Story and art by Nate Simpson
Published by Image Comics
This whole zombie obsession thing just doesn’t make sense. Its a very unlikely science fiction scenario even though Road Warrior apocalyptic landscapes full of people that you might want to shoot seems very realistic at this point. They just won’t be zombies. They’ll probably be hungry homeless people who want land or food. (Shhh. It’s a secret. I saw it on Youtube so it must be true…)
So I can’t tell you how refreshing Nate Simpson’s “Nonplayer” is. It’s just an old fashioned futuristic tale about virtual reality, which hasn’t become immersive here in 2011 although you might try telling that to your friends who play video games 60 hours a week. (No, seriously. Try to pry the controls from their sweaty clammy hands. This scene from South Park strikes me as real…). This is the kind of science fiction that you’re already living in. Why, when I was growing up, nobody ever committed suicide over what somebody else wrote on Facebook. Takes an Internet to create such bold thematic advances, body counts notwithstanding.
Now, and this is just judging from issue one, so there are some plot points that haven’t been revealed yet. But its about at least one virtual world, within another virtual world, within a very real and crumbing real world. Like I said: very science fictional and yet very realistic. We live this way now. The virtual worlds are, well, beautiful. Just breathtaking Avatar like reality. We should never get tired of fairies or riding around on armored dinosaurs or giant flying cats. That should never get old. You can tell that Nate’s other job is video game designer.
The one truly futuristic thing, not covered in trad cyberpunk, is that even over the grungy and depressing real world with very cool mecha like sanitation robots in the background, there is a kind of augmented reality. I think the way this works is that I see your virtual you if I’m wearing the right futuristic app, probably sewn into my eyesocket or some fancy glasses. I’m not quite sure. Thank you for making me think. (Augmented reality is this but in the “Nonplayer” world its evolved into something you might see in 50 years or 10 years in Internet time…)
I do know that the lead female character, working a crappy service industry job despite living in the Matrix (sound familar yet?) uses the “Lifeskin” to alter the world. Say you’re walking to work and you would rather it look like Sin City or Tron. Well, there you go. Just like changing fonts I guess. Looks like she has some kind of implant to do that with.
There’s also something wrong in one of the virtual worlds where the rules don’t apply. I guess that’s why there will be an issue two. I strongly suspect a rogue AI but we’ll see.
Overall, a superior SFnal comic book. A perfect melding of story and art. 4.5 stars out of 5. The only reason I don’t give it five stars is the same reason 10s are so rare in gymnastics: it should be hard to stick that landing and hard to be as good as “The Transmutation of Ike Garuda“. Related: Here’s more about Nate Simpson. Here’s his website. Here’s an interview. And here’s a youtube preview. Again, not sure about the legality but hey its there. Ignore the music produced by white south african rappers. I sure did.
- Nonplayer 1 by Nate Simpson (comicsforge.com)
- Nonplayer Headed for the Silver Screen? (stumptowntrade.wordpress.com)
- Local Comics Artist Scores Movie Deal (slog.thestranger.com)
- Warner Bros. Acquires Rights to Comic Series NONPLAYER (geektyrant.com)
- Gweek 009: Moebius Swipes a Comic Book (boingboing.net)