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Get Graphic: Artist N. Steven Harris Rounds Out 'October with Octobriana'

Art by N. Steven Harris

Interview by Troy-Jeffrey Allen

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From David Bowie to Billy Idol – folk hero Octobriana has inspired many creatives over her 50 years of existence. Now, a new generation of talents are expanding her mythology in Octobriana With Love (SEP211446), an anthology comic featuring the Russian amazon.

In celebration of Octobriana's 50 years of superheroing, Dead Good Comics has revived her once again! Providing readers with new and dynamic adventures for her birthday. PREVIEWSworld didn't want to miss out on the festivities, so we're dubbing the month "October with Octobriana," and we're spotlighting the artists behind Octrobriana With Love over the next four weeks. 

If you want to discover more about the history of the character then check out our 2020 interview for Octobriana 1976 with Jim Rugg. But, before you do that, let's introduce you to this week's featured creator N. Steven Harris... 

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Firstly, who are you and where do you hail from?

Hey all! This is N Steven Harris and I hail from Brooklyn, NY, but I was born and raised in New Jersey.

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How did you get into comic art?

Well that is a long story. There is comic art in general and there is the comic book business. Comic art came about as a form of artistic growth. I use to draw big one scene space battles based on my favorite amines, like Battle of the Planets (Gatchaman) and Star Blazers (Space Battleship Yamato), for years. Then I had the urge to draw a story, or something that had a progression. Animating was too much work, so comics was the next best thing. I was collecting a some comics for a bit, Star Wars and Shogun Warriors then stopped.

I started collecting again in order to help me draw the human figure. Books like The Uncanny X-Men, Spider-Man, Daredevil, Atari Force and so many others,  I started paying attention to the artists who drew the books like Art Adams, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, John Romita Jr., Rick Leonardi, Denys Cowan, Larry Stroman, Barry Windsor-Smith and others.  I created my own comic that I wrote, drew, and colored, from high school until my 2nd year in college. Some of those characters are in my current and future creator owned projects.

My start professionally, began with taking a comic book class outside of the college I went to (School of Visual Arts). The class was at a community art program called The Children’s Art Carnival in Harlem taught by Michael Davis, which led me to meeting Denys Cowan. 2 of the founders of  Milestone Media. Not long after meeting Denys, I became his assistant for a couple of years, which led to me getting my first professional comic book job at a company called Personality Comics. I bombed, but I finished the job and turned it in on time.

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So what is your story in Octobriana With Love? What can you tell us about it?

It is called “ Vue To a Satanic Panic.”  The story in a nutshell is about a televangelist that got rich quick from a ring he stole from Baba Yaga.  A time comes where a reckoning is due.  So pretty much a televangelist has to have a talk with Satan .  Aa s result, Baba Yaga and Octobriana have to work together to save him and the world. Oh, did I mention that Baba Yaga and Octobriana are, sort of, enemies? Can they come together?  Can they save the world?  I have no idea!  I just drew the story.

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How did you get involved with the anthology?

A friend and former studio mate, named Dean Haspiel, recommended me to Stu Taylor.

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How did you and go about making the character of Octobriana your own?

Now that is hard to do in 12 pages, but I wanted to try.  I wanted to give her an applejack hat, because  I love them and the story took place in 1980.  Even though the applejack hat may have been popular in the 70’s, it is safe to say that there was some spill over into the early 80’s.  I decided against it because I wasn’t feeling how my sketches were coming out.  I just decided to let it happen based on how I interpreted the script and let what may happen, just happen.

I didn’t want to get too into my head.  But I will say this, the reference I used for Baba Yaga was the late Farrah Fawcet and Octobriana may or may not have been the late Ana Nicole Smith.  I had fun drawing Baba Yaga and her clothes. The style contrast between her and Octobriana, stylish and fashionable v. grunge and rugged was something I enjoyed playing off one another, and would love to do it again.  Also, my favorite pages to compose were the last 2 pages and the page that I felt the most pressure composing was page 5. It took me to do 11 sketches to get page 5 to feel right.

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What can readers expect from your story?

Some offbeat craziness that you will want more of seeing.  Andrea Towers, the writer, told a really fun and wild story that deserves to be expanded into, at least 22 pages.

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What do you find to be cool about Octobriana?

It’s offbeat nature, where the character could take you anywhere and be about anything.  Plus I was thankful that I did not have to draw any gratuitously, sexy shots.  Thank you Andrea!

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Octobriana With Love (SEP211446) hits comic shops on November 10, 2021 courtesy of Dead Good Comics.

If you've enjoyed this quick trip through the works of N. Steven Harris, give him a follow on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.


 

Keep an eye on PREVIEWSworld.com's TwitterFacebookYouTube, or Instagram for more artist spotlights! 

If you want to find more comics by artist N. Steven Harris then be sure to check out these titles at your local comic shop...

DEAD GOOD COMICS
OCTOBRIANA WITH LOVE #1 CVR A MARGUERITE SAUVAGE (MR)
(W) Stephanie Phillips, Stuart Taylor, Andrea Towers (A) Simon Fraser, Marc Laming, N. Steven Harris, Andy Belanger, Stephen Byrne, Juni Ba, Vincenzo Riccardi (CA) Marguerite Sauvage
David Bowie was going to make a superhero movie about her.
Billy Idol has a tattoo of her.
And now, 50 years since her debut, celebrate the return of one of the most enigmatic comic book characters that you've never heard of...
OCTOBRIANA WITH LOVE is an all-star, 64-page, full color softcover graphic novel, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the cult underground Russian superhero by an exciting mix of creative talent.
For centuries, immortal warrior woman Octobriana has been the champion of the oppressed. Leading a rag-tag group of freedom fighters, Octobriana travels the dimensional highways in her Wonder Machine, disrupting authoritarian regimes, overturning tyrants... and gate-crashing the best parties!
In OCTOBRIANA WITH LOVE, Octobriana and her underground take on a daring rescue mission above the skies of a near future Britain to rescue Lucretia Hussain, a young vlogger destined to be a figurehead for a future revolution. To correct the course of history Octobriana clashes with her ancient nemesis Baba Yaga, leading Octobriana to relive her past and setting the stage for a whole new universe of adventures.
In Shops: Dec 22, 2021
SRP: $9.99
PREVIEWS Page #280

DEAD GOOD COMICS
OCTOBRIANA WITH LOVE #1 CVR B JOYCE CHIN (MR)
(W) Stephanie Phillips, Stuart Taylor, Andrea Towers (A) Simon Fraser, Marc Laming, N. Steven Harris, Andy Belanger, Stephen Byrne, Juni Ba, Vincenzo Riccardi (CA) Joyce Chin
David Bowie was going to make a superhero movie about her.
Billy Idol has a tattoo of her.
And now, 50 years since her debut, celebrate the return of one of the most enigmatic comic book characters that you've never heard of...
OCTOBRIANA WITH LOVE is an all-star, 64-page, full color softcover graphic novel, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the cult underground Russian superhero by an exciting mix of creative talent.
For centuries, immortal warrior woman Octobriana has been the champion of the oppressed. Leading a rag-tag group of freedom fighters, Octobriana travels the dimensional highways in her Wonder Machine, disrupting authoritarian regimes, overturning tyrants... and gate-crashing the best parties!
In OCTOBRIANA WITH LOVE, Octobriana and her underground take on a daring rescue mission above the skies of a near future Britain to rescue Lucretia Hussain, a young vlogger destined to be a figurehead for a future revolution. To correct the course of history Octobriana clashes with her ancient nemesis Baba Yaga, leading Octobriana to relive her past and setting the stage for a whole new universe of adventures.
In Shops: Dec 22, 2021
SRP: $9.99
PREVIEWS Page #280

FAIRSQUARE COMICS LLC
NOIR IS THE NEW BLACK TP VOL 01 (MR)
(W) David Walker, Brandon Thomas, Melody Cooper, Brandon Easton, Various (A) N. Steven Harris, MD Bright, Marcus Williams, Karen Darboe, Walt Barna, David Brame (A/CA) Various
Unhinged. Unfiltered. Unstoppable... This is Noir Is The New Black: 40 Black creators delivering 16 Noir stories in a unique way. for the first time, the most successful African American comic book creators like David F.walker, Brandon Thomas, Brandon Easton, Melody Cooper, Md Bright, N.steven Harris as well as a new generation of writers and artists of color from all around the world such as Karen S. Darboe, Walt Barna, Marcus Williams, Quinn Mcgowan, Roxxy Haze, Greg Burnham, and many more, are banding together for a unique anthology of 100% creator-owned Black Noir comic stories.
In Shops: Sep 01, 2021
SRP: $25.00
PREVIEWS Page #306

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Troy-Jeffrey Allen is the producer and co-host of PREVIEWSworld Weekly. He is also the Consumer Marketing Manager for Geppi Family Enterprises. Troy's comics work includes MF DOOM: All Caps, Public Enemy's Apocalpyse '91, the Glyph Award-nominated Fight of the Century, the Harvey Award-nominated District Comics, and the Ringo Award-nominated Magic Bullet.


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