Stan Silas has a pint-sized hit on his hands. Norman is one of those weird, left field arrivals that blows the reader away. It’s comic genius from a guy who clearly has a firm grasp on good characters and dark humor. While Titan may not be neck-and-neck in the comic race, they’re excellent publishers with an assortment of fan favorites. Norman is fast becoming one of those favorites. Silas’ book is as good, if not better than anything you’ll find on the shelf today.
The story follows the titular Norman as he navigates his way through life, as an eight year old psychopathic murderer.
Norman stands out as a result of the more anime influenced artistic approach. While it isn’t exactly an unseen style, we’ve seen a smaller number of commercially successful anime in recent years than decades past. The visuals are great, and the choice to draw in this style feels so strange that it takes on a bit of charm. I love the aesthetic value of the book, and I’m crazy about the story. Norman’s an interesting kid, but there are a whole lot of interesting kids in this story, and that’s another reason it feels special: we’re invested in the characters.
As for those characters, a lot of them are stuck in the middle of their own subplots, which actually works wonderfully well and leaves the reader with the impression that the book could have easily been titled “Norman and Friends.” It’s a blast to get a good look at so many polarizing personalities, and it empowers Norman in the sense that it feels like a more gratifying read than a great number of popular works on shelves today.
Don’t worry too much about the plot of the book itself. What’s important is knowing that Norman is a twisted little slasher kid you’d expect to see in a trench coat; Grace is the pretty little thing that may be too perfect – sans her overall snotty attitude – for her own good; and Miss Jameson is a borderline psychopath that makes for a terrible teacher and a tough one to love. These three are the trio that earn the big focus, and they’re all perfectly unique to one another. The character diversity strengthens the story and in the end, we care more about these three and their idiosyncrasies than the conflict (and there most certainly is… at least one) itself. The book’s finale is strong, but every little twist, turn and strange response that lead us to that climactic point are just as strong.
Norman is a must-read book, and it’s nice to know that even with powerhouse publishers like Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Image and IDW eating up plenty of sales and attention, there’s still genuine talent out there putting in amazing work for other publishers and ultimately gifting readers one of the finest comics available today.
Order Norman Volume 1 right here.