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The world where Nitnit lives is straight out of William S. Burroughs, populated by lizard-men and cyclopes. “Naked Lunch was originally called The Interzone—an agglomeration of places that Burroughs had visited, Mexico or New Orleans or Tangier,” Burns explains. “Where Nitnit is wandering is a reflection of that, vaguely Middle Eastern–looking but full of diverse elements, like punk-rock posters on the wall.” (Those posters, by the way, are lettered in one of several alien alphabets Burns developed for this story.) On this page of the book, Nitnit’s and Doug’s worlds intersect for the first time.

Doug’s world is our own, circa the seventies. To nail visual details of that era, Burns used an unlikely research tool: “Sears catalogues from different eras are a great resource. In the seventies, you could buy a white refrigerator, an avocado refrigerator, or a rust-colored refrigerator.” The couch you can see through the window is avocado and harvest gold.

“Doug’s father is rendered the way I would typically draw. Nitnit is in a more simplified, cartoony style, as you would find by Hergé. The two different styles play off each other, just like the two different threads of story play off each other.”

It’s no accident that the purple bathrobe appears in both worlds. “I like playing with this idea of slippage, from one story to the other.”

“I don’t know exactly where he came from,” Burns says with a laugh about the mysterious guide in Nitnit’s world. “He’s got diapers, a backpack that’s got punk buttons on it. You can’t tell whether he’s young or old, but he’s kind of a street urchin. I haven’t figured out what to call him.”

Nitnit’s name—and shock of hair—betray his origins. “Golden Books put out six of the Tintin books in English. This was before I could read, but I was looking at them very carefully. The books’ endpapers were filled with images from other Tintin stories that hadn’t been translated. I studied these endlessly. There was a little sentence on the back of each book that said, ‘Look for future titles.’ I kept looking but they never came.”

“Something that is unique to comics is that you can play with the rhythm on a page. I wanted to tell a story with all these hiccups and odd turns but within a very rigid [three-by-three] grid structure.” So Burns can add this two-panel cinematic pan upward, as Nitnit refuses to look at Doug’s father, and the following all-gray panel that signifies a switch from one world to the other.

The cover of the Tintin classic The Shooting Star is directly referenced in X’ed Out’s cover. The ruins come from another Tintin adventure: “One of those tantalizing images in the Golden Books’ endpapers was of a mysterious, crumbling castle on a little island, and, man, I wanted to get out there really badly. I remember making my own drawings and coming up with my own stories based on that. And it wasn’t until years and years later that I actually read the book, which is good, but … it didn’t quite match up to my imagination.”

Reginald Chan (left) Third Avenue and 17th Street. On September 15, 2006, Chan was hit by a flatbed tow truck while making a delivery of Chinese food.

Brandie Bailey Houston and Essex Streets. On May 8, 2005, Bailey was struck by a private sanitation truck while on her way home to Williamsburg after waitressing at the West Village restaurant Red Bamboo. Bailey was a regular at CBGB, where a memorial was held in her honor.

Craig Murphey (left) Ten Eyck Street and Union Avenue, Williamsburg. Early in the morning of October 18, 2007, Murphey was biking home from escorting his date to her South Williamsburg apartment. According to police reports, Murphey attempted to outrun a gas truck turning left on Ten Eyck Street. His pelvis shattered on impact, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. In his honor, over 40 friends have since received tattoos that read BE BETTER.

Frank C. Simpson Linden Boulevard near 175th Street, St. Albans. Simpson, a janitor returning from the evening shift at a Con Edison facility, was hit by a Dodge Stratus on November 9, 2006.

Jose Mora (left) North Conduit and McKinley Avenues, Cypress Hills. On September 4, 2006, 11-year-old Mora was on his way to the barber for a back-to-school haircut; that week, he was to start the sixth grade at nearby Junior High School 302. He was struck by a Honda while walking his bike across an intersection.

Jonathan Neese South 4th Street and Roebling Street, Williamsburg. On August 12, 2006, Neese, a bike messenger known as “Bronx Jon,” was struck by a livery cab while cycling from Brooklyn to Manhattan.

Sam Khaled Hindy (left) Base of the Manhattan Bridge. On November 16, 2007, Hindy was run over after mistakenly entering a Manhattan Bridge lane reserved for cars.

Habian Rodriguez Main Street and Horace Harding Expressway, Flushing. On September 1, 2007, Rodriguez collided with a city bus and died 30 minutes later.

Elizabeth Padilla (left) Fifth Avenue and Prospect Place, Park Slope. Commuting to the Brooklyn Bar Association on June 9, 2005, Padilla swerved to avoid the open door of a parked P.C. Richard’s truck. She lost control of her bike and fell underneath the wheels of an ice-cream delivery truck.

Juan Luis Solis East Gun Hill Road and Bouck Avenue, the Bronx. Attempting to pass a double-parked car on June 22, 2007, Solis was struck by a box truck and died of severe head trauma. The truck did not stop.

Jeffrey Moore (left) Chauncey Street and Rockaway Avenue, Bed-Stuy. According to witnesses, on May 29, 2007, Moore was run over (twice) by his girlfriend Jeanine Harrington. She was indicted on charges of murder and criminal possession of a weapon (her Nissan Pathfinder).

Derek Lake Houston Street and La Guardia Place. On June 26, 2006, Lake reportedly skidded on a steel construction plate and was crushed underneath the wheels of a passing truck.

Elijah Armand Wrancher (left) Springfield Boulevard and 130th Avenue, Springfield Gardens. On August 28, 2007, 12-year-old Wrancher attempted to ride his bicycle while holding onto a moving truck. He lost his grip and fell under the truck’s rear wheel.

David Smith Sixth Avenue and 36th Street. On December 5, 2007, Smith was biking up Sixth Avenue when the passenger-side door of a parked pickup truck opened unexpectedly. He was knocked into the path of an oncoming truck.

Anthony Delgado (left) Palmetto Street and Central Avenue, Bushwick. Shortly after midnight on April 29, 2007, 13-year-old Delgado borrowed a bike to head home from his friend’s baptism party. As he crossed the intersection, he was struck by an SUV.

Carolina Hernandez 57th Avenue and Junction Boulevard, Elmhurst. On August 16, 2007, Hernandez was riding to a mall when she was struck and killed by a Chevy truck. The driver pled guilty to driving with a suspended license.

Anthony Delgado (left) Palmetto Street and Central Avenue, Bushwick. Shortly after midnight on April 29, 2007, 13-year-old Delgado borrowed a bike to head home from his friend’s baptism party. As he crossed the intersection, he was struck by an SUV.

Carolina Hernandez 57th Avenue and Junction Boulevard, Elmhurst. On August 16, 2007, Hernandez was riding to a mall when she was struck and killed by a Chevy truck. The driver pled guilty to driving with a suspended license.

Anthony Delgado (left) Palmetto Street and Central Avenue, Bushwick. Shortly after midnight on April 29, 2007, 13-year-old Delgado borrowed a bike to head home from his friend’s baptism party. As he crossed the intersection, he was struck by an SUV.

Carolina Hernandez 57th Avenue and Junction Boulevard, Elmhurst. On August 16, 2007, Hernandez was riding to a mall when she was struck and killed by a Chevy truck. The driver pled guilty to driving with a suspended license.

Anthony Delgado (left) Palmetto Street and Central Avenue, Bushwick. Shortly after midnight on April 29, 2007, 13-year-old Delgado borrowed a bike to head home from his friend’s baptism party. As he crossed the intersection, he was struck by an SUV.

Carolina Hernandez 57th Avenue and Junction Boulevard, Elmhurst. On August 16, 2007, Hernandez was riding to a mall when she was struck and killed by a Chevy truck. The driver pled guilty to driving with a suspended license.

Fall Fashion Features

The Beefcake in the Backcourt
Big, fake, and fully able to outshine its surroundings.Big, fake, and fully able to outshine its surroundings.

 

The Beefcake in the Backcourt
Big, fake, and fully able to outshine its surroundings.Big, fake, and fully able to outshine its surroundings.
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