figure who is every kid's buddy, he took the janitor's job while he was a struggling songwriter. When he finally sold a hit song, he decided to stay on at school. “Frazz is the anti-lowest-common-denominator comic strip,” said Mallett. “Not that it’s hard to understand; I just assume my readers are willing to think for their jokes and sweat for their fun.”
Originally from Michigan, Mallett found his passion for cartooning in high school, when he authored a daily comic strip for the Big Rapids Pioneer. He went on to become the art director and editorial cartoonist for Booth Newspaper’s Capital Bureau. He also wrote and illustrated the children’s book “Dangerous Dan” and triathlon guide “Trizophrenia: Inside the Minds of a Triathlete,” and illustrated the bike-racing book “Roadie.” His comic strip Frazz is a two-time winner of the Wilbur Award for Excellence in Religion in the Secular Media and was a 2004 finalist for the Reuben Award in the comic strip division. He lives in the Detroit metropolitan area and plans to continue racing and authoring Frazz .
Meet the Cast of Frazz
- Frazz Born maybe 30 years ago and christened Edwin Frazier, Frazz is the school janitor and Renaissance man -- a friend, role model, teacher, buddy, kid, grown-up and the only real authority figure in the school. Frazz took the job when things weren’t working out for him as a songwriter. He kept it when he hit it big. “I can’t imagine leaving Bryson Elementary. I love the kids. I love their energy. And there’s just not a lot of opportunity for eraser fights in the private sector.”
- Caulfield Born eight years ago and named after J.D. Salinger’s attitudinal protagonist, Caulfield is a handful. He is a genius, but hates school because it bores him. He loves Frazz because Frazz challenges him. Caulfield understands Marx’s theories of class division but can’t sit still through a class of long division. He spends a lot of time in detention discussing great books with Frazz. “School would be OK if it didn’t interfere so much with my education.”
- Mrs. Olsen Born just this side of the Pleistocene era, Mrs. Olsen burned out on teaching during the Jurassic era. Now she’s just marking time until the Retirement era. She hates her job, she hates her students, and she’s hated Frazz ever since he was her student. If she has a redeeming quality, it is that she exposes kids to life under a capricious, malevolent authority figure while they still have the resilience to overcome it. Their resistance only strengthens her bitter resolve. “That which does not kill me makes me stranger.” (sic)
- Mr. Burke Born to teach, Mr. Burke is the school’s best teacher and Frazz’s best friend. He doesn’t understand why Frazz still pushes a broom, but he can’t picture the school without him. His one-on-one basketball games with Frazz are masterpieces of dismal skills and stellar thinking; they’ll save the world before either sinks a basket. And they’ll save it one conversation and one kid at a time. “Education is a feast. I’m the chef and I’d just as soon serve the kids sweet potato pie.”
- Mr. Spaetzle Born yesterday, Bryson Elementary’s principal has all of the credentials, most of the skills, and nary a clue. He runs a smooth operation for a diverse and demanding student body, but he can’t seem to garner the respect he craves. Mr. Spaetzle wants to be looked up to. He wants to be liked. He wants to be Frazz. “I’d trade places just like that. But Frazz can’t balance a budget, and I can’t adjust a faucet without flooding the boys’ room. Allegedly. Nobody saw. Did they? Oh, geez.”
- Miss. Plainwell Borne on a breath of fresh spring air, this delicate flower... oh, gack. Start over. The first-grade teacher is also a first-rate babe. She’s cute, smart and sweet. She’s the only person who can fluster the unflappable Frazz, and the last person who’d want to. They’d be the perfect couple if they could just get past the preliminaries. “Does she notice me?” Frazz wonders. “Why do I find the scent of Lysol so alluring?”