Review: Welcome to Oddville!

Welcome to Oddville!

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I loved Welcome to Oddville! (AdHouse Books, 2011) so much I was emailing friends telling them to buy it before I was even done with it.

Jay Stephens‘ Oddville strips follow the adventures of a young superheroine Jetcat (who, in her “regular” life is named Melanie), her “friend” Tod, a grumpy snail named Petty, and Jetcat’s annoying step-brother, Avery. Oh, and a random collection of other characters, like the vampire-like mosquito, Mr. Suckley, a snowman named Sloshy, and the floating head of Boris Karloff.

It’s all silly fun. There isn’t really much sense in describing it any other way. Sometimes I was left with the impression that Stephens (who will be, by the way, a guest at Small Press Expo this year) was mostly making it up as he went along, but that’s not a complaint. There is a joyous freedom here. Stephens’ tendency to just go with whatever joke he had in mind is entirely playful, whether it’s following the adventures of a bandage (yes, that’s right — that happens) or Jetcat joining up with the superhero team The Two-Fisted Five.

Stephens’ style feels very retro while still remaining modern. He was clearly influenced by classic cartoons, especially much of Hanna-Barbera (not surprisingly, many people probably know Stephens’ from his animated series, The Secret Saturdays and Tutenstein) but his bright colors and witty sense of humor stop these strips from feeling like a throwback.

There are a few longer story arcs contained in the book, but for the most part, each strip can more or less stand alone. Each is individually funny (of course, as it goes, some are more funny that others). That makes it a fun book to just flip through to read strips at random. Even with Stephens’ obvious love of classic movie monsters, there are no real scares here — everything is played for innocent laughs. While there are a couple mild instances of gross-out humor (Avery glues Melanie to a toilet in one strip, and there are one or two snot-related gags), there’s almost nothing objectionable. Everyone from little kids to adults will love this. As they should.

I can’t promise you’ll be emailing your friends telling them to buy it before you’re done with this book like I did, but seriously, who wouldn’t love Welcome to Oddville!? It’s that much fun.

The book should be out in your better comic book store and will should show up in other stores/Amazon soon. I did include an Amazon link with this one, but as always, I still recommend you buy it directly from AdHouse.

Copy provided by the publisher.

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