Emily and the Strangers presents the reader with an offbeat writing and art style right off the bat. From the moment you open this particular comic, you know you’re not reading some white bread “Super hero saves the day” adventure. With its use of subtle wordplay and heavily saturated, moody coloring, this screams “Gothic nerd chic.”
Starring a young girl genius (and her beloved cats), we find ourselves with a protagonist who is well-aware of her own brilliance, possessing a multitude of (mostly) unseen inventions. It’s “Dexter’s Laboratory” meets Mandy from “Billy and Mandy.” Emily Strange (no relation to the good Doctor), finds herself to be continuously bored, always spending her time tinkering on this or that, keeping her mind occupied. She is not out to conquer the world, nor greatly improve it. She just needs something that can appropriately occupy her vast intellect. She is, quite simply, bored.
After a piece of her equipment malfunctions, due to feline interference, Emily is putting away parts and pieces when one of her cats turns the radio to her favorite musician, Professa Kraken. The radio DJ announces a contest, wherein the winner would receive Professa Kraken’s haunted guitar. (The good Professor apparently has some controversy surrounding his death.) All you have to do is send in a tape of kick-ass rock music of your own composition. Emily immediately sets to work composing her own masterpiece.
The storytelling here is to the point. Emily is a genius; she makes up words as readily as Doctor Who, loves cats, and is dark and brooding. It’s written such so that the reader is immediately drawn in and wanting more, without so many details so as to neither overwhelm them nor allow them much room for conjecture. With a unique “Hot Topic-web comic” art style and a protagonist whose vocabulary is half pseudoscience and half Dr. Seuss, this is definitely a comic that will be devoured. It is not for the average reader, but for the one wanting something a bit off the beaten path.