Weathercraft

Jim Woodring, Author
Jim Woodring, Fantagraphics, $19.99 (200p) ISBN 978-1-60699-340-8
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A book that sticks with you like a virus, Woodring's newest collection of tales of vague morality and definite oddity keeps intact his status as one of comics most eccentric auteurs. The surreal universe of Frank, "the ignoble innocent who bends with the breeze, rolls with the punches and never learns tomorrow what he has already forgotten today," focuses here on Manhog. Formerly a sideline character, the squat, piggish, and eternally suffering Manhog gambols and charges through the landscape, eating most everything he comes across and suffering mightily for it. The malevolently grinning character half-moon–faced Whim particularly has it in for Manhog (capturing and torturing him) as do the Fates-like creatures Betty and Veronica, who conduct strange spells and experiments on the clueless creature. Woodring's wordless story is a looping and circumstantial affair, concerned more with fantastically rendered backgrounds—his starkly layered landscapes play like minimalist woodcuts of the deepest unconscious—than matters of plot and story. There is a creeping message of sorts, about the wages of greed and what happens to curious cats, but it's mired in a universe of deeply strange beauty and not always easy to divine. (June)
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