Manfried the Man
Written by Caitlin Major
Illustrated by Kelly Bastow
Review by Stephanie Cooke
The story of Manfried the Man turns the internet’s love of cats on its head by reimagining the world with cats as people and people as the cats. For instance, our lead character is a guy (err cat) named Steve Carson. He works a 9-5 office job and dreams of pursuing his creative passions.
Steve is the proud owner of Manfried… the Man who is his best friend and love of his life. I relate to this but like, as a person to cat type relationship.
Manfried, and other men pets, are just little people who live happy, carefree lives as domestic house men where they’re fed, loved, and pampered. They’re capable of saying “HEY!” pretty much and that’s more or less it.
The book is fun but honestly felt a bit long to me. It’s divided into four parts with each chronicling a pretty lengthy chunk of Steve’s time. Not over YEARS, mind you, but it got into minutia territory that I don’t think it needed to. The idea behind the story is neat and interesting but it dragged a little for me as they try to find ways to involve you in Steve Catson and Manfried’s lives. I think a story like this could’ve benefited from being a series of short stories like The Adventures of Superhero Girl, or Kate Beaton’s Hark! A Vagrant. I just didn’t feel like I was itching to turn the page as I read through.
Still, Manfried the Man has a lot of great messages in it such as keep working at the things you love, even if you’re not doing the things you love for work. And also love what you love and don’t let anybody else make you feel less of a person (or cat) for it. And there are a lot of different relatable moments in the book that I think people will really enjoy overall.
I also love Kelly Bastow’s art so freaking much. She’s got such a fun style and brings life to these characters for me. Her look and expressions for each character are purrfect (sorry not sorry) and she manages convey a lot of what’s going on with little dialogue and captions in quite a few places. I love when you see a writer trust their artist to tell the story and it pays off. I think the pairing between these two creators was fantastic and they worked well together to show us what a fantastic creator partnership should look like on the page.
Check it out. I wasn’t blown away by Manfried the Man but I did ultimately enjoy the concept, the art, and the characters. I wish it had been a little bit more to the point, or had even gone a little bit harder towards the comedy side of things, but it’s a solid book that’s based around a completely ridiculous premise.
Manfried the Man will be out in stores on May 1, 2018.