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Graphic Novelty²

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Kelly Bastow

Manfried Saves The Day

Manfried The Man was a quirky graphic novel about cats and humans having their roles reversed. In this second graphic novel Steve, an anthropomorphic cat, and his pet man, Manfried return to save a man-shelter from being closed.

Steve’s cartooning work is taking off, as his drawings of his pet Manfried are becoming popular. A former slacker, he still struggles with work deadlines and life responsibilities, but his romance with his neighbor Henrietta is promising. When a rich developer puts Henrietta’s man-shelter in danger, the two of them plus some friends band together to raise money to save the shelter. An upcoming pet show with an unrealistically high money prize seems to be the answer to their prayers. Will Manfriend save the day by winning best in show?

The artwork is clean, simple and attractive; always with a six panel layout per page. I am so used to graphic novels having layouts that vary from splash pages to atypically placed panels that this setup is refreshingly simple. The juxtaposition of the roles leads to clever sight gags with the little men. Seeing the men dressed up in adorable Halloween costumes, to aid in their adoption at the shelter, was by far the best part.

The first book was more nuanced than I expected, but this second outing was a bit trite and had a Hallmark movie feel. Yet, if you are a fan of Manfried from the first graphic novel or the author’s Tumblr page, you will enjoy this sweet story about the men’s adventures. Thank you to NetGalley for the chance to read an advance online copy.

-Nancy

(Aside- How do these men reproduce? No women or children pets have been shown. Curious minds need to know!)

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Manfried The Man

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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