Thursday, August 4, 2011

Nate Simpson--2011 Rookie of the Year in Comics

When I think of Nate Simpson, I think of a snowball. No, not because of his pale, white skin or any other icy features, but rather the "snowball effect" he has had this year in comic books. With his single issue release of his six-part series Nonplayer (a modern fantasy/sci-fi series released by Image Comics), Simpson has garnered fans from all over the world with his incredible milestone achievements. Among those achievements is today's official announcement that Warner Bros. Studios purchased the rights for Simpson's Nonplayer to turn into a major motion picture. With that said, I think I can officially list Nate Simpson as my 2011 Rookie of the Year in Comics.

For those unfamiliar with the "snowball effect," imagine a small, ball of snow (hence the name 'snowball') rolling down a mountain in the midst of winter. Gradually, the snowball gains momentum and, as it makes its way down the high slope, it collects any settled snow that lays underneath it, until finally there is no longer a mere snowball but rather a GINORMOUS snowball heading for New York City with only the likes of Godzilla to defeat it! Yeah, that's about Nate Simpson right now with Nonplayer. The story is mysterious and alluring, the artwork is simple and clean, the layout is confident and stylish; in a nutshell, it's perfectly executed all around.

A synopsis taken from Simpson's Nonplayer website goes something like this: 

"Mid-21st century America doesn't have much to offer Dana Stevens, but there's plenty for her to live for inside Warriors of Jarvath, the world's most popular full-immersion online game. In the real world, she's a tamale delivery girl who still lives with her mom, but inside the game she's an elite assassin. When she gets the drop on King Heremoth, a celebrity non-player character, she thinks she's finally got a shot at fame. But when she slays Queen Fendra, the King's reaction is disconcertingly realistic. Something's amiss in Jarvath, and the effects may reverberate well beyond the boundaries of the game."

If that isn't enough to pique your interest, then fans of Moebius, Geof Darrow, and Hayao Miyazaki will appreciate Nonplayer's lovely art and delicate color pallet. Speaking of Moebius, check this out:

Yeah...believe it or not. That is the Moebius with a copy of Nonplayer in hand. Apparently one of Simpson's friends (Joe Keatinge, featured in the picture) attended this year's International Comic's Festival in Angouleme, France and presented Moebius with an early copy of Simpson's series. Needless to say, not only did Moebius approve the work, but apparently thought highly enough of it to say, "Very cool. Beautiful. May I have it?" If that doesn't vouch for Simpson's awesomeness, then how about his recent win at the Eisner Awards for taking home the Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award? Yeah, the guys already taking home friggin' Eisners.

So real quick, before we forget, let's break it all down. Nate Simpson + One Issue of Nonplayer = Moebius' Approval + Manning Award + Warner Bros. Movie Rights = My choice for 2011 Rookie of the Year in Comics. You got to admit that is pretty, damn impressive for a guy who has never made comics before. Congratulations Nate Simpson. You deserve all the attention headed your way. Speaking for all of your highly eager fans awaiting the second issue's release--take your time, we trust you. We know we're in good hands.

For more information and news on Nate Simpson and Nonplayer check out the Nonplayer Website, Simpson's blog Project Waldo, or his Facebook page

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