Week of Strange Girl – Part 1 – Rick Remender’s Omnibus Foreward

Strange Girl Omnibus CoverOne of our long time favorite series over the past 10 years has been Strange Girl from Image Comics, written by Rick Remender with art by Eric Nguyen, Jerome Opena and many more.  This September, Strange Girl is scheduled to get the Omnibus treatment, which is a great opportunity for those of you who missed the series the first time around in issues, or the second time around in trades.

To celebrate the release of the Strange Girl Omnibus, we reached out to Remender to see if he had any unseen goodies he could share with us and boy, did he ever.  Remender gave us SO much stuff that it was too much to fit in one post, so we decided to dub this the WEEK OF STRANGE GIRL and have a week long celebration of the little series that captured our hearts back in 2006.

Throughout this week we’ll be spotlighting the artists of Strange Girl, along with some never before seen artwork and then on Thursday, you can catch a lengthy interview on iFanboy Talksplode with Rick Remender, where we look back on Strange Girl and discuss it’s impact (as well as talk about Venom and Uncanny X-Force).

But first up, in our inaugural Week of Strange Girl post, we present to you the debut of Rick Rememender’s foreward to the Strange Girl Omnibus. This bit of writing from Remender will grace the opening pages of the soon to be released Omnibus and is a rare moment of behind the curtain honesty from the writer about his feelings about Strange Girl. And if that doesn’t do it for you, scroll down for some artistic goodness to preview what you can expect throughout the rest of the week.


Hi. Welcome to this giant collection of my creator-owned comic series Strange Girl.

Before I wrote this foreword, I took a stroll through the series and reread it for the first time since it came out.  At first, I felt a deep desire to change so much of it. I‘m self-critical and have the common problem of only seeing the negatives in anything I do. All I could see were the series blemishes.

“Fuck me, this is overwritten at the beginning.”

“Oh, Jesus, the pacing is off, it rushes through this and slows down too long on that.”

“I don’t really feel like we get to know our protagonist until the third issue.”

It went on and on until I was considering calling Image and canceling this Omnibus collection. That’s just what it’s like to be neurotic.

After I got past the first issue and my technical deconstruction of it, I realized I still love Bethany, Bloato and the rest of these characters. I still want people to read about them. The thing that makes us love a character is not technical craft; it’s a character’s voice, fears, insecurities, passions and our identification to all of it.

I also recognized, in rereading the book, that Bethany was an avatar for a part of myself. I guess all characters are, in one-way or another. It never occurred to me while I was writing it, that this young girl, stranded in a post-Rapture world, on a road trip to the last gateway to heaven, was a personal story. A story that was analogous to so many of my feelings about the world and my place in it.

A brief bit about me, my Mother’s side of the family is Mormon, and they are many in number. My Father is not Mormon. He met my Mother in Hawaii while stationed there as a Marine. Apparently, as the story goes, soon after their wedding, when my Grandfather welcomed Dad into the family, my old man responded, “I’m not joining your family, I’m taking her off to make my own.”

This would define our relationship with my Mother’s family.

So growing up, I was something of a black sheep. I wasn’t raised Mormon and I had no interest in any of it. I decided at 5 years of age that I’m not a believer in God, or any man-made ideas about him/her/it. Though I don’t discount the possibility of something more after life, there isn’t any evidence of it, for or against, so I don’t make a determination. I just know that no other human has cooked up any of the answers. That makes me an agnostic.

My Father didn’t have any family left, so all I ever knew was my Mother’s and I never felt much a part of it. Dad was an alcoholic and a drug addict until I was ten, when he got sober and entered AA. So there were many years where I was seeking acceptance, but it wasn’t available anywhere. This made me especially susceptible to bullies at school, as I would visibly react at being rejected or made fun of.

We moved around quite often, which didn’t help. About the time I was ten, we lost our house in a flood that was created by a mega church behind our home. They had put in a giant parking lot with a bad drainage plan and it all angled towards our house. So we had to move into my Grandmother’s house while Dad got sober and we tried to get our lives back together. I was the new kid at a new school and was nice and fat from living on TV dinners as Mom was a bit preoccupied with debt and sobering up Dad, so I wasn’t swimming with friends at school. It fell on my younger sister to be my friend, my little sidekick. To pass the time I’d set up all our toys and put on little shows, tell adventures, and stuff like that. Isn’t that cute, you cynical assholes?

Anyway, all of this moving, lack of acceptance, and disconnect from my Father and all my Mother’s relatives left me insecure and with no sense of home base. This would later grow into a strong aversion to authority, a safety mechanism to keep myself in control of my life and surroundings and to avoid the feeling of being at the mercy of the whims of others. Because when all is said and done, I never felt that many people were on my side or looking out for me. I was never a part of anything and never felt accepted by any group. So fuck everyone, right? I’d learned that if you didn’t push back, people in power would shit all over you and take advantage. I didn’t trust anyone.

I still have issues with it. That jive is engrained far down.

Looking back, I can see this book reflected my feelings of rejection, persecution, isolation and the rage and rebellion that grew to mask the injuries of those tumultuous years. Bethany Black is that part of me that didn’t understand why the world’s rules were set up to always leave me feeling ostracized or unwelcomed.

Religion may seem the target, but it isn’t really. It’s analogous to any group that rejected me, left me out and helped me choose to feel unacceptable. The entire world always felt like an elaborate maze built to make me feel like I was deposited in the wrong place. It left me bitter and angry. Only now, through the love of my wife, daughter, son and giant cat, have I begun to move past it.

This rejection, ironically, continued with the book’s sales figures. It never found a wide enough audience to sustain itself. While the financial pain stung us all, I can see now, for me, it was the continuous sense of rejection that fucked me up the most. To be doing something so personal and unique with such gorgeous art and to put so much time and energy into it, only to have the sales continuously dwindle issue-by-issue is a terrible feeling. But, we continued to move it forward, a squad of friends and colleagues all working hard for no money, or next to it.

Seeing this story through to its intended ending was only possible due to the support and countless hours of labor donated by my artistic collaborators, Eric Nguyen, Joelle Comtois, Jerome Opeña, Nick Stakal, Michelle Madsen, Harper Jaten, Micah Farritor, Peter Bergting, Ed Dukeshire, Tony Avina, Andy Kuhn, Russ Lowery, Eric Stephenson and Image Comics who kept it alive even when it didn’t make financial sense to do it, and kept it in print.

Image supported and nurtured me for many years and I wouldn’t be where I am today without their support. This omnibus collection is a testament to that support. This book should have been canceled after issue 5, but Eric and Image kept it going. They didn’t reject me. They stuck with me and made this series possible, as did the artist who toiled in obscurity to realize it.

Writing it out and seeing how much support and love I’ve received on this project serves to reinforce that maybe my feelings of persecution and rejection should take a breather.

Just for the night.

Rick Remender
Portland, 2011

And here’s a little bit promise art-gasm for you thanks to Mr. Eric Nguyen, character sketches of Beth and Bloato:

Strange Girl art by Eric Nguyen

Strange Girl Issue #2 art by Eric Nguyen


  1. Saw ‘Remender’ and Omnibus in the headline, held breath hoping for Fear Agent omnibus and read the rest of the article… 🙁

    Guess I can check this out too… 🙂

  2. Awesome. This is why I love iFanboy — finding out about comics that I just wouldn’t have noticed. Looking forward to next month!

  3. I love Strange Girl! Can’t wait to buy this omnibus.

    This was a great idea to feature on the site.

  4. I’m buying this omnibus. Even though I am broke from buying the Invincible compendium, I will get this. College tuition and all of that shit isn’t really important…

  5. how much is this thing, anybody know?

  6. Super sold! You good sir have gotten me excited for this to come out 😛

  7. I had never even heard of this series until I got the first 2 trades as swag from the iFanboy 10th Anniv. show. Really fun!

  8. I really liked this series when it came out. I had all the trades, but ebayed them out of desperation. I don’t know if I was a mature enough comic reader to really appreciate the series, so I’m going to pick up the omnibus now that I’ve had more time to read comics. Hopefully, that will translate to a stronger appreciation for the series.

  9. will have for sure.