The Strange Ones

Gallery 13: S. & S. Jan. 2020. 192p. ISBN 9781982101121. pap. Rated: Teen+. $19.99. F
Riding the ferry home to Staten Island after a Belly concert in Manhattan, a lonesome college freshman named Anjeline spots a boy she recognizes from the show and introduces herself. His name is Franck. He wears combat boots, as well as a homemade Star of David on his trench coat, “in solidarity with Jews and their suffering from the Holocaust.” The two become friends, and as they spend more time together—roaming museums, exploring the Cloisters, strolling the Brooklyn Heights promenade—Anjeline is intrigued by Franck’s strange behavior. He’s typically withdrawn and withholding but rambles when asked about literature or aerodynamics; he attempts to order haddock at every restaurant he visits, even McDonalds. Creator Jusay (animation for TV’s Wonder Showzen; Superjail!) allows subtle dialog and quietly affectionate gestures to establish how vitally important Franck and Anjeline become to each other, making the sudden tragedy that befalls one of them achingly sad and the other’s struggle to find peace in the aftermath sweetly poignant.
VERDICT A sensitive, understated depiction of how miraculous it feels to encounter a soul similar to one’s own.

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