10th Mar2015

Graphic Novel Review: ‘Norman Vol.1’

by Richard Axtell

Written by Stan Silas | Translastion by Ivanka Hahnenberger | Art by Stan Silas | Published by Titan Comics | Format: Hardback, 64pp


Norman is eight years old. He also likes to kill people. Trying to follow in the footsteps of one of his heroes, Jason Voorhees, Norman likes to lure his classmates away from school and kill them in a variety of gory and generally quite violent ways. But when his secret is nearly discovered, he needs to take quick and decisive action to prevent anyone from finding out. Unfortunately, quick and decisive aren’t two of Norman’s best qualities. Things don’t go according to plan, and soon Norman finds that he might not be the only one trying to hide a dark secret at his school.

Norman is a comic which is childish, rude, silly and ridiculous. On top of that, it is filled to the brim with references to horror films from Psycho to Friday the 13th and because of those reasons, Norman is one of my favourite comics out there at the moment. Honestly, I found this gory-yet-light-hearted story (woo rhymes!) not only hilarious but also gripping and easy to read. I couldn’t put it down as I read about Norman and the mischief he gets up to, mainly thanks to the small devil who floats over his shoulders. Massive kudos to Stan Silas for writing this great piece and also to Ivanka Hahnenberger who translated it from its original French as I personally couldn’t tell at all that it wasn’t originally English..

The art style definitely helps bring the comedy and silliness to the forefront in this comic. Drawn in a way that reminds me a bit of the cartoons I used to watch as a twenty year old (I mean child! Child is what I mean!) the range of characters each with their larger than life unique twists are all depicted clearly and hilariously as they hunt for the killer in their midst.

In fact, that is one of my favourite parts of Norman. Every character brings something new and generally very funny to the story. No one feels like they have been put there to fill out the comic. The class alone are a wildly different bunch including one who is poor (eww poor people) and a very strange group of girls intent on trying to figure out what is going on. You won’t find yourself playing ‘spot the main character’ here. The collection of characters in this comic is definitely a strong point which will keep you going right up until the end and some of the dialogue between them is comedy gold.

I definitely recommend this comic for horror fans who appreciate a good laugh. In fact I recommend this comic to anyone really (if you can handle a bit of cartoon blood) because it is really good! Definitely an example of a comic done well, I look forward to any further issues of this that are released.

Norman Vol.1 is released on April 1st.


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