Friday, March 1, 2013

Comic Book Review: Emily and the Strangers #1

I very, VERY rarely look beyond superhero comics. I mean if I'm honest with myself, even my voyages into independent books are superheroes like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Green Hornet.

That said, every once in a while I come across something in the shop that I really feel deserves attention. And Emily and the Strangers #1 is that kind of book.

For those who don't know the character, Emily the Strange is a character Rob Reger created as an advertising mascot. She became so popular that she's had her own publications for years. While this particular variation is pinned as a three-issue mini-series, given how much the TPB collections usually are, buying the issues as they happen really are not that bad an idea. For only about a dollar more, you get the original issues.

And boy, if issue #1 is an indicator, you will get much enjoyment from this series and will hope this thing gets picked up as an ongoing series.

The story focuses on Emily, a brilliant scientist/music aficionado with an attraction to the bizarre of this world.

When she has the chance to win a haunted guitar in a contest, she produces a song and goes to borderline extreme lengths to get it sent down to the radio station. But in order to win, she has to make an alliance with a station assistant who wants to get his band into the foreground through Emily's song.

And thus they become Emily and the Strangers.

While this plot is incredibly simple and I'm fairly sure I've seen multiple shows do this, it's the fun narration of Emily and her conversations with cats that really bring the story to life in a unique way.

I also have to compliment the art, as the layout is unique while still being easy to follow. The first panel taking place inside Emily's hair was nicely done, and for the first time I've seen, Emily has actual drawn eyes with a white background (and not those old-fashioned, 30s style eye designs that date the comic to the point of distraction).

If you don't buy limited series except in trade form, keep an eye out in a few months. But I'd say this is one of Dark Horse's best things going, and I certainly would say this is the best independent book to buy that has nothing to do with TNMT, Green Hornet or Avatar: TLA.

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