It's been a busy week for First Second: Following on its announcement of The Stratford Zoo, which features animals staging a production of Macbeth, the publisher has revealed two more graphic novels.
InRealLife, written by Corey Doctorow and illustrated by Jen Wang, is a story about the human side of gaming—specifically, the "gold farmers" who make real-world money from gaming. Based in part on the experiences of Doctorow's wife, who was a high-level gamer in the 1990s, the book revolves around a teenager named Anda who's recruited into a fictional multiplayer online game, Coarsegold, and ends up as a player in the game's underground economy.
The graphic novel will explore attitudes about gaming and gamers, and, Doctorow says in an interview at Kotaku, there is a larger point:
When you contemplate the microscale phenomenon of a world-in-a-bottle like an MMO and the toy economy within it, it equips you with a graspable metaphor for understanding the macroscale world of monetary policy. In other words: thinking about gold farming is a gateway drug to thinking about money itself.
Farel Dalrymple's The Wrenchies sounds a lot darker: It's the story of a group of children in a post-apocalyptic world who must fight demons, zombies and other supernatural creatures — knowing all the while that they will grow up to become demons themselves. Dalrymple is the creator of Pop Gun War and the editor of the anthology Meathaus; in an interview with Hero Complex he says The Wrenchies is based on a Meathaus story, with a lot of other influences thrown in — and it will cross over with his other work:
All my stories, everything I write myself are all related at least by a few of the characters that appear in them. My Web comic, “It Will All Hurt” (Study Group Comics), is on the same post-apocalyptic planet as “The Wrenchies.” There are characters and references from “Pop Gun War” in there too. I remember noticing a family tree that Madeleine L’Engle had in “Many Waters” and how all the characters in all her stories were all related in some way. She had two universes, a science fiction one and a more real world setting. Only a few characters crossed over into both. That sort of thing was very exciting to me, and it has been fun over the years creating my own mess based on that concept.
Both books are due out later this year.