Robert Thaves was the creator of the comic strip Frank and Ernest, which began in 1972.
Thaves' desire to become a cartoonist began in his childhood. He had no formal training; instead, he practised by studying and drawing the works of other cartoonists. He was so skilled he could identify the cartoonist of a comic strip without looking at the signature.
Robert Lee Thaves was born on October 5, 1924, in Burt, Iowa, where his father, John, published local newspapers. He attended the University of Minnesota, where he received both a bachelor and masters degree in psychology. While still at university, the first of his cartoons were printed in magazines. He continued to be interested in cartooning, and developed the Frank and Ernest strip while working as an industrial psychologist.
Frank and Ernest began appearing in magazines as early as the 1960s. It was first nationally syndicated November 6, 1972 and was eventually carried in 1,300 papers. It was the first single panel strip to appear in the "panel" format, and the first to use block letters for its dialogue.
He also drew the short-lived King Baloo strip, which ran during the 1980s. Its format was identical to Frank and Ernest, but featured the titular King.