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Comic News:
One Plus One Crew Names New Projects
By Brian Jacks


With the final issue of ONE PLUS ONE reaching comics shops today, writer Neal Shaffer and Daniel Krall are preparing to follow up their successful debuts with all-new projects. In November, Neal Shaffer will release the original graphic novel LAST EXIT BEFORE TOLL, his collaboration with penciller Christopher J. Mitten and digital inker Dawn Pietrusko. Daniel Krall’s FOLLOW ME CLOSELY, another original graphic novel, will be released in the first quarter of 2004, and then the team will reunite for the second ONE PLUS ONE.

“For me, Shaffer and Krall really changed the game in comics in 2002,” said Oni Press editor in chief Jamie S. Rich. “ONE PLUS ONE was a stunning first effort. Their style of storytelling is subtle and complex, and I finished every page with a hunger to know what would happen on the next one. The fact that they want to branch out and work individually is a concept I have zero problem with—since it means twice as many quality comics.”

In LAST EXIT BEFORE TOLL, Shaffer steps outside of genre to relate the story of a modern man who has reached a dead end. Charles Pierce has a good job and a loving family, but no passion for life. When his auto breaks down in a small town in Virginia, things take a turn. While Charles is literally trapped there, he no longer feels mentally trapped, and he begins to wonder if he should ever go home again.

“With LAST EXIT, I wanted to do something that wasn’t about the typical machinations of plot,” Shaffer explained. “I wanted a story that was moved by the character, by his emotions and the physical spot he finds himself in. Something more like real life, even if it does have an imposed arc on it. It’s not like we can ever escape the past, and that seems to put some kind of three-act structure on our day-to-day existence.”

“Christopher Mitten is new to comics,” Rich said. “I met him at Wizard World in Chicago last summer, and his pencils really clicked with me. His work, on one hand, is a bit rough in nature, giving it the feel of grime and the real world. On the other hand, he also had a certain quality that was very delicate, almost ephemeral. It’s part of why we decided to have Dawn work straight from the pencils. She did such a great job on tones in ONE PLUS ONE, I thought she would be a good match with Christopher.”

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Daniel Krall is taking a decidedly different approach for FOLLOW ME CLOSELY. The graphic novel stars a bored rich kid who goes to Europe in search of new experiences. He gets involved in a variety of criminal plots, and ends up having to pretend to be a famous thief and assassin. “Daniel is going for something a little more fantastic,” Rich said. “His characters will still be very real with a very real journey to go on, but they’ll be in a wild, retro world of cocktails and spies.”

“ONE PLUS ONE was a blast to draw,” Krall said, “but I did get a little tired of drawing a dirty city and seedy bars. FOLLOW ME CLOSELY gives me a chance to indulge my fashion fetishes and create a neo-mod world, something like in the film CQ. Or maybe BARBARELLA.”

Krall will be able to indulge similar ginchy tastes in a short story he is contributing to an upcoming MADMAN special. “Mike Allred is the god of style,” he said. “I plan to worship with my pen.”

Eventually, this will lead them all back to David Coulson and ONE PLUS ONE. “I see that series the same way I see the old TV show ROUTE 66,” Rich said. “As people will read when they get to the finale, all the plot threads get tied up, but David remains a bit of a mystery. Each series of ONE PLUS ONE will reveal a little more, but it’s not really about him so much as it is about the people he meets and how his presence inspires the way their tales play out.”

“I’m itching to get back to David,” Shaffer concluded. “Daniel and I will always make room for new installments of ONE PLUS ONE. It’s like our first romance with comics, and first loves never die.”

ONE PLUS ONE #5 (of 5) goes on sale March 26. It features 32 pages of black-and-white story and art and a color cover by Michael Avon Oeming. It retails for $2.95 and is suggested for mature readers.


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