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Emily the Strange

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She is anti-cool, a subculture of one, and a follower of no-one but herself. She is the anti-hero for the Do It Yourself movement.
Emily the Strange homepage

Created by Rob Reger and illustrated by Buzz Parker, Emily the Strange is a thin thirteen-year-old girl devised as an Internet cartoon, who has since become the subject of books, T-shirts and all sorts of paraphernalia. Her style of dress can only be described as Goth, as she has long black hair with a fringe and wears a short black dress, black stockings and white 'Mary Jane' shoes. Reminiscent of Wednesday Addams, Emily is, however, a definite individual and loner1; a leader, creative, unique. Always up to something, she devises well-thought-out plans with precision execution. But perhaps it is her witty catchphrases that are key to her popularity:

Wish you weren't here.
I know I'm strange, but what are you?
Or the simple...
Get lost.

Emily's Cats

Emily has four black cats: Mystery, Miles, Sabbath and Nee-Chee, all of which are manifestations of Emily's personality traits.

  • Mystery - having a white star for an eye, she is a leader through and through.

  • Miles - 'makes stuff happen'; does not wait for things to just occur. He is creative - an improviser.

  • Sabbath - though rarely seen, he is distinguished by a scar on his right ear. This cat looks for and creates mischief.

  • Nee-Chee - noticeable with a black and white striped tail, she is a thinker and schemer.

Emily the Inventive

Emily may be little...but she thinks big.
Emily's Secret Book of Strange

Emily has invented many things in her short lifetime. She makes Zonsters, created the 'Odd-i-see' machine, and runs a Ghoul School. Her works, though varied, have one common theme: they all demand that we look at life from a different angle.


Emily makes Zonsters, patchwork monster dolls, to be her friends.

  • Jinx - an evil cat, he is one of Emily's first Zonsters. A world traveller with poor vision, he relies on his other senses to take him to his far-off locations. Emily also ignores one of her senses and appears to harbour a common teenage trait - selective hearing:

    Emily hears everything...and listens to nothing.
    Emily's Secret Book of Strange

  • Nekky - another Zonster, Nekky's head unzips to reveal his brain. He sees everything but knows nothing, which can be interpreted two different ways. We can see him as unintelligent or, perhaps, though he sees all that goes on, unwilling to divulge any information.

  • Thin Lizzy - the most human-looking of the Zonsters. She is a skinny girl with absurdly long legs and arms. She is an escape artist, and is able to see right through you:

    Emily believes...seeing is deceiving.
    Emily the Strange

  • Snorey & Gorey - Emily's last Zonster. Gorey is a two-headed doll and each head has its own opinions and takes its own actions. This doll represents Emily's theory that the route you choose to take in life is unimportant, so long as you go somewhere:

    It doesn't matter which way you go...as long as you get lost.
    Emily's Secret Book of Strange

As is evidenced by her collection of Zonsters, Emily is creative and embraces her individuality.

The 'Odd-i-see' Machine

Emily holds the future in her own hands.
Emily the Strange

Emily created the 'Odd-i-see' machine out of items she found in her garage: a Ouija board, Magic 8-Ball, Etch-a-Sketch and thirteen-hour clock. The contraption allows for data input and reveals the future from what is entered, as well as dispensing sage advice.

The Ghoul School

Emily has established a Ghoul School. Her usual pupils include her cats and Zonsters, but it is open to all2. Its mission is to educate, foster creativity and self-expression and push the student's self beyond his or her comfort zone in order to experience life. By completing specified tasks, one earns 'demerit' badges. Some examples of the badges offered and their requirements are as follows:

  • Superstitious is Nutritious - encourages you to defy superstition and record what happens.

  • No Place Like Alone - tells you to spend the day alone and come up with three things you learned about yourself in the process.

  • Agent Strange - asks you to sit in darkness, in silence, as long as possible, just to see what happens when your mind and body are quiet.

  • Don't Speak - instructs you not to argue, but to simply revel in the idiotic stuff the other person says in the process.

  • Strange Brain - asks you to go out of your way to learn about something you had no idea you would be interested in.

The Ghoul School encourages students to follow Emily's lead by not searching to belong, but rather to play by your own rules.

Emily the Neo-Feminist

Emily can possibly be seen as a strong female role model. She always does what she wants without fear of ridicule. She believes that independence, free thought, originality, creativity and learning are all keys to happiness. Many people see Emily merely as a little girl who dresses in gothic clothing and surrounds herself with darkness, but she is bold and follows her heart. Emily does not pay attention to what a girl is stereotypically supposed to be or do. She does everything for herself without relying on others for assistance.

Emily the Amazingly Popular

Emily's accomplishments are varied, but all revolve around one central idea: that people need to try looking at things just a bit differently. She and her ever-present cats have gone from being an Internet cartoon to a pop culture phenomenon that influences many people, embracing uniqueness and creativity.

Ironically, although Emily is probably the least likely to 'jump on the bandwagon', she has become a fashion icon and a subject of mass merchandising. In July/August 2003, V magazine ran a double-page spread of clothing inspired by Emily and created by Chanel, Gaultier, Helmut Lang, Marc Jacobs and others.

She also enjoys a wide fanbase, with the first two issues of the Emily Strange comic book released in 2005 — The Boring Issue #1 and The Lost Issue #2. The Dark Issue #3 is due for release in 2006, and 20th Century Fox Studios have also announced the planned Emily Strange - the Movie.

Further Reading

  • Emily the Strange
  • Emily's Secret Book of Strange
  • Emily's Good Nightmares
1Emily's adventures are most commonly self-obsessed. We learn little of her family or friends, seeing as she is her own 'subculture of one'.2Use the hyperlink in the Entry to enrol yourself.

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