Mood Ring: FRKO’s Classified Personals

By January 23, 2020
Artist FRKO in his Atlanta studio. Photo by Erin Jane Nelson.

Being Black is hard. Being Black in Atlanta—despite the city’s oft-lauded status as the Black Mecca—is hard as hell. The vultures are flying down all the way from New York and L.A. to pick at our soft skin, and shouldn’t we be excited to be chained to a rock, having them drink up our culture and then leave us to bleed? Every year it gets harder and hotter, and none of it, in any way, is our fault. Aren’t we oh so happy

Re:Focus a photo exhibition on view at Swan Coach House in Atlanta through October 27

For this edition of “Mood Ring”, Burnaway asked Atlanta satirist and vicious lampooner FRKO to create a comic about the city in whatever form he felt appropriate. “Mood Ring” is an artist-driven column, and we are not in the business of requesting that an artist cater to us. That’s not what art is about, and it’s not a precedent we would like to set, particularly in a column we created with the express purpose of inviting artists to experiment and play.

In FRKO’S Classified Personals, the artist confronts the rapid gentrification of the West End, jungle-fever-addled pornographic fantasies, and brutal racial horror à la Get Out—doing it all with cutting, dark humor and sharp linework. This comic is X-rated, unflinching, and hysterical.  There are no heroes, there are no good people, and most of all, we are all part of this in one way or another.

— Jasmine Amussen

FRKO’s installation in Blurred Memories of a Vivid Past, a 2018 group exhibition at Atlanta Contemporary.

Classified Personals: Death By Dick (Special Edition) is a mature comic set in Atlanta, Georgia, during present day, in a similar but alternate dimension. I came up with the concept for the “Classified Personals” series after reading Backpage and Craigslist horror stories on Reddit: stories of how men would respond to escort ads in the classifieds, go to the designated spot, and be murdered in some grisly yet creative way. These stories intrigued me since I grew up in Atlanta as a child of the Freaknik era; I was very interested in sexual encounters and mishaps. I was raised on the Eastside of Atlanta between Stone Mountain and Decatur, where there were motels that were known to cater to escorts and prostitutes. During that time—unbeknownst to me—it wasn’t a crime to call yourself a pimp in Atlanta. As a small child I listened to rap songs with lyrics about pimpin’ hoes, shooting up niggas, and bragging about fuckin’—so I learned to look out for the hoes and, not far behind, I would often find the mind-manipulating pimp always on their case. 

Re:Focus a photo exhibition on view at Swan Coach House in Atlanta through October 27

As the writer and illustrator of “Classified Personals,” however, I am the pimp creating and controlling every situation that I place my characters in. In the comics, there are always (depending on who you are) some unsavory scenes. I create the comics with such an immediate climax to hit the deepest, darkest points of your soul, the parts that you sometimes allow your mind to ponder when you are not supposed to, according to the PC (AKA politically correct) culture we now live in. I want my readers to question their existence, reality, and what we are all here for, if it isn’t to be the sick bastards that we all are inside. At the end of every comic someone has to die or, in my comic universe, start over in another place in Time. A “Classified Personals” comic will always be discontinued because there’s a whole ‘notha cast of characters coming (or should I say cumming) in the next issue. 


Click the link below to view or download FRKO’s comic. This artwork contains explicit language, sexual content, and other elements some readers may find offensive. Your discretion is advised.

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