Growing up in Kansas and moving to the Bay Area (California) at the age of 24 resulted in quite a few Wizard of Oz references from local Berkeley and San Francisco residents upon learning of my origin. “You’re not in Kansas anymore are ya? I bet you’ve heard that one a million times,” they’d say. A million and one now, but thanks anyway. Nearly five years removed from the Sunflower State, there still lies a somewhat sentimental allegiance to Kansas resulting in a piqued interest whenever it is used as the backdrop in a movie or novel. Such was the case after coming across the synopsis for Image Comics’ No Place Like Home:
“Dee’s life is in turmoil when her parents are killed in a freak tornado. Returning to Kansas for the funeral after five years in LA, Dee discovers Emeraldsville is the same unexciting place it was when she left – until the bizarre unexplained murders begin. With an unknown killer closing in, the events of one night in 1959 begin to unravel as a portal to a world of horror opens, a portal paved with yellow bricks…”
Based on the short preview released last month, UK writer/skateboarder/photographer/comic shop owner, Angelo Tirotto captures aspects of the classic American Mid-Western twang and culture, but acknowledges that not everyone in Kansas talks like a hick with his younger characters sporting a more cosmopolitan dialogue. This is especially surprising considering Tirotto isn’t even a citizen of the US and many American-born authors fall into the trap of having ALL their small town characters say things like, “shucks,” “darn” and “what in tarnation!” Aside from that, he imbues his main characters with a punk zeal replete with tattoos and foul mouths, which contrasts nicely with the rural setting (**editorial aside: Having been raised in Kansas City, I can confirm that this is not pure fiction, this kind of cultural mash-up isn’t uncommon in parts of Kansas). That’s not even dipping into Tirotto’s story which should prove to be a modern horror gem for comic fans everywhere.
Richard Jordan’s art is completely freakin’ awesome, for lack of better phrasing. The heavy black style of his pencil and ink work borders on the macabre, which pairs well with Tirotto’s story. His art contains a raw element that catches the eye and stirs the heart. Though his lines are clean and the characters are completely distinguishable there’s a certain tonal asperity that really draws you in to each panel. It could also be an intense affinity for girls with tattoos and a mean snarl on their face; whatever the reason, Jordan’s art is spot on. Especially enjoyable are his character designs, some of which are contained within this article and taken from the official No Place Like Home website.
It is pretty rare that a comic by two relative unknowns in the comic industry could warrant such attention from even the most hardened indie comic snob, but No Place Like Home looks to have the right mix of Wizard of Oz, the Shining and the Sex Pistols to bait a much larger audience than displaced Kansans. With all of the hullabaloo concerning the recent Image releases, it would be easy to miss this comic, so be sure to check this comic out when it is available for consumption on February 22nd or take it on good faith that it will be a top-drawer comic and pre-order from your local comic shop.