Emily the Strange Sells Out

Posted by Michael Pinto on Apr 10, 2009 in Comic Books |

Emily the Strange #1 of 4 illustrated by Buzz Parker

Yes I’d love to pretend that there was an era when Emily the Strange wasn’t just about the merchandising, but that would be a lie. I first ran into Emily at Virgin Mega Store (sad to think that they’ll be gone) and her image adorned t-shirts, notebooks and other knickknacks — yet it was the sort of brand that was always slightly under the radar, which I think to me was the appeal. If you gave an Emily item as a gift she’d stand out as just a bit different in a Hallmark world. Well sadly that’s coming to an end and above is the first step where Emily goes mainstream — that sad bit of artwork above is the cover of a limited comic book series.

That’s right: A comic book! Anyone in their right mind who loved Emily would want to start off with a graphic novel or perhaps a twisted version of a kids book. But as the first leg of a major retail campaign Emily is chucked on the cover. Obliterating the strong black/white/red motif that is so powerful is what seems to be a badly done Photoshop effect. What made Emily so cool is what we didn’t know about her, but now like some second rate Facebook page it’s only a matter of minutes until we know who her favorite bands are and what type of kitty litter she prefers.

But this is just the first step: This summer HarperCollins will introduce a series of young adult novels starring Emily, and then Dark Horse will step in by selling more trinkets, in October a coffee table book will follow — and then it seems there are plans for a “major motion picture”. I’d pray that they wouldn’t use CGI, but looking at the cover of the comic book I’ve ceased to care about Emily and her soon to be famous kitty. Soon Emily will be hanging out in the discount racks at Walmart, and frankly I don’t want to be around to see something that ugly…

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