Western Comic: Namesake, Volume 1 (English)

May 30th, 2014

namesakevol1cover_largeSummers seem to me to be the perfect time for breaking out all the cool-female-character comics I’m reading, and fun lesbian novels, along with other things of interest. So, along with Katherine’s Guest Review Wednesday, I want to take a moment to tell you about the last of the comics I picked up at TCAF this year.

 Namesake, by Isabelle Melançon and Megan Lavey-Heaton is about a young woman named Emma, who finds herself literally dragged into a story where she’ll need all her wits to survive. Emma is a Namesake, one of a groups of people with the ability to jump in an out of narratives. Without training, or seemingly, reason, Emma is dragged away from her world after a terrible event at the local library, where she was picking up her little sister, and dumped in a place no one in their right mind would ever expect to land. Emma finds herself in Oz.

Because the main portion of this volume of Namesake takes place in Oz, there is a great deal of exposition in which we are quickly caught up on the Oz cannon and filled in on current events in Oz. Almost immediately we meet old friends and new enemies, while Emma tries to figure out what the hell is going on.

For completely sensible reasons,  the second half of the first volume necessarily becomes an Oz fanfic, which might become tiresome if you are not a fan of Baum’s world. Nonetheless, there are some extremely interesting elements in this volume that kept me reading. Emma’s not a super strong protagonist out of the gate, but the librarian we meet in the beginning is. For various reasons I’m hanging on to see if she’ll be back. Also far stronger than Emma is her younger sister Elaine and in the final extra chapter of the volume, something occurs which dragged me right back into the story and has motivated me to get Volume 2.

And, aside from the individual characters, the world of the Namesakes is fascinating. We get the barest glimpse of the larger story in Volume 1. I hope that Volume 2 will gives us more of an idea of what is going on outside Oz. The opening of the first volume leads me to believe we will..and that there’s a lot to learn.

The art is very strong with a mostly black & white feel, with strategic use of color. At times, the color leaves one wondering what the significance is, which I quite like, as I do not believe anything we’re seeing is arbitrary.

Namesake is a webcomic that has been collected into several ebook and printt volumes, so you can read it from the beginning and decide if you too want to know the secret of the Namesakes.


Art – 8
Story – 7
Characters – 7

Overall – 7 with tons of potential

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