Page 45 Review by Stephen
New edition of the 2010 classic, this comes with crisp white paper, deckled edges (I adore deckled edges!) and a brand-new cover depicting the greedy, fearful, angry, bitter and normally naked, pronograde Manhog standing poised, upright, in a genteel dressing gown.
What has brought about this transformation and where will it lead?
Metamorphosis lies at the heart of most FRANK fables, usually through assimilation or straightforward ingestion and often catalysed by destruction. He's a genuine visionary, Jim Woodring, and a master craftsman to boot.
Instead of crosshatching, his textures are formed from wavy lines, closer in effect to those created by a carved lino print. Almost everything in his landscapes is or could be alive, and rituals abound. I always call Woodring's hypnotic fantasies "mind-altering yet legal". What you get out often depends on what you put in: what you bring to the table or even the mood you're in at the time.
For once the carelessly curious Frank takes a back seat, although of course he's there to provide the inevitable helping hand at a key moment. Helping and meddling are two sides of the same coin to Frank; I often find it useful to glance at the expressions on the face of the furiously loyal Pupshaw - she's usually quite dubious!
Journeys too are important and here it's the long-suffering but brutal, begrudging and really quite stupid Manhog who goes all bipedal on us and - a bit of a shocker, this - noble. Perhaps it's a Frankenstein thing, for here Manhog allows himself to experience and even acknowledge moments of joy. How long will that last, do you think?
Anyway, I'd better shut up now, for Woodring's silent sagas are always best experience first-hand, untainted by other people's input, like your favourite songs free from their promotional videos' specificity.
This is why I find it vaguely odd that Woodring has actually written an introduction. Still: you'll find insight.