Our debut graphic novel, Mann’s Best Friend was published a year ago today. It is the tale of Terry Mann, an ordinary office worker, and his unsuitable dog, Eric. Over the course of one weekend Terry’s life changes forever, and in a tense sequence of misunderstandings and terrible decisions, both Terry and Eric face an uncertain future. This warm hearted story is set in the familiar landscape of north-west England, and has proved popular with critics and readers.
In December 2017 Mann’s Best Friend featured as Page 45’s Comic Book of the Month. The team there found that it went down well with people who have not tried graphic fiction before. An ideal ‘gateway drug’ to comic art, Mann’s Best Friend is full-length realist fiction told simply. The only text in the book is dialogue, and we have had a great response from people with dyslexia and other reading issues for the accessibility of the story.
Eric is not an ideal pet, and if anything he offers something of a warning to anyone contemplating acquiring a puppy. However, the book has a real following among dog-lovers as they relate to Terry’s struggles with the realities of dog ownership. BBC Radio London’s Barking Hour with Jo
Good & Anna Webb said it was the best ‘dog book’ they had ever had: “It’s a fantastic book. It’s the modern world, and it’s juggling office life and problems in the office, and dramas and stress with living with a dog … and the relationship breaks down. But what happens, the bit I really love, is that through the breaking down of the relationship the protagonist in the book actually realises the reality of the world, and that his heart belongs to his dog.”
Mann’s Best Friend was listed in the top 10 of 2017 by both OK Comics and the Comic Art Festival Podcast: “I love the art, for starters. The art is really cool and quite different to all the comics that I’ve read. It’s something you could read quite easily again and again, because it’ll bring a smile to your face, just like watching a Sunday film. This is definitely one people should buy.” It made it into Pipedream’s top 50 of 2017, who said “This utterly charming book has a very British, very gentle feel to it as it lilts and ambles through the story. It evokes memories of classic British cartoonists like Posy Simmonds or Raymond Briggs and feels a very accomplished and confident work for a debut. The story is written by Sophie and drawn by Scarlett and you can see the sisterly understanding manifesting itself with a synergy between them that you would expect from a duo who have been working together for years.”
We have been bowled over by the reception of Mann’s Best Friend, and we have found the comic art universe to be unfailingly friendly, helpful and welcoming. Creators, publishers and vendors have encouraged and supported us from the start, which gives us great optimism for the projects we are working on now. Distribution has been challenging, and we’d love to see Eric on the shelves of mainstream independent bookshops, so that more graphic-novices can get lured into the genre. If you think you could help us achieve this, or you know someone who might, please do get in touch.
Sophie & Scarlett
You can buy Mann’s Best Friend here, or apply for wholesale discount using firstname.lastname@example.org.