“Goth Pop Icon” a Children’s Book Knockoff?

By Neal Comment


Cycling through our Twitter follows late last night, we followed a link to an article suggesting a non-coincidental degree of similarity between Rosamond, a supporting character in the Nate the Great series of children’s books written by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat and illustrated by Marc Simont, and Emily the Strange, a merchandising icon that has evolved from stickers and T-shirts to a series of “graphic novellas” published by Chronicle Books, a monthly comic book from Dark Horse Comics, and, starting next year, a set of young adult novels from HarperCollins.

Some commenters to the blog post are surprised it took this long for somebody to say something: “Good GOD, finally someone else noticed!” one reader wrote. “I made this comparison back in the mid-90s when I first discovered Emily merchandise… However, no one else seemed to notice and obviously there was no lawsuit, so I thought maybe I was overreacting.” Another adds, “I raged at the huge commercial entity Emily had become without giving credit where credit was due. I couldn’t find good comparison pictures with a google image search with which to show a comparison to friends. You freakin’ nailed it!”

The image at left comes from 1978’s Nate the Great Goes Undercover; the one at right is described in the article as “one of the first images of Emily the Strange ever made publicly available,” from a sticker produced in the early 1990s. Whether the similarities between the two are of any consequence is yet to be determined—and considering that Dark Horse has an Emily the Strange film in development, while Theaterworks/USA is touring a musical adaptation of Nate the Great (including Rosamond) for elementary school audiences, the situation is likely to take some sorting out.