Hey all. Time for my first review thing.
I picked up Between Gears completely on a whim at my local comic store. They were having a special deal where you could buy a graphic novel and get another free, and Between Gears was the one I decided to pay for (over the second volume of Studio Foglio's 'Phil and Dixie'... Sorry Phil, next time!).
What initially drew me to the book was the art style. After I had flipped through the book a bit, Nourigat's drawing style reminded me vaguely of Bryan Lee O'Malley crossed with Shimura Takako (though Natalie prefers to be compared to Hayao Miyazaki). It uses lines very effectively, and while many of the characters end up looking very similar at times, it is never in doubt that the main focus of the comic is Natalie.
Between Gears is an autobiographical series centered around the author/artist's senior year in college at the University of Oregon. While I was reading, it made me yearn for a college life I never experienced, as my alma mater is the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, a very focused school where I participated in a very focused major. For those who did go to a more traditional college, this book will most likely give you fond memories of hanging out with friends at that one restaurant you always used to go to, cramming for classes, forgoing sleep for projects, and the trials and tribulations of campus life. For those who are still in college, this is possibly what you have to look forward to... and for those who didn't go to college, it's a look at another world.
Between Gears is Nourigat's first book; she previously illustrated a series of children's books that teach children financial literacy, authored by Paul Nourigat, but it is her first book written and illustrated entirely on her own, and as a first effort (or hell, even as a second... or fifth... or tenth...) it is extremely well done. According to her web site she is currently working on another graphic novel, Over the Surface, about which details are few, but I'm going to be watching for it, and so should you!
Between Gears was also originally published as a webcomic! So if you really don't want to buy the book, you can read it for free... Buying the book, however, does do more to support the artist, and also has bonus material! (Also if you buy the book through the following link, it supports this blog and it's owner's hopes and dreams...)
The artist's web site, NatalieNourigat.com, also links to her blog and some other material.
Her fan page on Facebook.