Manny + Bigfoot
by Meghan Hogan
This weird and beautiful little comic is as interesting to touch as it is to read.
Maybe you can recall a few years back when elephant dung paper first hit the market. From the buzz, I thought Mr. Ellie Poo’s paper would be in use all over the place, but Manny + Bigfoot is the first mini I’ve seen made with the stuff.
Poop as paper inspires an odd fascination, but also a whoop of joy from environmentalists and animal lovers. As noted by the Huffington Post, “…a tenth of the mere 40,000 Asian elephants worldwide live in Sri Lanka, where they’re killed due to their interference with agriculture. There’s no major ivory trade, and Sri Lankans don’t eat elephant meat, so the sole factor that elephants are being exterminated is because they’re a nuisance.” In other words, having its poop harvested for paper is one way an elephant becomes a useful member of society. If only it was that easy for the rest of us.
As a vegan bicycle commuter, Meghan Hogan (of the Good Minnesotans) regularly acts on her good conscience, so it’s no surprise that her book Manny + Bigfoot leans the same direction. It might feel strange to touch a page made of poo, but take the risk. Her the story has a sweet expression, wonderful colors, and even a touch of mystery.
Hogan’s book begins as a letter. On the cover, Bigfoot himself holds out an envelope, upon which is the title. When you turn the book over, it opens in a way similar to a letter, and when you get into the story, the plot is introduced with a letter. Repetition of theme can be done in this way so nicely through books, and I really like that she didn’t skimp on the subtext by merely making a folded and stapled mini. It wouldn’t hold the same meaning.
The plot is a little hard to follow for all its imagination, but with a re-read or two there’s instant reward. Manny is a guy who comes home at the end of the day to a driveway full of snow. It’s too big to deal with, so he goes inside and opens his mail. What he receives is a letter containing an odd ransom note that beckons him into the woods to save a girl, but he doesn’t seem to know any girls. Instead, he sticks around the house with his pet bunny. The bunny is drawn with realistic precision and its adorableness is made all the cuter because the drawings are so small. When Bigfoot shows up later at the house, things really go to heck, and Manny’s sweet little life is torn asunder.
I won’t give away the ending, or offer my own interpretation of events, but suffice to say you need to read this book from cover to cover for the full effect, and puzzle it through for full enjoyment. It’s a charmer.
I have no idea how she colored this comic or where she learned to draw bunnies, or find such perfect bunny images to photoshop, but the story combined with the art and the bookmaking technique and materials will keep you sucked into this little $5 12-page purchase for a happy half hour, at least, then keep you thinking a few days more.
You can order the book online through her publishing group, 2D Cloud.
– Sarah Morean