Simpson says 'Nonplayer' #2 nearly done, teases new webcomic

Some 31 months after the release of Nonplayer #1, writer/artist Nate Simpson has revealed that, as of November, the second issue is fully penciled and partially colored. He also refers to plans for an additional project, a webcomic and a subsequent collection he hopes to fund through Kickstarter.

Published through Image Comics, the first issue of Nonplayer thrust readers into the double life of Dana Stevens. The story opens in a lushly rendered fantasy world, the game space of a fictional MMO called Warriors of Jarvath. There, Dana operates as a ruthless assassin, murdering one of the game’s pivotal non-player characters. Once logged out, the young woman returns to work delivering tamales. The series debuted in April 2011 to widespread acclaim, heralded by advance praise from Geof Darrow, Frank Quitely and Jean "Moebius" Giraud, each a key influence on Simpson’s visual sensibility.

"The moment I sat down and read a printout of the book, I was seriously knocked on my ass,” Joe Keatinge (Glory, Hell Yeah) wrote on ROBOT 6 ahead of the issue's release. “This dude’s comics debut is ridiculous and puts many a veteran cartoonist to shame.”

The single issue earned Simpson the 2011 Eisner Award for Best Newcomer.

Thirteen pages into penciing the second issue, Simpson injured his shoulder in a September 2011 bicycle accident. Recovery led swiftly into the start of a new family. With a full-time job also vying for his attention, production on Nonplayer #2 slowed to a crawl. According to Simpson, however, the comic is now circulating among trusted peers. In recent months, he’s also begun work on an unnamed webcomic.

“Why a web comic? Partly out of curiosity," he writes. "It's the 21st century and all, and I wonder whether this new story may appeal to readers who might not normally cross paths with a print comic. There are a lot of eyeballs on the internet, and I'd like to see if I'm able to grab a few of them. I like the idea of gathering the content at the end of each year and funding the printed collections through Kickstarter. I like that it feels like we're setting sail in our own little pirate ship, and there's nothing but uncharted water ahead.”

Simpson says he will script that series, although another unnamed artist will draw it to ensure a steadier schedule. He's secretive about the title or premise, alluding only to “alien monsters” and “muffins.” He suggests a formal announcement by the end of the year.

No date has been announced for the release of Nonplayer #2.

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