17 posts categorized "DANICA NOVGORODOFF"

September 17, 2010

Comics & Prison

Are you a teenager and worried about what might happen if you get arrested?  Well, now there is a comic that gives you a step-by-step run-down of how it works and what your options are.  There is even an instructive flow-chart!

Prison Comics

This comic is made even better by the fact that it is drawn by Danica Novgorodoff, who you might remember from her books Slow Storm and Refresh, Refresh

September 28, 2009

Reading (and then) Remembering How to Breathe

[Danica Novgorodoff on Refresh, Refresh and other things]

I know I’m supposed to write about my new graphic novel, Refresh, Refresh. But what I really want to talk about is The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel. I’m only on page 58 and I want to ride the subway from Brooklyn to the Bronx to Manhattan to Queens and back (I do most of my reading on the subway). I have to read each story twice in a row and then remember to breathe.

It’s kind of how I felt when I first read James Ponsoldt’s screenplay Refresh, Refresh, and the short story by Benjamin Percy it was based on. That thrill, and also the longing – “I wish I’d written that.”

There’s a story by Hempel called Going, about a teenage boy who is hospitalized after he wrecks his car in the desert. It goes,


‘…Anyway, the accident was a learning experience.

You know – pain teaches?

One of the nurses picked it up from there. She was bending over my bed, snatching pebbles of safety glass out of my hair. “What do we learn from this?” she asked.’


What does pain teach?

In Refresh, Refresh, the three boys beat the crap out of each other in a homemade boxing ring after school, and pain teaches them to be stronger, to become men, and also to hope.


I was stuck trying to create a cover image for Refresh, Refresh. I tried something with an American flag – but it’s not really a story about politics or patriotism. I tried something with a computer, something that would explain the title – but a laptop computer just isn’t an aesthetically appealing icon. I tried an image of the three boys fighting – but First Second editor Mark Siegel said it looked like a “Young Rocky” boxing book.

It came to me as I was listening to a song. My best friend was playing the new song she’d written, and I saw the image: fingers crossed, like boys playing guns. Fingers crossed, like making wishes. Because in the act of repeatedly and obsessively hitting the Refresh button, looking for emails from their fathers who are at war, there is some great act of hope, and also some terrible apprehension of loss.


Hempel continues,

‘It was like that class at school where the teacher talks about Realization, about how you could realize something big in a commonplace thing. The example he gave – and the liar said it really happened – was that once while drinking orange juice, he’d realized he would be dead someday. He wondered if we, his students, had had similar “realizations.”

Is he kidding? I thought.

Once I cashed a paycheck and I realized it wasn’t enough.

Once I had food poisoning and realized I was trapped inside my body.’


September 22, 2009

Danica Novgorodoff -- Book Launch


To Do This Weekend: Danica Novgorodoff at Rocketship

Danica Novgorodoff will be launching her latest graphic novel, Refresh, Refresh, at Rocketship this Saturday at 8:00.  Danica herself will be on hand to be talented, thoughtful, and perhaps even sign books! 

[Rocketship is at 208 Smith Street in Brooklyn, NY.  They're about a block away from the Bergen Street stop on the F or the G train.]


September 04, 2009

Danica Novgorodoff -- Exhibit Opening


(click for larger)

Danica Novgorodoff, the creator of the excellent Slow Storm and the forthcoming Refresh, Refresh (October) will have a show at Charmingwall Gallery in NYC that opens this Saturday.  Check it out! 

Since it's all Danica's artwork, we can guarantee that everything is going to be gorgeous.

December 09, 2008

Slow Storm a NY Magazine Best Graphic Novel of 2008



September 18, 2008

A Storm of Reviews for Danica Novgorodoff's Debut Graphic Novel

Danica is in Louisville, Kentucky today (at Carmichael's Bookstore) and in Chicago at Quimby's on Saturday. 


“What stands out about Novgorodoff's book are the artistry of its pages -- the fine-art edge her watercolors give to illustrations that help propel the story line -- and the human themes of loneliness, spiritual meaning and connection to the landscape of one's home territory that are associated more with literature or high-art cinema than with the comic-book form.” – The Kentucky Courier Journal

A sharp, often challenging story. . . . SLOW STORM works so well because of Novgorodoff’s ability to almost constantly convey motion and movement. She captures on the page even simple things like winds blowing, or people and animals running, or cars and trucks driving, all with a flair.” – Book Reporter

 I read several books last weekend, but one that won't leave my head is Danica Novgorodoff's Slow Storm. This book was such a hit at Comic-Con that I couldn't get a copy, and now I understand why. The art is breathtaking. The story intertwines a small-town female firefighter and an illegal immigrant who works in a stable. When a storm hits, their lives change. I read the entire thing while sitting on my back porch on a rainy day, and I can't imagine a more perfect setting.” – USA Today's Pop Candy

“Slow Storm’s poignant themes, accompanied by Novgorodoff’s lush watercolor washes and masterful linework, tell an emotionally-charged tale of homesickness and horses, storms and saints.” – Quimby’s

Featured Artist: Comics Should Be Good – A Month of Art Stars

“Just like a Slow Storm, there's a brooding atmosphere and mounting intensity throughout Novgorodoff's subtle, refreshingly different drama, as she shows how these two people from very different worlds and worldviews, both adrift, with secrets to hide, neither sure of their place in life, build a bond of understanding and come to recognise the sensitivity and hope in each other.” – Paul Gravett

“I admire the texture and ambition that Novgorodoff brings to this tale of lost souls. . . . there are numerous moments in Slow Storm that betray a Level 4 hurricane of talent.” – The Oregonian

“Danica Novgorodoff's graphic novel 'Slow Storm' is eerily relevant — and just plain eerie.” – NY Magazine

“In the few gestures these characters exchange as they pass on their way through different journeys, Novgoroff has captured as much or more as any novel or movie. Clearly a contender for best graphic novel of the year.” – Omnivoracious/amazon.com book blog

Slow Storm is a promising debut and a beautiful work of artistic fiction. The author's excellent grasp of dialogue works to establish the characters' voices as believable, and her atmospheric artwork and attention to the story's setting make for an immersing reading experience.” – Newsarama

“Novgorodoff is a genuine talent, an educated painter with style and composition skills to spare. Her work is haunting and powerful, and the character of Ursa really comes alive on the page… even as Ursa feels her life’s energy slipping from her in a maze of pain and bad decisions. It’s a very mature piece of work for someone putting out her first full-length graphic novel.” – Comics Waiting Room

“A multifaceted story about a lonely female firefighter and the illegal immigrant she tries to shelter.” – The Onion AV Club

“First-time graphic novelists rarely display such grace and confidence as this Eisner nominee. In a deliberately paced character study of two disenfranchised souls -- a complicated woman firefighter and a desperate illegal immigrant -- Novgorodoff leans on lovely watercolor panels, not necessarily words, to reveal intimate details about her wounded characters and the stark Kentucky landscape that surrounds and sometimes stifles them. "Slow Storm" is a sad ballad about sorrow-prone people . . . it’s a joy to read.” – The Contra Costa Times

“Eisner and Isotope winner Danica Novgorodoff’s new work Slow Storm. . . . promises to be in the vein of books like Blankets and Palookaville with its "literary graphic novel" pedigree.” – Broken Frontier

(bolds mine!)



December 17, 2007

On the road

From the drawing board of Danica Novgorodoff

I remember someone saying that there are two kinds of stories – those about leaving home and those about returning home.  I don’t know if I agree with that (there must be a million kinds of story), but it does seem like most of my writing is about a journey away from home (then, sometimes, with an inevitable returning).

So it makes sense that a lot of my stories are conceived while or inspired by traveling. 

I think and write most creatively while I’m traveling.  To loosen ideas, shake words from my brain, I need the culture shock, the changing landscape, the perilous cliff-edge bus rides, the train careening through the night, the language blur, the unease (OK, fear), and maybe even the loneliness of being a stranger and a foreigner.  Routine and familiarity lend themselves to discipline; traveling to inspiration.


I first started making comics during a year when I was roaming around Ecuador and south of there.  I came to the medium partly because it was, simply, portable.




I love New York, but I get a real travel itch if I stay in one place too long.  Last winter, on my allotted vacation time, I took off to Yunnan province of China.  A year later, now, a couple of stories set in China have started to creep around my brain, haunting me. 


My upcoming (Fall ’08) book from First Second, Slow Storm, is mostly about my home, Kentucky, but one of the characters (Rafi) makes the infamous journey across the U.S./Mexico border.


A lot of the imagery (both narrative and visual) of Rafi's home was inspired by the time I spent in Mexico and South America.


And a lot of the images were drawn from photographs I took then.


So.  Go west (or east, or south, or even north), young man.


March 02, 2007

Favorite Scene, by Danica Novgorodoff

It’s no secret that I love Gipi’s work – I did my best to sell out all our copies of Garage Band last weekend at the New York ComicCon (and succeeded!).

One of my all-time favorite scenes is when a big-shot in the music industry offers Stefano a job working in the head office of his record company – an opportunity to rub shoulders with “real musicians” and to leave behind his pals and their small-time garage band. It’s pretty obvious that this record company guy is a bit sleazy (he meets with Stefano smoking a cigarette and wearing nothing but a flowered towel, after all), but his ghost image standing next to Stefano at poolside and the transparent hand on Stefano’s shoulder in the next panel give him an eerie quality, as if he were in fact the specter of disillusionment, corrupt ambition, and greed. The devil is perched on Stefano’s shoulder, whispering sweet and sickening temptations in his ear.

(click to enlarge)



The scene ends with the two gazing in silence over the man’s vast and empty swimming pool – a symbol of wealth and success, but also of the complete soullessness with which the man operates in the world; a vacuity that is being offered to Stefano in tandem with material gains and the possibility of fame, if only he’ll give up his friends and the music that he loves.


I think that in Garage Band, and in Notes for a War Story (forthcoming from :01 in the fall of 2007), Gipi really gets at the core of what it means to grow up – to have your idealism challenged, to realize that because of social and economic differences not everyone is on equal footing and not everything is possible, and to make decisions based on those hard realities and still try to hold on to what you love and know to be true and right.

p.s. Oh yeah, and the art is gorgeous.

April 30, 2006

Danica interviewed at Comic Book Resources


A terrific interview of Danica is to be found here, and you can bet you'll be hearing lots more about her before long. And her work as :01's designer will start to appear later this year, on the covers of our fall books. Whether her resumé was souped up or not, I think you'll agree she's the right person on the job.


April 11, 2006

More on Isotope

Well, okay, so we're proud of her!

Once again, this weekend, Danica won the Isotope Award for Excellence in Mini-Comics. Just to recap, this award is sponsored by The Isotope, a very cool comic book store in San Francisco. Danica flew West to receive her unstable molecule, at a ceremony timed with the Alternative Press Expo--and she has gotten a lot of great internet press:

Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter and Heidi MacDonald The Beat have both made mention of Danica winning this award.

There's a thread on Warren Ellis' excellent the Engine about the Alternative Press Expo that mentions Danica in glowing terms:

Danica Novgorodoff's A Late Freeze took top honors at the APE Aftermath. The coolest moment of the ceremony was when she asked if she could try on James Sime's exquisite Dr. Strange cape. The place went wild. It was awesome.

And Danica is a delight to talk to about comics. She's clearly fighting the good fight.

And from the Editor at the inspiring Oni Press :

I got a chance to talk with Danica on Saturday, albiet way too briefly. Her mini is definitely a beautiful object with exquisite design. She's also a (the primary?) designer for First Second and was responsible for the breath-taking design on Gene Yang's book that I mentioned up thread. She's a classy, talented woman and one to watch to be sure.

_A Late Freeze_ has been reviewed online at Comix Experience, at Beaucoup Kevin, and at Precocious Curmudgeon.

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