Posts Tagged ‘Image Comics’

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Following the events of issue #5, a new story arc begins here, and finally gives some meaning to the series title, Tokyo Ghost. Led Dent returns to Los Angeles, this time on the same side as his old foe, Davey Trauma. However, Led remains haunted by a ghost from his recent past.

I think it’s pretty safe to say that Rick Remender and Sean Murphy treated the first story arc of this series as more of a prologue than anything else. Now we’re really getting into the meat of the story, and let me say, the creators’ collective foot is firmly pressed on the accelerator. We’re barely given any time to breathe as they dive right into this next arc, and after the peace and serenity that we experienced with the main characters in Japan, returning to the dystopic future L.A. is like a kick straight to the gut. We’re also privy to the plan that Trauma and his boss, Flak, have for Tokyo, and it isn’t pretty.

This is definitely a worthy next step in what is probably my second favorite non-superhero comic being published right now. The characters are interesting, the settings are interesting, and the story that’s unfolding is easily one of the best I’ve read in a long time. This issue definitely provides a good jumping on point if you don’t want to go back and read 1-5, but why wouldn’t you want to? I will say, this is definitely for mature readers though, so keep that in mind if you plan to pick it up. Honestly, some of the violence and other less wholesome imagery isn’t necessarily for me, but it fits within the confines of the story, so it all balances out.

The Verdict for Tokyo Ghost #6:
5 out of 5

If you like this review, or any of my others, don’t forget to subscribe!

Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

As promised, here is my interview with the writer and illustrator of Oddly Normal, Otis Frampton.

Was there any specific inspiration for Oddly’s character, or the story in general?

There was no one character that was an inspiration for Oddly. I like to say that Oddly is me, if she’s anybody. I feel very close to the character, so much so that when readers tell me that they feel like they relate to the character, it surprises me!

But there were definitely influences that helped shape the character. Oddly is a little bit Kiki from “Kiki’s Delivery Service.” She’s a dash of Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz.” There’s also a touch of Marty McFly from “Back To The Future” in there somewhere. But as a writer, you absorb all of the things you love and all of the things you don’t and you try to put the best of your influences into your characters and story.

The initial spark for the story was a random drawing I did in a sketchbook all the way back in 1999. It was a drawing of a sad little girl and I wrote the words “oddly normal” next to her. The sketch looked nothing like what Oddly became, but that started me thinking… what if there was a girl named Oddly Normal and she was sent to a magical land. The story snowballed from there. Most stories start out that way, with a germ of an idea and then they evolve. That’s definitely how Oddly’s story came to be.


One of my favorite things in book one is the “Bug Transport,” how did you come up with this idea?

A lot of people tell me that they love the School Bug! I’m thrilled that they like it so much. The idea for it was just a simple extrapolation. I showed Oddly coming home from school on a bus when she was in the Real World and I needed to show her going to school in Fignation on something a bit more fantastical, but similar. So “bus” became “bug”. I actually planted the seed for that in the first chapter when you see a Volkswagen Bug passing by the school bus.

But it’s definitely a fun character to draw. And I loved being able to follow up in Chapter 10 by showing the City Bug!


Oddly’s teachers in Fignation are all quite different in look and personality, will this play a factor later in the story?

Two of her teachers become very important to the story later on, definitely. I won’t say which ones, but if you’ve been reading then you can probably figure it out. As for their designs… I just wanted each one to be easily identifiable, with distinct personalities. When you’re a kid, teachers are the adults you have the most contact with (aside from your parents) and my experience was that each teacher was a very different classroom experience. I wanted to have that feel reflected in the classroom scenes of “Oddly Normal.”

Not every teacher will play a large role in the overall story, but they each have a part to play at certain points. I will say this… Mr. Gooseberry, the English teacher, is my second favorite character in the series, after Oddly herself.


Did you have any teachers like Oddly’s when you were growing up?

Absolutely. I think we all experienced the over-enthusiastic -health-teacher-slash-coach (do they even have “health” anymore?). And I had many teachers like Mr. Crabula, the stern yet helpful adult who says things that only later do you realize were words of wisdom. Mr. Crabula’s use of the word “scholars” when referring to students was cribbed from one of my high school teachers.

I never had a teacher like Mr. Gooseberry, though. That’s probably a good thing (you’ll see why in upcoming chapters, so stay tuned!).


What are some activities that you like to do in order to come up with ideas?

Writing for me is somewhat second nature. I’ve been writing since I was a child and got into formal writing of short stories and plays when I was in my early teens. I wrote a number of plays that were produced by the theater class at a local summer school for talented youth. So unlike drawing (which I still struggle at), writing is something that comes naturally and my process was formed a long time ago.

For me, most of the time I spend writing is done when I’m NOT writing. Ideas come stop me constantly and I keep notes on whatever story I’m working on. It’s kind of like watching a movie and the picture keeps going on and off. I’ll see a bit of a scene, hear a line of dialogue, see a single image… and I’ll make note of it. When I feel like the story has formed enough to see the big picture, the structure, I’ll organize my notes and then hammer out the script or manuscript.

So, that being said, I don’t really engage in activities to come up with ideas. Most of my best ideas have come to me when I wasn’t sitting at a keyboard. I distinctly remember that two of the most important story ideas I’ve ever had, ideas that helped me solve important story problems, happened when I was walking down a hallway and when I was sitting in the drive-thru at a fast food place. Honestly, most of what I consider writing is done when I’m doing nothing at all, like taking a shower or sitting in traffic. I’m at my best when I’m so bored that my mind starts wandering.

Other times, story ideas will evolve by simply letting your characters explore their world. There’s a scene in Chapter 7 of “Oddly Normal” where Oddly tries to open a door and her Auntie stops her, telling her she should never open that door. When I wrote that scene, I had no idea what was behind the door. I just saw Oddly looking at the door and she, like me, wondered what was behind it. I liked the idea of a mystery, so I threw it in, assuming that I’d figure out the answer to the mystery later on. I did, and it turns out that this was a very important scene and if I hadn’t allowed Oddly to take control when I was writing that scene, I never would have laid the groundwork for something important.

The bottom line is… when writing, let your mind wander and always listen to your characters. If you write enough, they’ll start to talk to you and tell you what they want to do. That’s when magic happens.

*****

If you would like to follow Otis on twitter, his handle is @OtisFrampton, and to catch the rest of the stops on the Oddly Normal blog tour, check out the links below:

Monday, October 12: Guest post, Log Cabin Library
http://logcabinlibrary.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, October 13: Interview and review, Kdub’s Geekspot
https://kdubsgeekspot.wordpress.com/

Wednesday, October 14: Guest post and giveaway, A Library Mama
http://alibrarymama.com

Thursday, October 15: Interview, review, and giveaway, The Book Monsters
http://thebookmonsters.com/

Friday, October 16: Interview, Outright Geekery
http://www.outrightgeekery.com/

Saturday, October 17: Review and giveaway, Charlotte’s Library
http://charlotteslibrary.blogspot.com/

Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

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We’re doing something a little different today.  Author and illustrator, Otis Frampton, decided to have the one and only KDub’s Geekspot as a stop on the blog tour for his new graphic novel, Oddly Normal.  In return, he generously agreed to answer a few quick questions about the book, which you can find in my next post.

Oddly Normal is a comic aimed at younger audiences about a young girl, the title character, just trying to make her way through school.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, Oddly is a little different from all the other kids.  She’s half witch, and her mom is from the magical realm of Fignation.  Today just so happens to be Oddly’s tenth birthday, and after a particularly rough day at school, her parents have planned a party for her, but she really doesn’t want any part of it.  At the height of her frustration, Oddly makes a mean-spirited birthday wish that actually comes true, with terrible results.  The consequences of her wish will have her traveling to Fignation to try and undo the damage.  You know how the old saying goes… be careful what you wish for!

Writer and illustrator Otis Frampton, tells a Oddly’s charming story of trying to redeem herself for her careless actions, alongside the wonder of learning about the realm of Fignation, with a distant aunt to guide her along the way.  Most of this first book is spent on Oddly transitioning to her new school in Fignation, along with the interesting variety of students and teachers that reside there.  She quickly befriends a group of outcast children, and also makes an enemy on her first day.  Also, it’s beginning to seem as though the predicament that she finds herself in, may not be completely her fault, as there are some shady characters in Fignation that immediately seem to have something against our heroine.  For the most part, the story is pretty simple with some light twists and turns to keep it entertaining.

Frampton’s artwork in this story is only limited by his imagination, which is to say, hardly at all.  I think the look and design of some of the characters is what made the book for me.  There is such a wide range of diversity among the residents of Fignation, and even the school teachers and students, that I think you would be hard pressed to find a character design that was used more than once or twice.  Also, delightful creations, such as the “school bug” just enhance the wonder and whimsy of Oddly’s new surroundings.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book.  It’s not anything revolutionary but it was definitely one of the more fun and unique stories that I’ve read in a while.  I would certainly recommend it to any parent who has a child interested in fantasy literature.

The Verdict for Oddly Normal: Book 1:
4 out of 5

If you like this review, or any of my others, don’t forget to subscribe!

Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

If you would like to check out some of the other stops on the Oddly Normal blog tour, just click on the links below:

Monday, October 12: Guest post, Log Cabin Library
Tuesday, October 13: Interview and review, Kdub’s Geekspot
Wednesday, October 14: Guest post and giveaway, A Library Mama
Thursday, October 15: Interview, review, and giveaway, The Book Monsters
Friday, October 16: Interview, Outright Geekery
Saturday, October 17: Review and giveaway, Charlotte’s Library

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Rick Remender and Sean Murphy tell the story of a future Los Angeles where everyone is so plugged into their phones and the internet that they barely notice what goes on in the world around them.  On top of that, a ruthless crime kingpin has figured out how to hack into someone’s neural implant in order to make anyone work for him.  And did I mention that he views life as one giant video game, where each new murder and violent act gets him one step closer to his all time high score?  Pretty bleak picture of the future, eh?  Well, fear not, because there are still some people fighting on the side of good.  Constable Debbie Decay, the lone person who is not plugged in, and her ‘roided out boyfriend Led Dent, who is completely plugged into the net, are working to put an end to the string of violence.

Remender’s writing is pretty solid here.  There’s a lot going on, and tons of text boxes and dialogue balloons, but it’s a reflection of the story’s setting, and how everything is so completely distracting.  Speaking of the setting, the dystopian future L.A. with its death races and criminals roaming freely is pretty spectacular to see, but we’ll get back to that in a minute.  Remender creates a world where practically anything goes, and no one really cares so long as they don’t ever become unplugged.  It’s a scathing social commentary of where we could be heading in the not too distant future.  With so much going on at once, I did find certain sections of the issue to be a little difficult to read, but again, it’s all part of the atmosphere that completely immerses you in the story.

Sean Murphy’s art is brilliant.  The city is dark, gritty, and dirty.  Advertisements and TV monitors litter the landscape, making it impossible to get away from some sort of stimulation at any given time.  It’s like an uglier, angrier version of the L.A. from Blade Runner.  Murphy does an amazing job in conveying just how nasty and dangerous this world is, and after reading the first issue, it kind of made me want to take a shower.

All in all, the first issue of Tokyo Ghost didn’t completely knock me off my feet, and I did genuinely feel like parts were hard to read through because of all the text in each panel, but it’s definitely a solid start to what looks like it is going to be a very interesting story.  Previews for issue #2 have me looking forward to checking the rest of this one out.

The Verdict for Tokyo Ghost #1:
4/5 – I can dig it.

If you like this review, or any of my others, don’t forget to subscribe!

Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

Upcoming reviews:
Captain America: White #1
1872 #3 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
Weirdworld #4 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
RunLoveKill, Volume 1
Crimson Peak (Movie)