Oni Graphic Novels pull up to 'The Last Exit Before Toll'

Official Press Release

This November, Oni Press will be releasing the latest in its line of original graphic novels, LAST EXIT BEFORE TOLL. Written by Neal Shaffer, author of ONE PLUS ONE, the 96-page comic book revolves around Charles Pierce, a man with an average life, including an average family and an average job. Little does he know that his latest business trip is going to take that life and shove it to the side. Breaking down in a small town in the middle of nowhere, he finds himself stranded in a place where no one knows him, and more importantly, where no one knows he is at. Could this be the break he was looking for?

Joining Shaffer for LAST EXIT BEFORE TOLL are two talented newcomers: Christopher Mitten and Dawn Pietrusko. While Pietrusko may be known to ONE PLUS ONE readers for her assistance with the gray tones in that book, this graphic novel will be Mitten's official comic book debut.

"I met Chris at Wizard World last year," Oni Press editor in chief Jamie S. Rich said. "It was an interesting encounter, since he was one of those artists whose manner matched his work. You could look at him and then look at his portfolio, and it was simply clear that he was the guy who drew it. It was a sense that this guy wasn't the same as everyone else-and I mean that as the highest compliment."

"I knew I was writing a script that would be challenging for an artist to tackle," Shaffer explained. "This book is as much about atmosphere and feeling as it is about plot and conventional storytelling. It takes place in a lot of the same settings, and the character of the people and their environment needed to come across on their faces just as much as it does in what they say. I wanted to work with someone who could keep that interesting, who could make a simple conversation feel animated, while also capturing the look of the kind of town Charles was visiting. We needed someone that could do the real world, but yet make it unreal at the same time."

"There's a delicate quality to Christopher's pencils that I thought we should maintain," Rich continued. "Digital tones seemed to be the best option. We could shoot straight from pencils and preserve the essence of his art. Dawn had done exceptional work assisting Daniel Krall on ONE PLUS ONE, so bringing her in was an obvious choice."

"I feel like this book really came together creatively," Shaffer concluded. "Despite all of us being in different places, and myself and Chris never meeting face to face until after he was all done, everyone really understood what we were trying to put across. I can't wait to see if it effects the readers in the same way."

LAST EXIT BEFORE TOLL goes on sale November 19. It features 104 pages of black-and-white story and art, with a color cover designed by Steven Birch at Servo. It retails for $9.95 and is suggested for mature readers.

For a preview of this graphic novel, visit http://www.icomics.com/rev_090403_lastexit.shtml.

Readers waiting for the ONE PLUS ONE collection can look forward to its release on September 17. Clocking in at 160 pages, it retails for $14.95 and is also suggested for mature readers. It features a new introduction by Michael Avon Oeming, as well as all of his original covers for the series. Other extras include a script to thumbnail comparison, sketches, and material from the original pitch package the creators sent to Oni.

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