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Nick Abadzis from Hugo Tate to Laika

Nick Abadzis self-portraitThese next posts were supposed to be done “live”, from on the road, but my wi-fi had other plans. So pretend I’m writing this from Nick Abadzis’ London studio….

Back in the glory days of the early 1990s, there was an awesome British magazine called Deadline. It had reprints of great American indie comics like Love & Rockets and Milk & Cheese, plus a pretty cool feature by Jamie Hewlett called Tank Girl. And then there was Hugo Tate. To quote creator Nick Abadzis, “It’s hard to explain in a couple of sentences what Hugo Tate is about exactly, but he was a stick-man who, as he acquired experiences during the run of the strip, slowly evolved into a more figurative character. It’s the sort of visual metaphor that could only work in comics.” But it was really cool, and weird, and kind of dark. (Why isn’t this book in print?!?–it even won the U.K. Comic Art award for best graphic novel in 1994).

Sometime after Hugo Tate, after Children of the Voyager (for Marvel UK’s forgotten Frontier line), and after Millennium Fever for Vertigo, with beautiful Duncan Fegredo art (speaking of books that should be in print!), I met up with Nick Abadzis in Angouleme. There (after a really cool table-throwing bar fight) I discovered that he was a huge Moomin fan (always a good thing) and that he had started doing children’s comics.

Laika character design by Nick AbadzisFast forward to the present, and… I’m sitting in his London studio looking at pages from his forthcoming First Second graphic novel Laika. It’s the story of the first Soviet space dog, and it’s really beautiful (and really sad)! Unfortunately it won’t be out until the Fall, but it’ll be well worth the wait.

Next stop, Oslo!

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