The best things in life don’t come along every day. Some things are so good that they only show up on the rarest of occasions. Take ONCE IN A BLUE MOON for example, as special as the name suggest, this new graphic novel series from writers Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir (THREE STRIKES, NEW MUTANTS) and artist Jennifer Quick debuts this April from Oni Press.
“BLUE MOON is another one of those projects that people aren’t going to expect from us,” said editor James Lucas Jones. “We’re not known as a company that does fantasy comics, quite the opposite in fact. But there’s something about BLUE MOON that sets it apart. It’s not the standard swords and sorcery fare. The characters make it relatable and appealing in ways that often get overlooked by the many of the mainstays of the genre.”
Aeslin Finn had a magical childhood-a nice house, two loving parents, and every night before bed, a whole new world to explore. THE AVALON CHRONICLES were the perfect tuck-in tale and her parents enjoyed reading the fantastic fables as much as she liked listening to them. But one day, the book shifted tones. The unbelievably brave Dragon Knight and her courageous Prince faced an evil Wizard that threatened the entire land. But before they could finish the chapter, Aeslin’s parents left on a business trip. When her father died on that trip, it was time for Aeslin to stop living in a fantasy world. Aeslin’s mom never read from the tome again. Now Aeslin’s a teenager and living a fairly ordinary life. She has a crush on Michael, the most popular boy in school, and her best friend Samantha loves to trade secrets and share gossip. It’s a fine, if not extraordinary, existence until Samantha happens on a new book-ONCE IN A BLUE MOON. It’s a sequel to the novel Aeslin loved as a child. The new pages catch up on the denizens of Avalon and their miserable eight-year existence since the defeat of the Dragon Knight. Aeslin can’t believe it. She wishes she could be there to defend all of the creatures and common folk she loved as a child. And then out of nowhere, she is… Now Aeslin has the opportunity to be the hero she always admired. But Avalon is a much more dangerous place than she remembered and there’s no instruction manual she can read to figure out what to do or how to get home.
“Our nerdiness is well documented,” DeFilippis joked. “But we know how to temper it with story and characters. Stomping around our favorite genres wouldn’t be any fun if we weren’t bringing anything new or interesting to the table. The kind of story we’re telling is hardly unique, but if the execution has enough of a twist, of a bite, then anyone who checks it out will want to stick around.”
“At least we hope so,” added Weir. “This is no more the standard fantasy tale than BUFFY is an ordinary horror franchise. A lot of the other examples of this sub-genre feature characters that are either way younger or slightly older. BLUE MOON is all teen. If we did our job right, it should have the same kind of wit and charisma you’d find on a WB t.v. show wrapped in a purple dragon’s wing.”
Relative newcomer Jennifer Quick provides the series with its distinct look. She has been previously featured in IC Entertainment’s AMERIMANGA. Her serial, SOUL UNION, appeared in several issues of the anthology.
“Nunzio, Christina, and I all kind of stumbled on Jen’s website around the same time,” commented Jones. “It was obvious from the illustrations on her site that she had a true love for the kind of world building Nunz and Christie required and once we saw her story pages we knew we’d found our artist. Lucky for us, Jen was enthusiastic and into the project. It all worked out like a dream.”
ONCE IN A BLUE MOON joins the growing list of OniGNs-original graphic novels from veteran comic publisher Oni Press that explore a variety of themes and genres. It joins books from critically acclaimed creators like Steve Rolston, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Andi Watson, and Ande Parks & Eduardo Barretto.
“To think, all this from a stuffed animal!” Weir laughed. “A cute little purple dragon Nunzio had given me ended up the inspiration for this whole thing!”
ONCE IN A BLUE MOON is a 160 page black-and-white graphic novel for $11.95. The digest-sized volume features a new color cover by Jen Quick and contains mature situations. It ships to comic book stores on April 28, 2004. For more information on the project, read the extensive interview in this month’s SQUEAL LIKE A PIG, a new interview column by Ian Shaughnessy available at OniPress.com/buzz.
ONCE IN A BLUE MOON ? & © 2004 DeFilippis, Weir, & Quick.