Oddly Normal Vol. 1 (Collects
Written and Illustrated by Otis Frampton
Published by Image Comics
Oddly Normal is your average eleven year old girl (well except for the half witch part) who struggles with your typical middle school bullies (aside from the vampire and his werewolf lackies that is) and her parents who are out of touch with reality (also completely erased from the universe?).
Okay, okay. So nothing about the situation Oddly finds herself in is normal per say, but it is very familiar. A young protagonist seen as an outcast by their peers. A magical catastrophe that sends our young protagonist on an epic journey. Mystery and mayhem around every corner. Oddly Normal is just that, oddly normal, and that’s why it’s so much fun to read.
In a nutshell, it’s Oddly’s eleventh birthday. Her parents throw a party for her. Oddly can’t stand her parents happy go lucky nature any longer and makes a birthday wish that causes her parents to disappear. Of course this shouldn’t be possible because Oddly is only half witch. Then again, what’s a good story without an unexpected event?
Since the real world is no longer safe, Oddly is then ferried away to Fignation, a land of imagination, by her aunt. Once in Fignation, Oddly believes that she will finally blend in She’ll finally be another face in the crowd. But as we all know, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Oddly finds herself an outcast at Menagerie Middle School (MMS) and a target of school bullies almost immediately. Unfortunately for Oddly, these bullies have magic at their disposal. Poor Oddly. Nothing seems to be going her way at the moment.
Another thing that seems to constant in reality and Fignation is the lack of listening skills in adults. Whenever Oddly tries to talk to her parents, her aunt, or even the headmistress at MMS, Oddly can hardly get a word in edgewise.
Oddly narrates her own story and breaks the fourth wall in order to speak to the reader in the first chapter. From this internal dialogue readers are able to get a better picture of just how lonely Oddly is in the real world. Though Oddly is barely turning eleven she has enough angst to rival any teenage hero. She really seems to like the word “figures” too.
The use of narrative isn’t the only tool Otis Frampton uses to convey Oddly’s misery either. While in reality the world surrounding Oddly is grey, dull, and lifeless. However, when Oddly is transported to Fignation the world is filled with brilliant colors.
Oddly Normal is your classic hero’s quest with a solid helping of coming of age and a side dish of angst. Though the outcome of this tale is bound to be familiar, how Oddly will get there should be anything but ordinary.