Quirk Books proved to be an apt publisher for this quirky graphic novel about cats and humans having their roles reversed.

Steve Catson is a slacker who has a dead-end job but loves his man, Manfried. When his chubby ginger disappears out a carelessly left open window, Steve is distraught. He needs to own up to his failings and find his man,  and in so doing he is able to help the local Man Shelter and find a new career path.

The artwork is clean, simple and attractive; typically with a six panel layout per page. The cats who portray the pet-owners walk on their hind legs and live just as you would expect humans would. It’s the little men, that will make you pause and laugh, as it’s quite odd to see naked men acting like cats. While the artist draws that cats in various colors as you’d expect to see, it’s the men (never women) drawn with different body types, ages, and nationalities that make the panels distinctive. And instead of a meow, the men always say “hey” to one another or to their cats to get their attention.

The book proved to be a more nuanced than I originally thought it might be. The front cover let’s you know this is a graphic novel, not a collection of strips , as many might expect. While stand alone strips with this role reversal would certainly be funny, this longer narrative lets you move past the juxtaposition of the roles, and you really start to connect with the characters. The story makes you root for Steve to grow up and get Manfried back. I definitely would welcome more stories about these two. Thanks to NetGalley for this clever book!

-Nancy

Image result for Manfried the Man book
This strip is from the creator’s Tumblr site, not the book
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