THE STRANGE ONES
Writer: Jeremy Jusay
Artist: Jeremy Jusay
Publisher: Gallery 13
You know that feeling you get, when you discover something new and it takes you by complete surprise? Well this is that book for me. I had no prior knowledge about this book and had no idea what to expect. When I received this review copy in the mail, my first reaction was "Oh this looks like the cover to some indie rock album" then I read the synopsis. It was story about the burgeoning friendship of Anjeline and Franck, both loners and a little strange. A tale of how these two outsiders meet one night at a concert and develop this unique bond as they traverse the city of New York. I was hooked. Little did I know that I would fall in love with these two young weirdos.
This story traces its origins almost 25 years ago, that when writer/artist Jeremy Jusay first started working on the book. What started out as chapters in a zine, have now been collected and finished after all this time. Studying to become an engineer but being pulled towards art, Jeremy decided to do what made him happy and this is the product of that talent.
THE STRANGE ONES is a story that any outcast/loner can relate to. Anjeline and Franck's relationship begins on one fateful night an underground concert. They were placed in to each others life when they both were in need of a friend. Anjeline has such an open heart but you can see the loneliness in her eyes whereas with Franck he shows no emotion. I mean his eyes are completely blacked out for the entire book. The funny thing about Franck though are his buttons that he wears on his overcoat. He has so many of them and Jusay constantly has him wearing different one with little quotes, etc.
At the heart of this book though is how to young kids just starting college have found each other in an otherwise lonely world. They each have their pasts that they don't really talk about until closer to he end of the book. Yet they find the joy in life as they discover the hidden beauty in New York City. As the story goes on and we learn more about these two young misfits, I became more and more invested in them. From things as simple as eating in a diner or going to a museum, each little adventure they went on made them more endearing to me.
This story also felt really personal to me. I too felt like am outsider when I was younger and only hung with my small group of friends. That's what made those friendships so important. Having other people that kind of felt the same way and made you feel just a little less weird.
The world that Jusay presents to the reader can feel somewhat bleak, which is only heightened because it's in black and white. Yet there is so much heart and little moments of humor that it never makes you sad when you're reading it. The conclusion was definitely something I didn't see coming, I was surprised out how much it affected me. I had become attached to these two and felt as if these things were happening to a personal friend of mine. While it was sad, Jusay wrapped up the ending in a rally touching and beautiful way.
Like I said, this book came out of nowhere and surprised the shit out of me. With so much content coming out on a weekly/monthly basis, it's nice to discover little gems like this one. So I hope you guys give this a chance when it comes out because this might just be one of the best books you read this upcoming year.
Make sure you ask your LCS to order you a copy or visit gallery13comics.com/
In stores January 15 2020