NBM Review Round-Up!

February 18, 2013 by  
Filed under NBM Blog, Reviews

Here we are, back again, with some recent reviews of various NBM titles.

The Initiates: A Comic Artist And a Wine Artisan Exchange Jobs

“The excellent writing, characterizations, and tranquil-yet-stimulating vibe make this a treat to savor slowly, like wine. Davodeau’s smoky realism, though black-and-white, manages to suggest the full range of wine-growing climate shifts. Oenophiles will love this and the merely curious will be plenty satisfied.”

– Library Journal/School Library Journal

An Enchantment

“Durieux veils every panel with crepuscular sepia, which dulls the colors and contours of the featured paintings and installations but warmly enfolds the protagonists’ developing relationship. His drawing style is otherwise pure European comics realism, eschewing caricature and approaching the photographic, with, throughout, hints of the amusing, quicksilver line of . . . Cocteau”

Booklist

“Durieux’s fantasia peeps occasionally at these darker things: the legacy of dictatorship and history’s evils contained in the Louvre’s hallways and priceless works of art. This brooding subtext, however, is overridden by the artist’s sweet sense of mystery and magic, which has produced a beautiful lark of a story.”

Publisher’s Weekly

 

A Treasury of Victorian Murder Compendium

“A must-read for those who love comics and Gothic-tinged history…With heavy black ink on white paper, Geary draws impeccably drafted, brilliantly composed panels of stylized characters, gorgeous architecture, panoramic cityscapes and attention-grabbing close-ups. These pages are an artist’s master class. Geary’s cinematic style establishes visual rhythms that set the pace for a story that remains vibrant despite the fact that the only voice we read is the narrator’s. Beautiful.”

Cleveland Plain Dealer

Abelard

“A strange mix of bleak and cute.”

Grovel

“Wonderful, thoughtful, and moving.”

Sequential Tart

 

Philosophy – A Discovery in Comics

“A relatively quick read, especially for a book on philosophy, but it also makes philosophy approachable and less intimidating than it might be…A great overview.”

Portland Book Review

Salvatore Vol. 1: Transports of Love

“The leisurely pace, slightly skewed sense of humor, and young adult-that-looks-kid-friendly content might make the book a somewhat acquired taste, but, once you’ve acquired it, Salvatore is something of a feast.”

School Library Journal: Good Comics For Kids

 

Taxes, The Tea Party and Those Revolting Rebels

“Mack’s history is a vital and entertaining one. It captures Americans as radicals and wild cards and assures that rebellion is in our blood, even if it must be against each other.”

Archive 7

NBM Review Round-Up!

January 14, 2013 by  
Filed under NBM Blog, Reviews

Here we are, back again, with some recent reviews of various NBM titles.

Faster Than A Speeding Bullet: The Rise of the Graphic Novel

“A a perfect book for anyone trying to wrap her or his head around the field of comics, a quick and smart overview of the field that spans both decades and genres. Whether you’re developing a syllabus, improving your library’s collection, or just trying to get a better sense of the field and the good stuff you might have missed, Rise is well worth a read, and worth keeping around afterwards for reference.”

– Boing Boing

Abelard

“If the cartoon images of birds and bears–and the addition of the word “magical” to the book’s front cover–give the impression that Abelard is a children’s fantasy, be assured that it isn’t. Think of it more as an anthropomorphic piece of magical realism in the manner of Joanne Harris’ Chocolat, a reflection on hope and dreams that may surprise you by just how affecting it is.”

– Blog Critics

“(Abelard) starts off feeling somewhat quaint and unassuming, and by the time you realize where it is heading, it is far too late to stem the tide of heartache that the book makes you feel…A book very much worth your time and money. This is a high-quality piece of work.”

– Comics Waiting Room

Philosophy – A Discovery in Comics by Margreet de Heer

 “Congenial, bare-bones introduction to Western philosophy…this shrewd, engaging graphic primer is very ingratiating.”

– Book List Online

Lover’s Lane: The Hall-Mills Mystery

 One of Robot 6′s favorite comics of 2012!

“I love a good mystery, I love history, and I love Rick Geary’s quasi-documentary style of presenting historical mysteries.”

– Robot 6

“A really weird graphic novel.”

Portland Book Review

NBM Review Round-Up!

December 20, 2012 by  
Filed under NBM Blog, Reviews

It’s not too late to get some of our fantastic books to give away as holiday gifts (or buy one or two for yourself, you deserve it!).

Here’s what the critics are saying about some of our recent titles.

Abelard

“A beautifully crafted piece of storytelling from Hautiére that tugs mercilessly at the heartstrings but doesn’t ever fall into sentimental or sickly sweet. If anything, by the end, we’re assaulted by the brutality of the story. And Dillies’ artwork is quite beautiful, his charming characters almost deliberately at odds with some of the themes and actions of the tale, yet never feeling wrong. His stylised colours perfectly suited to detailing all the wonders, all the misery, all the dreams Abelard finds along his journey.”

The Forbidden Planet International Blog Log

A poignant, droll, and heartbreaking “funny animals” tale for grown-ups, with breathtaking art.”

Karen GreenBoing Boing Annual “Return of the Best Damn Comics of the Year” List

 

Faster Than A Speeding Bullet: The Rise of the Graphic Novel

“A wonderful primer for both educators who need to familiarize themselves with the medium as well as those who have been reading comics faithfully for 50+ years. Like the best of historians, Mr. Weiner manages to logically connect seemingly disparate ideas and occurrences into one cohesive story, fitting a lot of important notes into one place, and he never belabors any of them. His timeline, (always important to a comic fan and reader!) is impeccable and brilliantly concise.”

New York Journal of Books

 

Stargazing Dog

“Stargazing Dog is a beautiful, poignant work on love and death and I dare you to not to cry while reading it.”

– Stuff & Nonsense

 

Taxes, The Tea Party and Those Revolting Rebels

“Stan Mack uses succinct language, humor, and clean and energetic black and white cartoons to turn a complex history into an accessible story…A completely unique and accessible way of learning history.”

City Book Review

NBM Review Round-Up!

December 10, 2012 by  
Filed under NBM Blog, Reviews

We’re counting down the shopping days and we’ve had several of our titles show up in gift guides from The Comics Reporter and Forces of Geek, so we’re even more happy to share some great reviews that might also serve as holiday gift ideas.

Be sure to check out our site proper where you can order any of our titles.  After the jump, check out what reviewers are saying about several of our titles.

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Upcoming Graphic Novel Trilogy, PERSIA BLUES Needs Your Kickstarter Support

December 5, 2012 by  
Filed under NBM Blog

This July, NBM will release the first volume in the Persia Blues graphic novel trilogy written by New York Times best-selling writer Dara Naraghi and illustrated by artist Brent Bowman.  This epic and complex multicultural story features the parallel lives of a young Iranian woman, and will explore the universal themes of tradition, family, guilt, and freedom.

The series follows Minoo Shirazi from her hometown of Shiraz, Iran to the United States, in pursuit of her graduate studies. The narrative also features an additional layer, with Minoo as a free-spirited adventurer in a fantasy world, where aspects of modern America and ancient Persia meld into a unique landscape. The mystery of these two intertwined settings will ultimately lead Minoo to an important discovery about her true self.

In order to compensate Mr. Bowman for the tremendous amount of research, time, and energy he has put into drawing the book, Mr. Naraghi has turned to the crowd funding website Kickstarter.com. “Through Kickstarter, we can take our graphic novel straight to the public, and if they like what they see, they can help support it financially, in exchange for unique incentives,” said Mr. Naraghi. Backers of the project can earn such items as signed copies of the book, handwritten short stories, Persian cuisine family recipes, original pages of art from the book, and more.

The Kickstarter campaign to help fund Persia Blues, vol. 1 ends on December 20, 2012.  For more details or to support this project, CLICK HERE!

NBM Sells Out

November 16, 2012 by  
Filed under NBM Blog, Reviews

As we head into the Holiday season, we’re proud to announce that we’ve sold out of our initial run  of Stan Mack’s Taxes, The Tea Party and Those Those Revolting Rebels and are running low of Margreet de Here’s Psychology: A Discovery in Comics and Hirohiko Araki’s Rohan at the Louvre (which means if you want to give/receive either of those titles, I suggest placing an order soon)

Our latest title, Abelard by Renaud Dillies and Regis Hautier also belongs on your Holiday gift list.

Publisher’s Weekly has listed the book on their Graphic Novel Gift Guide and reviewed the title, saying, “What eventually reveals itself amid the cute animals and dry humor is a poignant tale echoing the plight of early European immigrants, who abandoned everything they knew in search of a better life and nurtured hope even in the worst of situations.”

NBM Review Round-Up!

November 14, 2012 by  
Filed under NBM Blog, Reviews

With such a wide variety of titles, we’re pretty fortunate to get a pretty amazing cross section of reviewers.

Here are a few kind words about several of our titles:
Philosophy: A Discovery in Comics

“Margreet, with help from her husband/colorist Yiri, does exactly what I’d hoped she’d do. I got an overview of philosophy with difficult concepts explained in a variety of ways. I got an introduction to the basics that left me with a desire to learn more. I love a book where, just when I think, “I need an example to understand that,” I turn the page and Yiri is telling Margreet, “It’s getting a bit abstract now…Can you give a concrete example here?” And she does.”

– The Unshelved Book Club

“In short, colorful, humorously self-reflective chapters, de Heer takes us on a tour of the biggest questions and the most famous names of philosophy, ending with the personal philosophies of some surprisingly interesting people rarely thought of as philosophers.  The characters and arguments of philosophy come brilliantly to life through a series of quirky, memorable conversations.”

– Teacher Librarian

Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde:  The Happy Prince

“It might seem odd to think of Wilde’s classic tale of the statue that loved his city and the swallow that loved the statue as a tale of horror. But there’s something profoundly horrific in the way the statue can only give the precious and finite parts of his body to save the city he loves.  Russell’s illustrations slip delicately between the terrific pain the prince sees and the fragile joy the bird helps him deliver.”

– Teacher Librarian

And finally, check out this great piece looking at the work of Lewis Trondheim’s funny animal comics including NBM’s Dungeon series.

Still Haven’t Read TAXES, THE TEA PARTY AND THOSE REVOLTING REBELS? Here’s Some Reviews To Convince You To Read It Right Now…

November 12, 2012 by  
Filed under NBM Blog, Reviews

Media Post ran a fantastic interview with Stan Mack about his book, Taxes, The Tea Party and Those Revolting Rebels, that’s well worth a read.  Here’s what some other folks have been saying.

“A history of the nation’s birth that gets exactly the treatment it needs:  irreverent admiration for the pluck of visionaries, rueful honesty about the founding ideas that still shape our reality.”

– Teacher Librarian

“Accessible, thought -provoking , and highly discussable, this version of how the United States became independent of the British Crown may well inspire readers to see the relevant aspects of studying history as well as reading nonfiction comics.”

– School Library Journal

“An accurate but irreverent retelling of the American Revolution and the events that led up to it. Mack’s colonists talk like real people—with attitude—which helps bring the facts of history down to earth in a way modern readers can relate to.”

– School Library Journal

And finally, a rather conservative look at the book, which is certainly provocative, albeit not particularly accurate.

“Rather than an honest attempt at history, it comes off as a pro-liberal statement, where government corrupts those in charge, and that regular people are easily manipulated.”

Portland Book Review

 

Watch World Premiere Recording of Libby Larsen’s “The Peculiar Case of Dr. H.H. Holmes”

October 31, 2012 by  
Filed under Events, NBM Blog

As we announced last week, the Florestan Recital Project announced  the release of its world premiere recording of  Libby Larsen’s The Peculiar Case of Dr. H.H. Holmes, based on Rick Geary’s book, The Beast of Chicago.

We also got a chance to chat with Aaron Engebreth, the Artistic Co-Director of the Florestan Recital Project about how this project came into existence.

What was the genesis of the project?

The project has a number of different ‘genesis’ points, actually.  Florestan Recital Project commissioned the composer Libby Larsen to create a new work for one of our past projects, the American Vanguard Festival.  Vanguard was a three-day celebration of contemporary American Art-Song which took place at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in March of 2010.  Florestan was completing our final year of a three-year position as Artistic Ensemble in Residence at the College, and the festival was a culmination of our time and experience there.  Libby was interested in creating a piece that would focus on violence in America, and we thought sounded interesting, important and timely.  We really had no idea that she would set the confessions of H.H. Holmes until much later, and we were very taken with the direction.

For a year or so, here and abroad, we presented various performances of the piece in traditional recital form.  When we began the process of recording the piece, we really were determined to make it a cross-disciplinary “event” rather than a conventional CD release.  I wanted very much to release the piece free of charge, in hopes that more people would hear it, and we thought that the story and the music practically begged for a visual component.  The setting of the World’s Exposition in Chicago is evoked in Libby’s music in an alarming and very direct way, and we began thinking of ways to create this visual atmosphere without detracting from the music and words themselves.

Pete Goldlust and Melanie Germond, our marketing and design partners extraordinaire, immediately let us know about Rick Geary.  They knew Geary’s work and that was really the genesis of the visual collaboration.  Rick and his publisher were extremely supportive and interested in the project, and thought is was a great fit for his incredible illustrations, so after we read his book, there really was no more to say.

It was a perfect fit, artistically.

Had the music already been scored and the book was a match or did the book itself inspire the soundtrack?

In this case, the music came before we, or Libby Larsen, knew about Rick’s novel.  In many cases with classical song composition, the reverse is true, but this time Libby’s libretto and music were the impetus for us to go and find out more about H.H. Holmes.  And did we ever.

The project reminds me a bit of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, using music to literally illustrate the story.  Was that an inspiration?

Peter and the Wolf was not a direct inspiration for this project, though it and pieces like it find similarities because of the non-traditional approach of combining seemingly unrelated art forms.  At its core, Art Song does indeed use music to illustrate a story.  That story can be a narrative, poetry, prose or many other written forms.  Florestan Recital Project began was founded in 2001 with the firm belief that words and music, if you let them, can quite simply make us better people.

Words and music augment our ability to gain perspective into characters, emotions and places that we might otherwise never dare venture, and thereby augment our constant state of becoming.  Holmes is a rather extreme example of a character to gain perspective into, but the fact remains that whether one is listening to French poetry set to music, or the confessions of a madman set to music, the experience can enter you and change you.  It’s an inspirational art form.

Are there any other mashups like this planned, or any particular comics that you’re hoping to adapt in this method?

We’re up for anything.  We have nothing similar to this release planned in the future, but we very much hope to do more.  Interestingly, Geary wrote an entire treasury of Victorian murders, so there is plenty of opportunity within that thread.  We would welcome suggestions and inquiries for future projects and we hope to have more comic collaborations in the future.  To be honest, this would have seemed a highly unlikely combination to me even six months ago; classical art song-meets serial-killer-meets graphic novel.  But now that we’ve merged them, I find myself wanting to do many more.  It’s my great hope that readers of comics will find this as interesting and illuminating and we are confident our classical music listeners will.

 

For more details, visit www.florestanproject.org 

A Treasury of Victorian Murder – The Musical

October 24, 2012 by  
Filed under NBM Blog

Founded in 2001, Florestan Recital Project promotes song repertoire in concerts, masterclasses, and educational residencies. By combining a dynamic core ensemble of committed artists with meticulous research and programming, Florestan has delighted audiences with a wide range of both established and unfamiliar repertoire.

And on October 31st they will unveil their latest project,  the release of its world premiere recording of  Libby Larsen’s The Strange Case of Dr. H.H. Holmes, based on Rick Geary’s book The Beast of Chicago.

At the height of the Gilded Age, during Chicago’s finest moment of international glory, a man known as H.H. Holmes quietly and secretively carried out one of the most horrifically perverse and murderous crime sprees in American history. Against the ornate backdrop of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, Holmes built an elaborate chamber of horrors in which he staged the methodical and grisly murders of up to 200 people, becoming America’s first known serial killer.

This macabre subject matter provides the basis for an exploration into the darkest corners of the human psyche.  The work explores the unfathomable impulses that drove Holmes to commit his crimes. Scored for baritone and piano, Larsen’s song cycle interweaves passages of period parlour music with texts from Holmes’ own confessions. The result is a work that is both haunting and engaging–a perfect platform for Florestan’s “deeply felt, and impeccably prepared” performances (The Boston Globe).

This groundbreaking recording project will be accompanied by the simultaneous release of an accompanying animated video featuring illustrations from artist Rick Geary’s acclaimed graphic novel.

For more details, check out the Florestan Recital Project’s website, and check back on Halloween to see this exciting new project.

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