No Place Like Home is a brand-new book that Jason Knize picked up for me on a whim. I’m thankful that he did. Part mystery, part horror comic, No Place Like Home is an exciting new twist on the Wizard of Oz story.
No Place Like Home #1
Written by Angelo Tirotto
Art by Richard Jordan
Colors by Paul Little
Published by Image Comics
No Place Like Home is the punk rock, skateboarding stepchild of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
From the official website: http://noonemournsthewicked.com:
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…
As creator Angelo Tirotto explains in the letters section of this first issue, No Place Like Home began after he watched a TV show and felt that he could have done better at adapting the story. (He doesn’t specify what show, but I bet it was the Sci-Fi Channel miniseries Tin Man, which I enjoyed mostly because Zooey Deschanel is delightful.) He continued cultivating the idea until it became a full comic book series.
While Tin Man was a gothic fantasy adventure, No Place Like Home is shaping up to have a strong horror slant as terrors from Oz begin to wreak havoc in Kansas. Tirotto promises “an epic journey across Oz,” in the near future. It remains to be seen if Oz is the rosy technicolor dreamland of the Judy Garland movie, or a bleak, desolate wasteland as it is in so many “post-Oz” imaginings.
The first story arc, Home Again, will focus on the two young women, Dee and Liz, who are caught in the middle of these strange happenings in Emeraldsville, Kansas. As the official synopsis above states, Dee returns to town after her parents are killed in a tornado. However, it’s obvious that this isn’t any normal tornado that hit the town. However, we don’t really know what is terrorizing the town at this point. Our only clue is the recurring theme of crows and crow feathers. The story has just the right amount of mystery to keep readers interested, while still dropping hints at what the big reveal may be.
Dee, Liz, and Helen (at this point a tertiary protagonist) are tough-as-nails chicks who aren’t going to be pushed around by whatever external force is out of them. They’re a lot of fun to read; their dialogue is spot-on, and despite their outward appearances they’re just normal women. Sure, they have attitudes, but they’re not caricatures of what a writer might think a “punk rock girl” might act like. I can imagine that Mr. Tirotto has some friends who are very much like Dee, Liz, and Helen, since he writes their characters so well. It’s interesting to note that, other than the sheriff’s deputy and Helen’s daughter, every other character we’ve seen so far has been over the age of 50.
The artwork isn’t my style, but it serves the story well. The inking is very heavy, sometimes to the point of faces being inked to the point that characters gain and lose 20 years depending upon expression and shadows. However, this heavy use of darkness does add to the “grittiness” of the book. Colors used in the book are muted. During the scenes that happen during the daytime a more varied palette is used. However, as the book takes a more surreal turn the pages become more and more monochromatic until the final page, which is awash in a grayish-blue hue with the exception of a red bandanna and blood.
No Place Like Home is very obviously a labor of love for its creative team, and it shows. It has been carefully plotted out, re-written, and re-drawn, as shown by the extra content at the end of the book. It’s well worth the read, especially for horror fans or Wizard of Oz aficionados. With its strong female leading characters, it’ll also be worth watching to see how they make an impact on comics as this book gains momentum. I highly recommend picking up No Place Like Home on your next trip to the comic store. The first issue sold out quickly, so if your store is out of copies you’ll have to wait for the reprint, which is coming out the same day as issue #2, March 21st.