I also use 8.5 and did the Franky Tutorial. I'll help anyway I can. Instead of a modeling menu set, you will use the surface menu set (for head and body-nurbs) and the polygon menu set (for shoes and hands-polygons). When you drag, don't use the left mouse button (lmb), use the midle mouse button (mmb). Once you successfully drag the franky image onto your image plane, you'll have to press the number 6 to see it.
You said that when you select the franky file, that your sample stays black. Make sure that you're selecting the correct file (should be a jpeg file)
Let us know if you have more questions.
Don't be satisfied with what you can do but rather strive to do the things you can't do!