Review: Oddly Normal #1

Oddly Normal issue 1 is a book that demands a second issue, and I mean that in the best possible way. It’s structured so that we get a very intimate introduction into the world of Oddly Normal and into her life, and then the rug gets pulled out from under everyone (including Oddly) at the end. The book opens on Oddly’s tenth birthday, which is less-than-pleasant for the town’s resident half-witch bearing most of the brunt of the local children’s teasing. I don’t want to reveal much more than that, but if you’d like to hear it from the man himself, Otis Frampton, I will direct you to my interview with him from last month.

Some things to take away about Oddly Normal: its visual style is incredible; it’s a true all-ages book; it pulls from the best possible reference material; and it has the capability to go literally anywhere. The visual look of Oddly Normal is very cartoony, but not simple. The palette in the book is very muted, but that serves it well. There’s two huge moments in this book, and they both benefit from a decisive use of color.

OddlyNormal_01The world of Oddly Normal wears its influences on its sleeve in a lot of fun ways. If you can look at this comic and not see a whole lot of Charles Addams for the current age, you’re not paying attention. The look of the world has the same kind of vibe as Paranorman, which is an awesome place to draw from, and it owes more than a little to The Wizard of Oz. Usually, when I’m reduced to listing the influences that went into a piece, it means that there’s not much substance to it and you can see the component parts; in this case, it feels like Frampton is using shorthand references to help us fill in the world for ourselves, make it very familiar, and then go totally Broken Arrow at the end. Seriously, look at the preview panels from upcoming issues at the end. That shit is gonna be nuts.

Oddly Normal is also a true all-ages book, the likes of which are few and far between. A lot of times when you read an “all-ages” book, you can tell it’s a book that’s written by someone who doesn’t have a lot of affinity for the target audience, and who is writing it because they think they will sell. Oddly Normal is a story that’s just the right amount of sincere and snarky that it will appeal to the same kind of folks who love the Adventure Time books, that exist on a sincere level for children and a somewhat ironic level that’s only accessible to older readers. To see this kind of book come from Image is especially surprising and welcome.

The reason to get really excited about this book is at the end of the day, Frampton is a hell of a talented cartoonist, and he’s set up an excellent story to tell. It’s an all-ages book from a company who’s not known for that, and it’ll be fun to see how that pans out. And it’s just a hell of a lot of fun.

Definitely pick this one up.

Score: 5/5

Writer/Artist/Creator: Otis Frampton Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 9/17/14 Format: Print/Digital