Jeff Nicholson

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Jeff Nicholson (born October 5, 1962) is an American comic book writer, artist and self-publisher, known primarily for his work on Ultra Klutz, Through the Habitrails, Father & Son, and Colonia. Nicholson received a total of six Comics Industry Eisner Award nominations in his 25-year career,[1] and was one of the first four recipients of the Xeric Award comic book self-publishing grants in 1992.[2]


Nicholson's first self-published title was a 1981 underground comic book Ultra Klutz, which used humor and satire.[3] He later published 31 issues of a more mainstream Ultra Klutz comic in the direct sales market under his Onward Comics imprint.[4] Ultra Klutz was “a comic that began as a parody of Japanese superstar Ultraman but soon evolved into a convoluted and complex fantasy soap opera.[5] All issues of Ultra Klutz were acquired from Alexander Street Press and are available digitally to the library market worldwide.[6] During this period Nicholson also issued the 60 page Nicholson’s Small Press Tirade, a “A critical examination and critique of the small press scene of the 1980's in comics form,”[3] which was selected for inclusion in the Treasury of Mini-Comics Vol. 2 from Fantagraphics Books in 2015. [7]


Nicholson made a major career shift with Through the Habitrails, in which “There is a frightening internal logic to Nicholson’s stories that is the hallmark of the best of horror.[8] This series of surreal, dark humored short stories about life in the corporate world of commercial illustration was first published in four volumes of Stephen R. Bissette’s Taboo (comics) anthology[3] (alongside Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s From Hell series),[9] and elevated Nicholson from a relatively cult-like status to receiving more substantial coverage in the comics journalism and mainstream media of the time.[10][11][12][13] His comics were also published by various larger or more mainstream publishers from 1992-1997, including Hyena magazine (Tundra Publishing), Negative Burn (Caliber Comics), The Big Book of Little Criminals, The Big Book of Losers (DC Comics / Paradox Press), The Dreaming (Vertigo (DC Comics).,[3] and Father & Son, a four issue series published by Kitchen Sink Press,depicting “the misadventures of a slacker Gen-Xer and his type-A boomer dad… nominated for two Eisner Awards (the Oscars of comics, as people in the industry like to call them)… depicting the ironies of mundane everyday life".[14]


Nicholson returned to self-publishing with Colonia, an all-ages fantasy adventure series. The unique spin on the series was the setting in the New World with real geography and alternative history considerations. “As an artist, Jeff Nicholson adopts a lean, earnestly straightforward approach… he conveys genuine enthusiasm for both his characters and for the legendary age of exploration which frames their adventures.[15] Nicholson was selected as a featured creator for the book Character Design for Graphic Novels (Focal Press) based on his Colonia characters.[16]


After a ten-year absence from comics, Nicholson came out of retirement to create a new ten page Epilogue to his acclaimed Through the Habitrails for a third edition of the book from (Dover Publications)[17]


  • Nicholson, Jeff. Through the Habitrails. Chico, Calif: Bad Habit, 1996. ISBN 9781885047038
  • Nicholson, Jeff. Colonia: Islands and Anomalies. San Francisco, CA: AiT/PlanetLar, 2002. ISBN 9780970936073
  • Nicholson, Jeff. Nicholson's Small Press Tirade and Other Works, 1983-1989: Obscure Short Stories. Chico, CA: Bad Habit, 1994. ISBN 9781885047014
  • Nicholson, Jeff. Colonia: On into the Great Lands. San Francisco, CA: AiT/PlanetLar, 2005. ISBN 9781932051407
  • Ultra Klutz (Journal) Chico, CA : Onward Comics. 1986-1991
  • Nicholson, Jeff. Through the Habitrails, Life Before and After My Career In the Cubicles. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 2016. ISBN 9780486802862


  1. ^ Comic Book Awards Almanac American Awards, Eisner: 1993, 1996, 1998, 1999 nominees
  2. ^ Awards 1992
  3. ^ a b c d Grand Comics Database - Jeff Nicholson bibliography
  4. ^ Rothschild, D. Aviva (1995). Graphic Novels: A Bibliographic Guide to Book-length Comics. Libraries Unlimited. ISBN 9781563080869. 
  5. ^ Underground Film Journal Colonial Times article
  6. ^ Alexander Street Press Bibliographies: Underground and Independent Comics, Comix, and Graphic Novels: Volume 1
  7. ^ Fantagraphics Books: Treasury of Mini-Comics Vol. 2
  8. ^ “The State of the Art” Through the Habitrails review by Mahinder Kingra, San Diego City Pages, March 5, 1997
  9. ^ Wagner, Hank; Golden, Christopher; Bissette., Stephen (2008). Prince of Stories: The Many Worlds of Neil Gaiman. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 9780312387655. 
  10. ^ “Through the Habitrails – and beyond. An interview with Jeff Nicholson” article and interview by Stephen R. Bissette, Comics Buyer’s Guide #991, November 13, 1992 (Krause Publications)
  11. ^ The Comics Journal #171, September 1994 “Down Among the Rodents – Through the Habitrails” by Rich Kreiner
  12. ^ “Force of ‘Habit’ – ‘Through the Habitrail’ is seriously shocking” by Richard Von Busack, The Sonoma County Independent, November 7, 1996
  13. ^ “Inner Cubicles of Hell” by Richard Von Busack, San Jose Metro, November 7, 1996
  14. ^ “Generations clash in ‘Father & Son’ Comics” by Angie Chuang, The Contra Costa Times, Wednesday June 19, 1996
  15. ^ “Beyond Jack Tar” by Kent Worcester, The Comics Journal #216, October 1999 (Fantagraphics Books)
  16. ^ Character Design for Graphic Novels
  17. ^ Nicholson Explains How ‘Through the Habitrails’ Brought Him Out of Retirement by Alex Dueben, Comic Book Resources

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