When people say one piece of media is a love letter to something else, they typically mean that it is either a faithful recreation for the modern-day or a sort of parody that acknowledges the highs and lows of the art by putting it on full display. Odd Yarns, written by John Luzar, straddles that line in a very effective way. In its self-professed tribute to the Silver Age of comics, it successfully recaptures and pokes fun at all of the goofy camp both the creators and us clearly love about the outlandish and original creativity of the classics.
In just a few short pages of a flipbook, Odd Yarns packs them full of wildly fun characters and concepts. The double-feature issues star such heroes as the Agent of C.H.A.S.M and The Magicommando. Both heroes that we meet feel and look remarkably unique, amalgamations of familiar concepts that still feel like fresh creations. With teleporting Soviets and extradimensional cosmic horrors serving as the threats, it captures all of the fun weirdness of classic comics.
One area in which Odd Yarns doesn’t strive to mimic the Silver Age is in its art, and I think it is actually better for it. While the illustrations by Lane Lloyd and colored by Laurel Dundee certainly draw inspiration from older comics, the art and coloring have more of a bright and modern styling that gives Odd Yarns its own distinct look and feel. Instead of the more faded look, it feels like a more organic homage to the comics of old in this way, rather than just an imitation. The character and world designs are sharp, simple, and nice to look at, and they succeed at creating a stylized and varied world.
Odd Yarns is also both subtlety and overtly funny. The writing is delightfully self-aware and fully leans into campy and corny dialogue, with cheeky references to the Silver Age era of pop culture and real-world events. What really made me fall in love with Odd Yarns is all of the little extra details that the creators put into it. The comic is structured as an actual single-issue print comic, complete with full-page advertisements for toys and other comics that also feel like they were pulled right out of the 70s. My favorite was a page of toy ads that repeatedly goads the reader into wasting money on self-professed cheap toys and gags, complete with a coupon that urges the reader to cut it out so that the comic will be worthless to collectors in the future.
“Love letter” is certainly an apt descriptor for Odd Yarns. It goes beyond basic references and homages to truly dig to the core of what makes these older comics so beloved. It’s a wonderful blast from the past that forges its own identity too.