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Emily and the Strangers Volume 1: Battle of the Bands Hardcover – May 6, 2014
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Very fun illustrations. I loved the attention to detail and clutter that came with a mind like Emily's. I've always preferred the dark gothic look in illustrations and while this is a bit on the soft side, I found it visually interesting and fun to read. I thought that some band member characters looked a little too much like the Bratz dolls but that is my only complaint. I think Emily the Strange would appeal most to 'tweens'.
When one of Emily's favorite musicians, Professa Kraken, dies. She finds out about a contest where she can when his guitar, a strange steampunk invention with multiple necks and things growing out of it. She submits a tape and wins the contest, or so she thinks. The small print says she also has to win a battle of the bands. She finds herself in a band full of people who have their own ideas of what music should be. Is it classical, punk, jazz or rock? Will this band of misfits gel as a band in time to win the contest?
It's not a bad story, but perhaps a bit too predictable. The lessons about getting along with others and playing to their strengths is good. It wasn't what I would have expected from this character, but it didn't seem out of type for her. Emily Ivie does a great job with art and there is lots of supplemental material in back, including Ivie's wallpaper designs for the book.
I was given a review copy of this graphic novel by Diamond Book Distributors and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.
Although this is my first Emily the Strange graphic novel, I have always liked her as a character. For those who are not familiar with who she is, here’s her official description on her website:
Emily is: An Artist, A Dreamer, An Inventor, A Scientist, A Skater, A Rocker and An Individual!
Emily’s not your average thirteen year-old-girl. Pink is her worst nightmare…she wears the same black dress every day. She loves math and science. Her best friends are her four BLACK CATS! She’s into old rock & punk, but also digs newer bands like My Chemical Romance. Emily is so anticool she’s cool… a subculture of one, and a follower of no one but herself.
She wears only black, loves cats, and a follower to no one. Even though she may look different from studious-type females, she is also very smart and talented and I like her enough that I can forgive her for not liking pink (tee-hee). Plus, I always loved the simplicity of how her character is illustrated.
This graphic novel is a compilation of the first three issues of the Emily and the Strangers mini-series. Reading this definitely added depth and dimension to a character that I already liked. It gave Emily’s character flaws and a chance to grow because of a challenge that has always been her weak point: playing well with others. The main premise of this volume is that in order to keep a one-of- a-kind guitar that she won in a contest, Emily has to join the Battle of the Bands. The thing about a band is they often consist of other people and Emily would rather hang out with her cats than be with people.
But Emily never backs out of a challenge and with the insistence of Evan “Stranger”, she reluctantly agrees to lead her band, Emily and the Strangers.
I absolutely love the illustrations, Emily Ivie is a great artist and her illustrations of each character worked really well for me. Character and instruments sketches are also included at the end of this volume and it was great to see older sketches of Emily and the band. I received a digital copy of this but from what I know, this volume is only going to be available in hardcover and I think it would look amazing in full printed color. I’m actually tempted to get a copy myself because the art just looks amazing.
Obviously, as I am an adult reading a comic book meant for younger readers, I found a few discrepancies with the storyline. I find it weird that a contest can take back a prize if the winner does not enter another contest. And I’m a bit confused if Emily has to actually win the Battle of the Bands in order to keep the guitar or she just needs to participate in it. This is not meant to be taken too seriously though, so I’m not really that bothered with the disjointed storyline; and although I didn’t end up loving this as much as the character itself, it was still an enjoyable read for me. I would actually try out older Emily the Strange graphic novels because I had fun with this one.
Overall, this is a quick and fun graphic novel for children (and the young at heart) who are looking for something edgier in terms of the main character and the overall artwork but is still able to give an overall positive message regarding teamwork and the benefits of working well with others. There’s also a certain mystery that was subtly introduced at the beginning and readers (including me), who have enjoyed this volume and wants more Emily and the Strangers have that certain mystery to uncover and look forward to on the next volume.
An advance readers copy was provided by Diamond Book Distributors via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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She is so spunky and bad-ass, and her personality is so awesome.Read more
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