Lisa’s Picks Featuring Q&A with Nonplayer’s Nate Simpson

Finally the answer to molisa 1st of the most common “do you have a copy of…” questions is yes. We got in a bunch of eagerly anticipated reprints today. Besides the obvious Star Wars and Spider-Gwen resupplies we have Descender #1 from the comic-book-manufacturing-robot-posing-as-a-man known as Jeff Lemire and Ei8ht #1 by Rafel Albuqerque and Mike Johnson, which are both outstanding. We also got just a couple copies left over from the first printing of Red One #1 so if you want that, let us know quickly.

Next door in the land of new comics there’s a New Star Wars Comic again – Kanan: the Last Padawan – and Convergence #0 is kicking off DC’s latest universe reset. I started out very skeptical about Convergence but have been getting weirdly excited to see how it goes. But four books are going straight to the top of my obscene huge reading stack:lisa 2

Lady Killer: Joëlle Jones’ line work and colors in this book are out of this world. They capture the time period and blend with the dialogue and story perfectly. If you haven’t picked up this book yet, the elevator pitch is a seemingly perfect housewife who also happens to be working as a contract killer for a charming, mysterious man. Murder, suspicion, action…all that good stuff.

Feathers: This is such a great book. Issue 4 of 6 is out this week from Archaia, purveyors of all-ages books with wide appeal ala Mouse Guard. An orphaned boy, seemingly part bird, is taken in by an old man. Years later a rambunctious princess demands a trip outside of the castle walls, where she is convinced all of the most fun things in life are waiting, and promptly runs away from her guard. The two meet and discover something sinister is afoot in the gritty world around the castle walls known to most as “The Maze.”

UFOlogy: If you haven’t been reading many BOOM! titles lately all you need to know is that they’re just killing it and that if a new book looks cool, it probably is. UFOlogy is the next one of those. Becky Finch, high school student, has a close encounter and is sucked into a world of “intergalactic mystery.” It’s also set in rural Wisconsin, so insert your own cheesehead joke here.

The Dying and The Dead: This book has triggered a rare alignment of stars in which Bob likes a comic book that the rest of the staff also likes. It shouldn’t really be that much of a surprise though – Jonathan Hickman writes a book with incredible visual design about a mysterious deal with an underground civilization upon which life and death balance? Obviously awesome.

The title, though, of Coolest Thing This Week goes to the third reprint of Nonplayer. Nonplayer is a gorgeous, unique piece of comic art drawn, colored and written by Nate Simpson. It’s been five years since the first issue debuted and promptly sold out at SDCC, but there’s been a bit of a hiatus due to the fact that life happens. Simpson is back now, and was generous enough to do a little Q&A for us about his book so you’re an expert when you run in here to grab a copy.

For the people who missed #1 the first time around, what’s your comic about?

It’s about a girl in the near future who’s an elite assassin inside a virtual reality MMO, but she’s kind of a loser in the real world. She happens to kill the wife of an important character in the game right around the time that the game’s non-player characters have started coming to life. The repercussions of that act spill out into the real world.

What’s the crux of the book for you: are you more interested in the dystopian future or the video game?
The book hinges on treating the “fake” and real worlds as equally valid, so I have to stay as impartial as I can. Almost equal amounts of time are spent on both sides of the digital divide. And I’m as big a fan of Darrow-style quasi-apocalyptic cityscapes as I am of Rackhamesque gnarled trees and dragons. Both settings are fun to draw.

That said, I have a little more fun drawing the fantasy environments because there’s less of a need for details to correspond to readers’ real-world experiences. For issue two, I swear I spent a day and a half just trying to draw phone receivers correctly. Have you ever tried to draw an old-style phone before, with that blasted curly cord from the receiver to the phone? That sucked. So I guess the real world can feel a little more laborious. But then again, there are robots, and those are fun to draw. I dunno. It’s pretty much a tie if you include the robots.

Have you read “Ready Player One?” It’s pretty awesome.

I have not. I have nearly read it numerous times, but I have a perhaps-naive fear that it’ll somehow either infect Nonplayer or be so good that I lose all hope and just quit drawing the book altogether. As soon as Nonplayer is done, I’ll run out and buy it. My wife said it was amazing.

Is the plan still for 6 issues total?

The plan is for either six issues with a double-length final issue or seven normal-length issues.

In the time that you had away from Nonplayer have you made any significant changes to your original plans for the story or art?

I don’t think the art has changed much, but the story has certainly evolved as I’ve continued to live in that world. In the broad strokes, the main story points are pretty much all set, but I think I’m getting better at getting things to flow more elegantly.

Do you plan to stick with comics after Nonplayer?

Absolutely! I’ve already started working on the story for the next thing. I’m excited about it. It’ll be an opportunity to experiment with a much simpler, more gestural drawing style and a MUCH faster release cadence. I think I’ve pretty much had my fill of slow-cooked comics for the time being.

Grab a diaper before you sit down to read this comic book because your eyes are going to crap their pants:
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