Comic shops and comic fans everywhere celebrated Free Comic Book Day on May 7, 2016. This is one of my favorite days of the entire year; I adore free stuff, and it’s also a great way to discover new comics and story arcs. One of the freebies I picked up this month was Oddly Normal, written and illustrated by Minnesota’s own Otis Frampton.
The first issue introduces protagonist Oddly Normal, a young girl born into a family that practices witchcraft. Her mother even comes from a different, whimsical planet called Fignation. Oddly struggles with her family history. She looks unlike the other children, is severely bullied at school, and doesn’t have reliable friends. On her birthday, Oddly makes a wish that her parents would disappear. Just like that, they’re gone. Oddly is then magically transported to Fignation where her aunt supports her journey to accept herself and find her parents.
Oddly Normal reminded me of The Fairly Oddparents on Nickelodeon. This isn’t a bad comparison; I loved this Nick show when I was young. Oddly channels Timmy Turner in that they’re both upbeat kids trying to intertwine their magical history and their regular lives at school. Also, the star that’s sketched on the cover of each issue reminds me of Cosmo and Wanda’s star wands.
I appreciate that Frampton combines multiple comic book issues into a single trade paperback book. This is my favorite way to enjoy comics because I can get a full, fleshed-out story instead of facing the usual cliff hanger in each issue. Plus, keeping up with single issues can be challenging when you follow a variety of different comics (as I do).
It’s also worth noting that this comic series is entirely family friendly. Kids will love Oddly’s personality and her friends, whereas adults will appreciate the artwork and pop culture references (to The Wizard of Oz, for example). And on top of that, Frampton is a native Minnesotan who often appears at Twin Cities area bookstores and comic conventions. Nothing feels better than supporting local creators—except maybe helping kids learn to love reading by getting them started on good comic books. With Oddly Normal, Minnesotans can do both!
You can find more information about Frampton and his comics on his website and on Twitter where he tweets about comics, art, geekery, and Minnesota Cons. After reading the first three issues, I’m definitely looking forward to Book Four of Oddly Normal.