Pink Lemonade #6 from Nick Cagnetti and publisher Oni Press is due out this week, marking the finale for one of the most interesting monthly series in all of indie comics.
Owing an aesthetic debt to Mike Allred’s work, Pink Lemonade is a sharp-looking and creatively fascinating project. And today we are fortunate to have an exclusive reveal of interior panels from the book.
Check those out below…followed by some excerpts from a recent conversation I had with Pink Lemonade #6 mastermind, Nick Cagenetti…enjoy!
Pink Lemonade #6 Exclusive Panel Unveiling
We’ve got four pages from Pink Lemonade #6…
Interview: Nick Cagnetti talks PINK LEMONADE #6
And now for some excerpts from my recent conversation with Nick…
ZACK QUAINTANCE: I couldn’t help but wonder while reading, but how did you pitch this book?
NICK CAGNETTI: It’s a hard thing to pitch. I think at several points I changed it, because as I was working on it, I started having different takeaways at different moments. The big thing was always that it was a pop culture riff with somebody just trying to figure themselves out, amid a world — that’s not different from our own — that just has pop culture all around it.
What happens when someone is throw into the spotlight there and they love their sense of selves because all these outside forces are trying to impose their perspective on her.
ZACK: How did this book come to Oni?
NICK: It’s been a long journey. I originally started with comics strips in 2016. Then I finished a first issue, and published two issues through It’s Alive. There were some crowdfunding campaigns, too. After that, I decided to shop it around while I kept working on the books. That was early 2020. It’s been a really winding road.
I finished issue three and posted on social media, hey does anyone want to publish this? I didn’t really know what to do with it. I got a message then from an editor at Oni Press, saying they’d found the first issue from It’s Alive at their local shop when it came out initially, and they’d held on to it.
ZACK: It felt to me like the villain in the book is bad impulses in comics and pop culture, is that right?
NICK: Absolutely. That kind of personality is very prevalent always in these sorts of circles and prone to taking advantage of people and situations. Pink Lemonade is just sort of this bright, hopeful person with lots of dreams. Part of the trick of the series was putting the character in a situation that would test the mindset she has. It was something I could relate to, making these books and seeing what others go through. It’s a lot at times.
Part of the whole thing was seeing if she could hold on to the bright spots she’s got by the end of it.
ZACK: You really assemble a cast of endearing comics punching bags in this book. How was that?
NICK: Fun, for sure. Ron Radical is a character that was an idea one of my friends and I had going back a decade. We wanted to do a ’90s comic parody book. My drawing skills and comics storytelling skills were not very good, so that character was on the back burner forever. But I had a perfect place for the character in this overall story.
ZACK: I want to ask about the role of the ’90s in this. I spotted Daria and Beavis and Butthead. Can you talk about how the ’90s inspired this comic?
NICK: I’m a ’90s kids, or a ’90s baby at least, so it’s sort of in my blood. I have a lot of love for ’90s books. The decade gets railed on a lot of times, but I think there’s some fun to be had in using the concepts and stylings there. Ron Radical was fun because he’s a super ’90s dude with rim lighting on him. At first, you’re not sure if this guy’s just a big old meanie, but you’re able to peel back some stuff and show other sides to those kinds of characters.
That was what I was trying to do — take the ’90s and show that there could be more there.
ZACK: What were some of the influences that went into Pink Lemonade?
NICK: I’ll give you an unexpected answer — I read a lot of Corto Maltese books before going into this series, and that left an influence on my brain. There’s a real dream-like quality in those books at times with Corto dreaming, and some of that rubbed off. I just love the spirit of adventure, and they’re beautiful books, too.
Obviously, Mike Allred’s Madman is the big one. That was one instance for me of picking up a book, and being like, ‘Wow, you can do this sort of stuff in comics?’ It became a favorite, and stuck with me ever since.
Outside of comics, another unexpected one would be Aeon Flux. It was another instance of seeing something for me, like, ‘Wow, you can do crazy stuff like this?’ They so often push the storytelling in that, leaving things open to interpretation and inviting the viewers in. That was something I was hoping to do in these books.
ZACK: Have you met Mike Allred or had any interaction with him?
NICK: Funny story actually. At Phoenix Comic-Con, him and Laura were here once. I went to their table, they signed a book, it was great…then a year after that, I was sitting at San Diego Comic-Con for a portfolio review. It was taking a long time, and I was falling asleep in my chair. I was wearing a Madman shirt that I bought off their shop, and I hear a voice above me, like, ‘Nice shirt!’
I open my eyes, and it’s Mike and Laura standing there. I spring up, and I’m like, ‘Wow, it’s you guys!’ It was really nice. They remembered me from before. It was very surreal. When Pink Lemonade #1 was originally coming out through It’s Alive, they sent one over to Mike Allred, and he had some nice comments about it. It was mind-blowing then, and still now.
Pink Lemonade #6 is out Wednesday, February 22, from Oni Press.