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The Sprite and the Gardener – News and Preview

Cover of The Sprite and the Gardener

We’re closing out the week with some breaking news of a new graphic novel from Oni-Lion Forge that’s in the tradition of Katie O’Neill’s Tea Dragon Society. The Sprite and the Gardener, by by Rii Abrego and Joe Whitt, is set to be published in May 2021. Here’s the executive summary:

Long, long ago, sprites were the caretakers of gardens. Every flower was grown by their hand. But when humans appeared and began growing their own gardens, the sprites’ magical talents soon became a thing of the past. When Wisteria, an ambitious, kind-hearted sprite, starts to ask questions about the way things used to be, she begins to unearth her long-lost talent of gardening. But her newly honed skills might not be the welcome surprise she intends them to be. 

The story started as a single-page online comic, and after getting an enthusiastic response, Abrego expanded it into a graphic novel, working closely with Whitt. We have a short preview for you today, and below that, the full press release. Enjoy!

A BLOSSOM OF HOPE AND KINDNESS BLOOMS IN DEBUT GRAPHIC NOVEL FROM ONI-LION FORGE PUBLISHING GROUP

Vibrant “Cottagecore” Elements Kick Off Summer 2021 in this Tale of Working Together

PORTLAND, OR: In a charming, delightfully warm style reminiscent of the award-winning Tea Dragon Societyseries, Oni-Lion Forge Publishing Group is pleased to announce the upcoming debut graphic novel, The Sprite and the Gardener, by Rii Abrego and Joe Whitt with lettering by Crank!. The Sprite and the Gardener will be released May 2021. 

Long, long ago, sprites were the caretakers of gardens. Every flower was grown by their hand. But when humans appeared and began growing their own gardens, the sprites’ magical talents soon became a thing of the past. When Wisteria, an ambitious, kind-hearted sprite, starts to ask questions about the way things used to be, she begins to unearth her long-lost talent of gardening. But her newly honed skills might not be the welcome surprise she intends them to be. 

Sometimes a stunning idea is born from a split second in time, such as it was for creator Rii Abrego: “The Sprite and the Gardener began as a single-sentence, self-contained comic page that was posted online and met with more enthusiasm than I could have ever imagined. I’m so thrilled to have been able to work with Joe to adapt it into something that’s new but still maintains those same core concepts: the desire to spread kindness, to channel love into action, and, of course, my own personal desire to draw lots and lots of flowers.” 

With its delicate color palette and vibrant, diverse cast of characters, The Sprite and the Gardener is a celebration of collaboration both on and off the page. “Working as a co-writer was something I had never done before, and I think the experience helped me better understand Wisteria’s own struggle with communicating and asking for help,” said Joe Whitt. “Working with Rii, it was especially that way. Seeing her take our sketches and scribbles and transform them into lovely sequences and life is really something!” 

Join the neighborhood of sprites in this beautiful, gentle fantasy where, in taking the first step toward something new, both gardens and friendships begin to blossom. The Sprite and the Gardener will be available in stores and online on May 5, 2021. 

About the Creators

Rii Abrego is a Latina illustrator who resides in the very green, very humid southern USA. She is an admirer of big bugs and a magnet for stray cats. The Sprite and the Gardener is her debut original graphic novel.

Joe Whitt is a comic artist based in Alabama. He graduated from the University of Montevallo with a BFA in drawing. He lives with three polite cats. The Sprite and the Gardener is his graphic novel debut.

Christopher Crank (Crank!) has lettered a bunch of books put out by Image, Dark Horse, Oni Press, Dynamite, and elsewhere. He also has a podcast with comic artist Mike Norton and members of Four Star Studios in Chicago (crankcast.com) and makes music (sonomorti.bandcamp.com). Catch him on Twitter: @ccrank and Instagram: ccrank. 

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Brigid Alverson About Brigid Alverson

Brigid Alverson, the editor of the Good Comics for Kids blog, has been reading comics since she was 4. She has an MFA in printmaking and has worked as a book editor and a newspaper reporter; now she is assistant to the mayor of Melrose, Massachusetts. In addition to editing GC4K, she writes about comics and graphic novels at MangaBlog, SLJTeen, Publishers Weekly Comics World, Comic Book Resources, MTV Geek, and Good E-Reader.com. Brigid is married to a physicist and has two daughters in college, which is why she writes so much. She was a judge for the 2012 Eisner Awards.

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