Man, life’s a bitch sometimes. Here I am, trying to pare down my weekly pull list, and instead I find new things to add to it coming from the most unexpected places.
Case in point : I couldn’t tell you the last time I picked up an “all ages” comic, but, sufficiently intrigued by a signing featuring writer/artist Otis Frampton at my LCS (Comic Book College on Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota, if you must know), I gave the first issue of his new Image Comics series, Oddly Normal, a spin, and — I’m hooked. How hooked, you may ask? Frampton told me that he could see this thing running for 100 issues or so if sales hold up, and I think I could happily go along for the entire ride. That’s how hooked.
First off, credit to the man himself : Frampton (who hails from St. Paul) is a one-man comics-creating super-engine of creativity, doing almost everything here — story, art, letters, editing — single-handed. Thomas Boatwright is credited with doing the “flat” colors, which leads me to believe that Frampton is handling the “special effects” enhancements himself, as well. That’s a lot of work. And he does a killer job with all of it, as the page above shows. I can barely crank out more than two or three comic and/or movie reviews in a week, so — my hat’s off to the guy. And, yeah, I’m more than a little bit envious, I admit it. Sue me.
Backtracking quickly, then, to my “life’s a bitch” comment earlier, that’s certainly true for our titular protagonist here, a pre-teen girl with green hair, pointed ears, a witch for a mom, and a journalist from another dimension for a dad. When you’re her age, all you want to do is fit in, and that’s pretty well impossible for young miss Oddly. Living in a haunted house probably doesn’t help matters much, either. Nor does the cloud that’s always hanging over her head, sometimes literally speaking.
Still, even the most miserable kids have to love birthdays, right? I mean, most of us generally don’t start hating them until we’ve had too damn many. When you don’t have any friends to celebrate with, though, it’s gotta suck — but still, you get to close your eyes and make a wish, don’t you? Friends or no friends, that’s just part of the deal with a child’s BD. So Oddly does just that, of course — and that’s when her troubles really begin.
Or apparently begin, at any rate. The first issue ends on a nifty little zinger of a cliffhanger that promises to play the old “be careful what you wish for” axiom out very nicely indeed. Sometimes old stories are the best stories, especially when told from a unique point of view, and I think that’s what we’re going to be in store for with this series. I’ll refrain from using tired, shop-worn cliches like “awe” and “wonder” when talking about a narrative that’s told from a child’s point of view, but — there seems to be a good amount of both waiting in the wings here.
I believe I may have already mentioned that I can’t wait to see how it all plays out, but I’ll say it again for good measure — I can’t wait to see how it all plays out. And at a reasonable-by-today’s-standards cover price of $2.99 there’s no reason not to. The art is flat-out gorgeous, the story is engaging and fun, and our-less-than-normal-despite-her-name young heroine is a terrific character that most readers —at least those with a heart — will develop an instant fondness for.
Good show, Mr. Frampton, roll on the next 99 issues — or more — please!