Emily the Strange Vol. 1: Lost, Dark, & Bored (Dark Horse)

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A spooky teenager's wet dream packed into size-five Mary Janes. 160 Pages FC; $19.95

(W: Rob Reger, Jessica Gruner, Brian Brooks, Kitty Remington; A: Buzz Parker)


Click thumbnail for a larger image.Angstlets and goth puppies delight in the grim musings of wicked little Emily, a spooky teenager's wet dream packed into size-five Mary Janes. It's almost mind-boggling to see the number of references writers Rob Reger, Jessica Gruner, Brian Brooks, and Kitty Remington make to goth, pop, and lit culture with this strange little girl who began as a mascot for Cosmic Debris, a clothing line engineered by a skateboarding Reger and race car driver Matt Reed. Lost, Dark, & Bored collects Dark Horse's first three Emily tales, plus a brand new, never-before-published story.


Brimming with exaggerated teen disaffection, Emily's adventures lead her through a webwork of zombie hip-hop, bad puns, mooky fairytales, and ridiculous parodies charged with an adolescent malaise that at best is amusing and at worst only cute. The writers even find the time to sneak in a little social criticism (that's right--suck it Wally World!).


Click thumbnail for a larger image.And what kind of goth would Emily be without an entourage of little black kitties? They're not really explained too well in the writing, so here's a breakdown for those who are curious: Sabbath, the kitty with the scar on his right ear is the trouble maker; Nee-Chee (Har. Har.), with the black-and-white-striped tail, is the schemer; Miles has a white x on his right eye, and is the creative one; and Mystery, with a white star on his right eye, is the leader.


The artwork definitely outshines the writing in this one, despite the sometimes-chuckly moments of art punning ("If I'm late, my Bosch will kill me!"). A mixture of Jhonen Vasquez, Rikki Simons, and Tavisha Wolfgarth, the artwork is a stunningly busy hodgepodge of spot-colored homages. Rich and detailed, it's almost an adventure in itself to watch little Emily Alice-In-Wonderland-ing her way through each of the cleverly illustrated scenarios. The splash mockup of Albrecht Durer's Knight, Death, and the Devil is truly impressive, with its David Bowie- and Egpytian-packed references.


Click thumbnail for a larger image.This Wednesday Addams/Bettie Page hybrid certainly captures something of the attitude that goes along with the universally traumatic Teenage Years (even if yours were only disappointments of getting a car in a color you didn't like). Certainly some admirable moments in this little book of the strange. The Tron references were definitely a happy surprise, or should that be sad, or strange?


Visit DarkHorse.com to check out more preview pages from Emily the Strange.

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