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Simpson says ‘Nonplayer’ #2 nearly done, teases new webcomic

nonplayerthumbSome 31 months after the release of Nonplayer #1, writer/artist Nate Simpson has revealed that, as of November, the second issue is fully penciled and partially colored. He also refers to plans for an additional project, a webcomic and a subsequent collection he hopes to fund through Kickstarter.

Published through Image Comics, the first issue of Nonplayer thrust readers into the double life of Dana Stevens. The story opens in a lushly rendered fantasy world, the game space of a fictional MMO called Warriors of Jarvath. There, Dana operates as a ruthless assassin, murdering one of the game’s pivotal non-player characters. Once logged out, the young woman returns to work delivering tamales. The series debuted in April 2011 to widespread acclaim, heralded by advance praise from Geof Darrow, Frank Quitely and Jean “Moebius” Giraud, each a key influence on Simpson’s visual sensibility.

“The moment I sat down and read a printout of the book, I was seriously knocked on my ass,” Joe Keatinge (Glory, Hell Yeah) wrote on ROBOT 6 ahead of the issue’s release. “This dude’s comics debut is ridiculous and puts many a veteran cartoonist to shame.”

The single issue earned Simpson the 2011 Eisner Award for Best Newcomer.

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Robot 6 Q&A | Nonplayer’s Nate Simpson on the art (and business) of comics

Editor’s note: With Tim O’Shea being out this week, Chris Arrant was kind enough to step in and provide an interview for us this Monday. Tim will be back next week.

One of the most exciting new talents to come into comics last year was cartoonist Nate Simpson with the debut of Nonplayer #1 last April. It was made official when, only three months later, he received the Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer Award at Comic-Con International in San Diego. Since then he’s gotten a movie deal and been approached with a variety of comic opportunities, but also had his share of bad luck with a broken collarbone in September. 2011 was a year to remember for Nate Simpson.

Now Simpson is back at the drawing board working on Nonplayer #2, but his whirlwind success (and spill) forced the cartoonist to take a more earnest look at this business he left his full-time career in video games for back in 2009. On his workblog he says it best, describing it as place where he “learns to draw comics by drawing a comic.” And what he’s learned is that there’s a lot more to comics than just drawing them. I talked with Simpson this past weekend about the status of Nonplayer #2, his outlook on comics, and the struggle between seeing comics as an art form and seeing them as a business.

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Food or Comics? | This week’s comics on a budget

Fear Itself #1

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy on Wednesday based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on what we call our “Splurge” item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList if you’d like to play along in our comments section.

Graeme McMillan

There comes a time when curiosity overwhelms common sense, which is why if I had $15 this week, I’d pick up Fear Itself #1 (Marvel Comics, $3.99). I’m not sold on the series, as much as I love crossovers – Immonen on art is a big draw, but Fraction has been very uneven recently for me – and, despite some of the reviews I’ve read, I’m hearing word that it’s more of a case of “You’ll like this if this is the kind of thing you like” book than a home run. We’ll see. I’m much more excited about Nate Simpson’s Nonplayer #1 (Image Comics, $2.99); the previews look amazing, and everyone I know who’s read a preview copy has only had glowing praise for it. I’ll also be picking up the second (and final) issue of IDW’s crossover event Infestation ($3.99), as I want to know how the whole thing ends up, and the spoilers for Brightest Day #23 (DC Comics, $2.99) make that a must-have, too, even if it’s more for “They’re doing WHAT?” reasons than genuine excitement.

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