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Talking Comics with Tim | Natalie Nourigat on ‘A Boy & a Girl’

A Boy & A Girl

A Boy & A Girl

Dec. 11 will see the release of the latest collaboration between artist Natalie Nourigat and writer Jamie S. Rich, A Boy & a Girl, a 160-page sci-fi romance. Published by Oni Press (Diamond Order CodeJUL131213), the graphic novel is a futuristic story that considers an Earth where life-like androids are becoming just as common as real humans, and where a guy named Travis decides he just has to get a date with a girl named Charley. That spark of interest leads to a whole slew of quirky turns and revelations. I recently caught up with Nourigat, who’s normally based out of Portland, Oregon’s Periscope Studio but is spending a year in France, to discuss her latest work. To get a slice of the story, be sure to check out Oni’s 10-page preview.

Tim O’Shea: Was there any specific element in particular about Jamie S. Rich’s script that persuaded you to want to draw the story?

Natalie Nourigat: I wanted to draw the story before I even knew what the story was, because I wanted to work with Jamie again. He was really open to collaboration, and from the beginning he invited me to suggest elements that interested me to steer us into something that would be fun for both of us. I wanted a time-travel story, and then a futuristic sci-fi setting, and then the split-perspective angle as things progressed.

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Six by 6 | Stopping for books on a snowy evening

I live north of Boston, and as I write, my front door is snowed shut (don’t worry, the neighbor kid is shoveling it out) and my car is immobilized behind a large berm of snow. The nameless blizzard of ’13 didn’t wreak any major damage in my area, but I’m going to be staying in for a while.

This doesn’t bother me; I grew up in Northern Indiana, where you could count on being completely snowed in at least once a winter, and we sort of liked it. It clears a space in your life; when you can’t go out and most of the activity in the outside world has stopped, it’s a great time to light a fire, pour the drink of your choice (for me it’s hot tea) and hunker down with a good book. Here are six graphic novels that evoke that winter feeling, all of which are equally enjoyable whether you are reading them by a snowy window or on the beach.

Chikyu Misaki | This three-volume manga, published many years ago by the now-defunct CMX, is a charming all-ages story about two children who find a shape-shifting lake monster in their country town. It’s structured like a caper movie, but one of the things I really enjoy about it is Yūji Iwahara’s wonderful art, which perfectly evokes the feeling of a country house on a snowy day. You’ll have to pick it up used or from the library, though, as it’s long out of print.

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NYCC | Oni Press, Bergen Street Comics team for signing party

If you find yourself in New York City next week the day before New York Comic Con, you might consider swinging through Brooklyn for the Oni Press event at Bergen Street Comics described as “the most radical of all signings known to man” — and perhaps chimpanzee.

Radical or not, the Wednesday event will feature Petrograd collaborators Phillip Gelatt and Tyler Crook and Guerillas creator Brahm Revel.

Published last year by Oni, Petrograd follows a reluctant British spy who during World War I was assigned to orchestrate the death of Grigori Rasputin, the most trusted desire to Russia’s tsarina and the country surrogate ruler. Set during the Vietnam War, Guerillas features a platoon of chain-smoking chimpanzees that’s been transformed into the most dangerous fighting force in the jungles.

The signing party begins Oct. 10 at 5 p.m. at Bergen Street Comics, 470 Bergen St, Brooklyn. New York Comic Con kicks off Thursday at the Jacob Javits Center. Read the full announcement below:

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What Are You Reading? with Paul Allor

Happy Labor Day, Americans, and welcome, everybody, to What Are You Reading? Today our special guest is Paul Allor, writer of IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles spinoff, Fugitoid, as well as his own anthology Clockwork.

To see what Paul and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below:

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What Are You Reading? with Alex Dueben

Sacre Bleu

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Our special guest this week is Alex Dueben, who you probably know from his interviews for the main site, Comic Book Resources, as well as for sites like Suicide Girls.

To see what Alex and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.

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The Middle Ground #83 | Five of my favorites

“Best Of”s are always a problem for me; I get plagued by the knowledge that I know that I’m going to forget something really important – The list of important things that I’ve forgotten in my life is both embarrassingly long and just plain embarrassing, trust me – as well as the fact that I’ve just not managed to read all the good stuff released this year. How can I claim that something is one of the Best 10 Whatevers of the year if there’s another something I suspect may be even better, if only I could finally get around to making time for it?

And yet… ’tis the season, isn’t it? With 2011 just days from crawling out the backdoor, ashamed at its behavior and hoping that no-one will think too ill of it in future, this is the point where everyone looks back and picks their favorite things of the past twelve months. “Favorites” is a far more accurate term; less definitive, true, and less likely to get hits because of that, but it’s more true to say “I liked these the most” than “These are objectively the greatest,” isn’t it? And so, in no particular order and with the warning that I will inevitably have forgotten something important and wonderful, five of my favorite books of 2011: Continue Reading »

The best of the best of the year lists

Petrograd

• iFanboy has named Petrograd by Phil Gelatt and Tyler Crook as their book of the year.

• Johanna Draper Carlson shares her top ten graphic novels of the year, a list that includes Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol, Criminal: The Last of the Innocent by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, Love and Capes: Wake Up Where You Are by Thomas Zahler and Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton.

• Danny Djeljosevic, Nick Hanover and Jason Sacks at Comics Bulletin count down their top ten graphic novels of 2011, which include Frank Miller’s Holy Terror, Oil and Water by Steve Duin and Shannon Wheeler, and Habibi by Craig Thompson.

• Pop Candy’s Whitney Matheson continues her countdown of the top people of 2011. Jeffrey Brown comes in at No. 71, while Brian Selznick lands at No. 55. Jeff Lemire is at No. 31. Robert Kirkman and Kevin Smith both break into the top 20. I won’t spoil the No. 1 pick, but I agree with it wholeheartedly.

• Jonathan P. Kuehlein of the Toronto Star picks his year’s best, including Vietnamerica: A Family’s Journey by GB Tran, Joe The Barbarian: The Deluxe Edition by Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy, and Scarlet: Book 1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev.

Ryan K Lindsay and Ken Boehm share some of their favorite comics of the year over at The Weekly Crisis.


The Robot 6 Holiday Gift-Giving Guide, Part 1

‘Tis the season for decking those halls, trimming those trees, lighting the menorah and, of course, figuring out what to buy for your friends and family. To help give you some ideas, we reached out to a few comic creators, asking them:

1. What comic-related gift or gifts would you recommend giving this year, and why?
2. What gift (comic or otherwise) is at the top of your personal wish list, and why?

We’ve gotten back a bunch of suggestions, which we’ll run between now and the end of the week. So let the merriment commence …

Jim McCann

1. Exclusive 2011 Janet Lee Holiday Ornaments
Every year, Janet does about 12 ornaments, three sets of four. This year, she has done Hipster Animals, Scary Toys and Art Nouveau Angels. They are signed and dated, and at the end of the season, that’s it! She stops making them. I’ve been collecting them since 2007, and now our tree is almost completely filled with Janet’s art. You can buy them exclusively through her Etsy shop.

Oh, and if you’re REALLY nice, she MAY have a very limited Dapper Men ornament or two. Just ask!

2. This year, for myself, I’m going with a mix of Blu-Rays (portable Blu-Ray player, please, Santa!) and books. But the thing I’m REALLY excited for is the hardcover edition of the Complete Ripley novels, by Patricia Highsmith. Most people only know of Ms. Highsmith through The Talented Mr. Ripley (and classic film lovers through Strangers On a Train). There were actually five Tom Ripley novels, and the collection looks amazing. Why these books? My spouse recently Tweeted a quote from John Lithgow that struck me as a writer: “Duality, duplicity, truth and deception, good becoming bad and vice-versa are crucial elements of great storytelling.” Highsmith was and remains an unsung hero of mastering that, so I hope I learn something in the process!

Happy Holidays from the Dapper Lariosa-McCann household!

Jim McCann is the writer of Return of the Dapper Men and its upcoming sequel, Marvel Zombies Christmas Carol, Hawkeye:Blindspot and the upcoming Mind The Gap.

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Comics A.M. | Tom Ziuko health update; women and comics

Tom Ziuko

Creators | The Hero Initiative offers an update from colorist Tom Ziuko, who was hospitalized earlier this year for acute kidney failure and other health conditions, and then returned to the hospital for emergency surgery about a month ago. “I can’t impress upon you enough how frightening it is to actually come up against a life-threatening medical situation (not to mention two times in less than a year), and not have the financial means to survive if you’re suddenly not able to earn a living. Like so many other freelancers out there, I live paycheck to paycheck, unable to afford health insurance. Without an organization like the Hero Initiative to lend me support in this time of dire need, I truly don’t know where I would be today,” Ziuko said. [The Hero Initiative]

Publishing | CNN asks the question “Are women and comics risky business?” as Christian Sager talks to former DC editor Janelle Asselin, blogger Jill Pantozzi, Womanthology organizer Renae De Liz and others about the number of women who work in comics, the portrayal of female characters and why comic companies don’t actively market books to women. “Think about it from the publisher’s point of view,” Asselin said. “Say you sell 90 percent of your comics to men between 18 and 35, and 10 percent of your comics to women in the same age group. Are you going to a) try to grow that 90 percent of your audience because you feel you already have the hook they want and you just need to get word out about it, or b) are you going to try to figure out what women want in their comics and do that to grow your line?” [CNN]

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Food or Comics? | Snarked, Caniff, Ultimate Comics Fallout and more

Ultimate Comics Fallout

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop 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 a “Splurge” item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Graeme McMillan

It’s an odd week this week, with little slices of history all over the place. If I had $15, I’d make a point of grabbing two of those slices immediately: Ultimate Comics Fallout #4 (Marvel, $3.99) is the most hyped of the two, the introduction of the “all-new” Spider-Man that we’ve apparently been counting down to for the last week, but I’ll admit more eagerness to read Superman #714 (DC, $2.99), the final issue of the original numbering of a series that’s been running for seven decades, as well as the final episode of “Grounded,” which has become a testament to Chris Roberson’s ability to make a silk purse out of JMS’ ear, or something. Also on the DC side, Flashpoint #4 (DC, $3.99), because I’ve come this far, and because I’m curious what the last page shocker that will make me desperate to read #5 is going to turn out to be. Also: Snarked #0 (BOOM! Studios) is out! Worth multiple times the $1 it actually costs.

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SDCC ’11 | A whole bunch of artwork from the Oni Press panel

Black Metal 2

As I was going through the folders I’d set up on my hard drive for my yearly trek to the San Diego Comic Con, seeing what needed to be cleaned out and what was still on my “to do” list, I realized I was sitting on a huge stockpile of art that Oni Press had given me after their panel on Friday. I’d asked Oni’s Cory Casoni for the artwork they showed from Rascal Raccoon, the new book they announced at the show, and he gave me everything they showed during their presentation.

And there was a lot of stuff. Granted, a lot of it you’ve probably seen before — Chris posted some preview art from Power Lunch last week, for instance, and they had a lot of pages from The Sixth Gun that came from various issues of its run — but I figured why not share it all? And this seemed the week to do it, since they showed a lot of pages from Phil Gelatt and Tyler Crook‘s Petrograd, which hits shops this week.

So, after the jump, you’ll find the covers for some upcoming books like the second Black Metal and Spell Checkers volumes, as well as pages from One Soul, Petrograd and many other Oni books. For more on the panel itself, I’ll direct you to John Scarff’s report over on CBR.

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Talking Comics with Tim | Tyler Crook

Petrograd

Next month (August 3 to be exact) marks the release of writer Philip Gelatt and artist Tyler Crook‘s original graphic novel (published by Oni Press), Petrograd. To mark the upcoming release, Crook was kind enough to do an email interview with me. You might also recognize Crook’s name and work, given the fact he started his high profile role as Dark Horse’s B.P.R.D. artist this month. We discuss both projects. But before the interview begins, here’s Oni’s description of Petrograd: “During the height of the first World War, a reluctant British spy stationed in the heart of the Russian empire is handed the most difficult assignment of his career: orchestrate the death of the mad monk, the Tsarina’s most trusted adviser and the surrogate ruler of the nation. From the slums of the working class into the opulent houses of the super rich, he’ll have to negotiate dangerous ties with the secret police, navigate the halls of power, and come to terms with own revolutionary leanings, all while simply trying to survive.” Once you’ve read the interview, be sure to also visit CBR’s Petrograd preview.

Tim O’Shea: Were you interested in Russian history at all before tackling Petrograd? Once you got involved with the project, how much research did you have to do, on a variety of subjects, including the British Secret Service?

Tyler Crook: I was only interested in Russian history a little bit before this project. But mostly I’ve been interested in Russian Literature. Mostly Gogol and Dostoyevsky. Reading that stuff requires a little bit of history knowledge but I only ever figured out enough to get by. Phil Gelatt, the writer, did most of the heavy lifting when it came to doing the research. I read a couple books about the Soviet Revolution and scoured my local libraries for book with photos of Russia during the time period. I tried to use Google sparingly. The hardest part was finding photos of regular people doing regular things.

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SDCC Wishlist | Oni debuts One Soul, Petrograd and more

One Soul

Oni Press sent over their big list o’ items they’ll have at their booth, which includes shirts, prints and other items. They’ll also debut two very ambitious and awesome-sounding graphic novels, One Soul by Ray Fawkes and Petrograd by Phil Gelatt and Tyler Crook. They’ll also have copies of the first two issues of Spontaneous (you can read the first issue right here on Robot 6!)

Oni will also conduct portfolio reviews for artists; check out the details at the end of the post.

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Oni Press is in San Diego for San Diego Comic-Con 2011! July 20th – 24th we’ll be strutting our stuff at booth #1833. Come by and check out our eclectic library of titles including the premiere of:

One Soul
By Ray Fawkes
*Every copy purchased at the show comes with a limited edition signing card*

From visionary cartoonist Ray Fawkes comes one of the most original and thought-provoking graphic novels of all time! A unique and poetic narrative, One Soul takes the experiences of 18 individuals and weaves them into the spiritual journey of a lifetime. Gracefully flowing from character to character, moment to moment, Fawkes has crafted a stunning mosaic that takes advantage of the medium of sequential art in a way few creators dare.

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WonderCon | Oni Press to release Petrograd this August

Petrograd

This is one we’ve been excited about for awhile now … at their WonderCon panel yesterday, Oni Press announced that Petrograd, Phil Gelatt and Tyler Crook’s graphic novel about the murder of Gregorii Rasputin, arrives in stores Aug. 3.

I first spoke to Gelatt about the project back in 2009, when it was announced at the San Diego Comic Con.

“The root of the idea came from some reading I was doing, a few years ago at this point, about the Russian revolution,” Gelatt told me back then. “And I encountered this strange rumor that has been floating around since Rasputin’s death that there were British spies involved in the assassination and that the British government had a stake in this man’s death for various reasons. It’s a rumor that’s been around since 1917 but more recently some forensic evidence has made it seem that this might actually be what happened. So the potential in that idea really grabbed me and stuck with me. What the hell were the British doing assassinating a Russian holy man? Who was this British agent charged with this monumental task? How the hell would any of that actually work?”

You may know Gelatt from the pair of Labour Days books he did with Rick Lacy for Oni; Crooks, meanwhile, is the recently announced replacement for Guy Davis on the B.P.R.D. comics. He’s also drawing issue #14 of The Sixth Gun.

The $29.99 two-color hardcover comes in at 274 pages. Check out a gallery of preview pages after the jump.

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