Emily the Strange is a hard book to pin down with a description, being as it’s, well…kind of strange. It’s a book for the Hot Topic set, all dry sarcasm and heavy gothy inks.
The art and layouts look a bit like someone took Wednesday Addams’ notebook doodles and turned them into comic books. Don’t take that as a knock, though; it’s a perfect fit for the Wednesday-esque Emily, and lends the book a sort of twisted spontaneity.
The uniqueness of the art helps carry the writing, which all too often falls into dark puns and irony along the lines of Tales From The Crypt. The fact that the book mostly consists of short stories means that it’s a barrage of jokes that are hit or miss on actually being funny, but generally come off as trying too hard to be strange.
That said, the book does have some interesting story formats. There’s a few pages made up to resemble the old comic book ad pages, but the product descriptions here have a gleeful, biting sarcasm revolving around the buyer being an idiot, or worse, boring.
Also interesting are the interviews-rendered-as-comics with the band The Damned, cult icon Elvira, and gonzo musician Marilyn Manson. Emily asks the questions, the interviewees’ answers are used as dialogue, and the art reflects whatever weird conversation tangents they’re going down at the time.
Overall, EtS is a book with an undeniable sense of style. Unfortunately, it’s not always backed up with an interesting story.