Homage to Bill Blackbeard

A quick  post to give homage to Bill Blackbeard with whom we worked for so many years on early comic strip complete collections.
I am very sorry to see him pass away, his encyclopedic knowledge of comics strips and his amazing collection which I went to visit back in the eighties in San Francisco was amazing. A monumental number of boxes safe in a dry big basement.

I started working with him in the early eighties as we started the first ever complete reprint of any strip in library-worthy clothbound books, beginning with Terry & The Pirates. His collection was thoroughly amazing, going 3-4 newspaper clippings deep which allowed him to make the best choices for reproduction which he would then send us as a batch for each volume for us to reproduce and then work on further so as to make the repro as sharp as possible within the means available back then.

This series was very popular, went for 12 very thick volumes. And each volume had an intro by Bill that set the scene of the day as well as providing info on Caniff. It was the start of our Flying Buttress Classics Library which are now rare collector’s items.

We went on, along with Bill who was quite happy to work with us in making such a permanent printed archive, to do the same with Wash Tubbs & Capt. Easy by Roy Crane and then, of course, Tarzan by first Foster, then Hogarth, where we went full color.

Every volume had wonderful informative notes by Blackbeard.

His contribution to the field of preservation of this art form is immeasurable.

I will never forget him.

See the notice on ICv2.

Trondheim’s Little Nothings back on the blog!

Starting tomorrow we’ll have Lewis Trondheim‘s Little Nothings back on our blog, posting a new strip every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

This is leading up to the next volume collection of his popular pithy one page webcomic observations: “My Shadow in the Distance.” And the 1st bunch of strips deal with his trip to the US… a little extra treat!

This will be volume 4 of this series, shipping in July.

So I’m happy to welcome Lewis back here. Don’t miss the strips, set up an rss.

Converted

We convinced a sceptic critic on comics. The kind of review we LOVE to see, this one on the Sky Over the Louvre. First, setting the background on this book of Robespierre commissioning David to create a new Supreme Being:

“If you want the full account, you need to read a comic book.
 
Excuse me: a graphic novel.
 
Another surprise: This one has A-list credentials. 
 
The sponsor is the Louvre. The artist is the esteemed French cartoonist Bernar Yslaire. The writer is Jean-Claude Carrière, the favorite collaborator of Luis Buñuel; he wrote the screenplays for “Belle de Jour,” “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” and “That Obscure Object of Desire,” among others.
 
But still…a graphic novel?
 
If you’re Old School like me, you haven’t jumped into this craze. At best, you think it’s a good idea for wired kids who grew up on comics and don’t have the attention span for real books. But for adults, a reasonable response to graphic novels would be: well….why?

“The Sky Over The Louvre” provokes a different response. Interest, for one. Understanding — even mastery — of a fascinating historical/art episode, for another. A powerful and enjoyable esthetic experience, for a third. And then, just to be shallow, there’s the cool factor — on a coffee table, this book makes you look good.
Was I self-conscious reading this book? Not once.
 
Did I get a better sense of David and Robespierre? Yes, and quickly.
 
Was I grateful for the art history lesson? Yes, and also for the way the paintings in this book are accurately copied and for two pages of artistic references.
More smart, beautiful hardcover comic books for grownups, please.”

Jesse Kornbluth, Head Butler. and picked up by the Huffington Post.

YES!YES! This is what we live for here! Another convert to our art form!

Makes my day. Keeps me going as I have for *gasp* 35 years.

MoCCA show on Will Eisner

A belated blog post on going to the opening of the exhibit MoCCA has up on Will Eisner’s work. Amazing how the museum can put up so much in a relatively small space. There’s a wealth of gorgeous originals from full color paintings to comics pages in B&W by him that are awesome.

Also very interesting are the many comics pages famous artists contributed to the exhibit as well which were tributes to Eisner. From Spiegelman to an amazing piece by Neal Adams which must have taken him a coupla years, has a cast of thousands, each face a famous figure of the day.

My compliments to Danny Fingeroth and Denis Kitchen, the curators, for a job very well done. Impressive.

It brought back memories which I shared with a few at the opening of our working with Will. Always very outgoing and warm. It’s a cherished memory to have gone to visit him at his studio/office in Florida, to have met and gone out with him and his wife Ann. An inspiring leader for our industry and yet always very easy to approach.

Anyway, if you’re in NY, check this out.

Dinosaurs Across America go interactive!

I am proud to announce that our Dinosaurs Across America by Phil Yeh may have become the FIRST fully interactive graphic novel!

This book has been a successful fun tool for kids to learn about US Geography for years as a comic book Phil sold at his numerous appearances around schools and libraries across the country advocating for literacy through comics. We then did with him the full color graphic novel which has gone to press 3 times with over 15,000 sold. It’s a Library Media Connection Editor’s Choice and has received many great reviews.

We’re all pretty ignorant when it comes to geography, these comics have made it easy and fun for kids to learn the facts about all 50 states.

And now, thanks to Koobits, an interactive book developer, it comes to your iPad  screen as well as an e-book for PC. Here is a presentation along with video of what it looks like.

This is the just the first of a series of announcements we’ll be making this year that set NBM on a new course. Stay tuned!

Our books through June.

A quick note to say that we’ve now got our planned books through June up on the site in Coming Up, laid out month by month for you to take a sneak preview of!

We’ve just added April through June of what we’ve got planned which includes an irresistible new nefarious strip Kinky & Cosy we’ll be previewing regularly on our home page soon and with Rick Geary’s next book in his Murder Series, a fascinating take on Sacco & Vanzetti, we’ll be starting up a whole new way of publishing that will mix E-book same date release and a very limited direct-only collector’s edition… More about that later…

Thank you Marc Mason!

… For a great job helping us on our publicity for a couple of years. As he goes back to school to tweak his career, he alas does not have the time for us anymore, so now we’ve consolidated all our publicity under the energetic Stefan Blitz who’s been taking care of our social media side. Welcome, Stefan, we hope to have a fruitful and long relationship!

And again, thanks, Marc, all the best to you!

Varied response on Miss Don’t Touch Me 2

I said it myself in the release for this book: after reading it, I was about to strangle Blanche for her block-headed naivete, this read can be frustrating.

So some are disappointed, some even hate it and some like the reviewer at Gutter Geek (on The Comics Journal site) explains why this second tome of Blanche’s adventures might be just as good:

“Many of the reviews I have seen of this installment have implied (or shouted) disappointment in the book, complaining of its irresolution, its ambivalence about all of its characters, including its purported heroine (who breaks the reader’s heart by proving not only all-too-human, but even less than human at the crucial moment),   In truth, I found this second volume of Miss Don’t Touch Me more satisfying precisely because it was less generic, less formulaic, less premised on plug-and-play characters.
If the first Miss Don’t Touch Me was clearly meant to be a one-shot, this second volume brings us deep into a world of early 20th-century Paris and into a cast of characters whose messy adventures promise no easy resolutions but many fascinating and troubling adventures in the years to come. If it turns out that we are left here (and I don’t want to give away too much by spelling out in any detail where it is, in fact, that we are left at book’s end) I will surely have reason to revise my impression of the volume. But assuming there are Miss Pas Touche volumes still to come, I am more than ready to accept the uncertainties of this strange and special album.”

What do you think?

Back from Frankfurt with some new exciting news

Got back yesterday. In this direction, the jetlag is a lot better to deal with, you just stay up longer the day you return. Hey, even managed to go see The Social Network with my daughter Sylvia in town on mid-semester break. An ironic movie: an anti-social person made the world’s most popular social network.
Anyway, Frankfurt was fun and productive, with fewer appointments than last year but still: I can tell you we’ve got a new David B lined up where we’re going to take a quite different approach to how we present it than what we’ve been doing. Also the next Louvre book will look quite different! Basically, we’re seeing we don’t need to be married to the 6×9 format as much as we were so we’re going to open things up!
Also, we’re seeing a need for our books to reflect what we publish: beautiful quality comics you want to have physically and keep proudly in your library. For those who’d rather not spend so much, we’ll be multiplying our efforts on the E-book side.
In the other direction, The Broadcast and Networked got a good reception from foreign pubs so some sales look likely.
And as for Papercutz: the big news is we just signed for GARFIELD! New comics based on the new show on Cartoon Network.