Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Release the Manhog! A Look at Woodring's 'Weathercraft'

My condolences go out to any gaming nerds happening upon this page with the expectations of finding a new installment in the Warcraft and Starcraft online games. However, my congratulations go out to everyone who has not yet heard of Jim Woodring's "Frank" comics and his first complete graphic novel, Weathercraft.

Published a little over a year ago by Fantagraphic Books, Weathercraft is the tale of a vile, illtempered creature known as Manhog and his overly torturous journey of spiritual transcendence. Woodring tells, or rather shows (the comic includes absolutely NO written dialogue), a beautifully rendered deployment into a fantastical land bathed in rich detail (absolutely no colors) and wonderful curiosities.

The story is short and sweet, delightfully funny one moment and morbidly grotesque the next. If I were still a child I'd imagine lounging aimlessly for hours on end with this book in hand. It's completely and utterly strange and twisted but nothing someone wouldn't find reasonably fitting in the madcap Wonderland or Oz adventure books. If only Jim Henson were still alive to oversee a project as gloriously entertaining as this. Hopefully someone worth their merit will tempt to bring this beauty to the big screen. Maybe after it gathers a strong cult-fan following.

Woodring proposes the book is pregnant with metaphors and symbolism. There is no doubt his storyboards are clever and meaningful, yet it may take audiences awhile to understand his intentions. Hopefully a future edition will come completely annotated in hope of ratifying this problem. Otherwise, if you have never been on acid before and wish to imagine what the world may look like, give Weathercraft a looksie and explore the innards and outwards of Woodring's imagination. I guarantee you'll feel completely spellbound.

More facts and information on the works of Jim Woodring may be found at his personal website, here.

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