A comic strip in 9 panels. In the first, Franky Banky, a cartoon fox, is on a coffee date. Between him and his date is a large elephant taking up a lot of space causing everyone to be squished. Franky Banky is saying “I enjoy snnnn… uh, winter sports.
The girl replies by asking, What kind of winter sports?
Franky Banky replies, Uh… sn, sn, sledding.
His date replies by asking, What else do you do? While Franky Banky thinks to himself, my foot fell asleep.
He replies, Um, I also stuh stuh stuh stutter. She thinks to herself, oh!
The elephant suddenly pops out of existence. Franky Banky’s date happily replies, I had a kid in my class who stuttered!
Franky Banky happily replies, Ssssso did I! But I didn’t know if that cow cow counts. It wa wa was me!. His date lauhgs and replies, Hee hee hee You’re so funny!
Franky Banky says I also love snnnnnnn, snowboard… ding. Especially the half-pipe and fffffreestyle. To which his date replies, That sounds like fun! I’ve always wanted to try those!
The narrator says, “And long story short, they went snowboarding and Franky Banky taught her a few tricks and it was all nice and romantic like a Hallmark Christmas movie until the girl went down a hill so fast that she crashed into a cave and woke up a hibernating bear who started an epic chase which pretty much ended the date.” This is accompanied by a silhouette of the two being chased by a bear in the sunset.

Author’s commentary

The elephant in the room. An expression describing a situation where there is a topic or difficult situation that everyone in the room knows about but doesn’t mention it. It’s what happens sometimes when we meet someone for the first time, we stutter, we feel awkward about it, the person(s) we are talking to may feel awkward or sense something is going on, and this uncomfortable feeling continues throughout the conversation.

…Until the stuttering is mentioned.

I’ve been through this uncomfortable situation many times. No matter how much I switched words or avoided saying certain words and gave the impression that I spoke fluently, I just didn’t feel good at all. My conversations became a game about proving myself worthy of talking to people instead of something fun. It was as if I was trying to live up to some unwritten/perceived standard of speech.

All that changed as soon as I started telling people that I stuttered. Not only did the elephant leave the room, my stuttering became an interesting trait about me. The people I was speaking to saw me as a brave, courageous person. My theory is they may be imagining how they’d live with a stutter and probably feel they wouldn’t be able to do it.

So another win!

And more importantly, sharing that I stuttered creates a mutual feeling comfort. If the people notice that I am okay with my stuttering, then they feel they can be okay with it, too. Then we are all at ease with each other.

Yet another win!

This was also my first time giving colouring comics a try. I decided to try a watercolour brush in the Procreate app. I was hoping to create a similar colour palette and style as in The Big Bad Fox and Ernest & Celestine. I’ve got a long way to go!

Expect more appearances of the elephant in future Franky Banky comics!

January 19, 2024


Daniele Rossi's artistic signature
An illustration of the author standing next to a pile of sketchbooks. Franky Banky is sitting on top reading one of the books. Ti-Ger is sneaking around the bottom.