December 13, 2012 by Dara Naraghi
Hi, Dara Naraghi here, author of the recently announced Persia Blues graphic novel series, coming your way in 2013 from the fine folks here at NBM.
A brief introduction: I was born in Iran, back before the Islamic Revolution. My family lived there through the revolt, the subsequent new regime, and the beginning of the Iran-Iraq war. Seeking a better life for us, my parents were eventually able to move us to the US, where I went to high school and college. I currently work as a project manager in the IT field, but comics and sequential art have always been my first love. Growing up in Iran, we were exposed to some American comics, especially the well-known superheroes like Batman and Superman. However, it was the translated European graphic albums that reigned supreme, with the most popular, of course, being Herge’s Tin Tin series. So from a very young age, comics were baked into my DNA.
During college, I began dabbling in writing on the side, and even got involved with a fly-by-night indie comics publisher operating out of the west coast. Well, more like the publisher’s spare bedroom, which happened to be in an apartment in a city on the West coast. That experience soured me on the business side of comics for a while, and I lost interest in creating comics, though I still remained a fan of the medium. It wasn’t until about a dozen years ago that I met some similar minded creators in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio, that I started to become serious about writing again. We ended up calling ourselves the PANEL Collective, and have been creating and self-publishing small press comix for over 10 years now.
But that’s a story for another post.
However, I will mention that it was through PANEL that I met and befriended the artist that would eventually team up with me on Persia Blues. That’s a story for another post as well, but it wouldn’t be fair of me to blabber on without at least giving you a taste of Brent Bowman’s fantastic work. So here it is, a double-page splash from our book, that distills a lot of the characters and settings of the Persian Empire’s history and mythology into one image, a sort of roadmap for at least half of the series:
OK, so lots to talk about in future blog posts, but before I go, I do want to mention one last thing: ‘m currently running a Kickstarter campaign to help compensate Brent for all his work on the book. As of this writing, we only have 7 days left. We’re offering a variety of unique and cool incentives, including Persian cusine recipes and a chance to appear in the book. So please click on the image below and take a few minutes to check everything out.
Thanks, and if you like what you see, please consider posting the link on Facebook or sending it to your friends. Word of mouth is the best way to help us get more eyes on the project.
Next: more stories, more art
December 12, 2012 by NBM
All this time still after Sandy, we have yet to see our phones back in service but at least through a temporary wireless contraption you can reach us if you must at 212 643 5408 (not our regular number 5407 which remains mired in repairs).
December 11, 2012 by Margreet de Heer
It’s that time of year again when the age-old philosophical question pops up: “Have we been naughty or nice…?” Is there no gray area? Can we truly define Good and Bad? No matter, an old saint in a white beard will decide for us! All we can do is sit back and wait…
Here in Holland, the waiting is over already – Sint Nicolaas has delivered his verdict and is by now back in Spain, where he lives. I’m happy to say that I seem to have been mostly Good last year, since I got my presents (including the complete Game of Thrones-box, a 5000-page read which will keep me out of trouble for much of the next year).
The Dutch are in that awkward in-between stage that lasts from 5 December to Christmas – a festive period in which a lot has to be wrapped up at work, parties to be planned, food to be cooked. It’s also that awkward atmosphere that breathes both spiritual introspection and unabashed greediness.
In 1999 I summed it up in this cartoon about the holidays:
As a comic artist for several magazines, I usually make the Sint- and Christmas-themed comics somewhere at the end of Summer. By December I’ve forgotten about them. So it was real fun to rediscover these “oldies” about the naughty neighborkids Nino and Nena, that I made around 2006 and 2007 – I wrote the scenarios and the art was done by my talented Belgian colleague Floris De Smedt:
The reference to a “noodle-incident” is a nod to my favorite comic series Calvin & Hobbes, in which it is hinted at several times but never disclosed. It must have been gruesome and punishable, though.
A year later, Nino and Nena have realized that the punishment of being taken to Spain might actually be a desirable thing, and they conspire to get on the naughty-list:
Nino & Nena was one of my favorite comics that I wrote for others. Floris De Smedt is a master at drawing such playful and believable characters and backgrounds. He really understood where I was going with the scripts and almost always added little jokes of himself in the visuals. He has done lots more, check out his wonderful comics on his site, mrfart.be.
And here’s another naughty cartoon from my shady past (2008), just because I can:
Enjoy the holidays!
December 10, 2012 by Stefan Blitz
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.
December 6, 2012 by Terry
Dave Brubeck just passed away. I grew up with his music. My Dad had that popular album including his offbeat waltzy Take Five. Simple genius that, and same for many other pieces he composed. I heard them often from a tender age all the way into my teens when it primed me for such heavier discoveries of the day (the 70′s) as The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report or Return To Forever. All experimented heavily with exotic time signatures just as Brubeck loved to do.
Besides my fascination for comics and what I saw as its still mostly untapped potential at the time, another devotion I had was to jazz and those crazy time signatures were one heck of a lot of fun to unlock as a drummer.
Brubeck expanded the art of Jazz and music AND was able to sell a lot of albums to a lot of people.
You gotta respect that.
December 5, 2012 by Stefan Blitz
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!
December 5, 2012 by NBM
Take a look at our Coming Up section and you’ll see we’ve recently put up all books we’ve got planned through June.
Two things of note on that:
Persia Blues, a fascinating exploration into the experience of a young woman expatriate from Iran and her search for identity here, with her past and her country’s past… This, by the way is going through fundraising on Kickstarter right now, more about that later.
November 29, 2012 by Margreet de Heer
Somehow this “Socratic discussion”, that I use as an example in my book Philosophy: a Discovery in Comics, seems to be a recurring event in my life…:
November 28, 2012 by NBM
Comixology today has posted their next title in our Eurotica imprint, Guido Crepax’ famous adaptation of Pauline Reage’s THE STORY OF O, a classic of submission and bondage.
Check it out!
Our print book has been out of stock, we will go back to press at some point. So right now, this is how you can get it!
November 28, 2012 by Steve Weiner
Comics historians can point to the antecedents of the graphic novel when looking for clues as to how the breakthrough to the mainstream happened. They can point back as far the early 1960s when Little Brown brought Tintin to these shores, and early graphic novels published by NBM in the 1970s, Gil Kane’s books His Name is Savage & Blackmark, and Will Eisner’s, A Contract with God to name a few. These were all critical. However, 1986 was the year that the real transformation began, with Batman: the Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen & Maus. Dark Knight & Watchmen made a lot of noise & promoted the idea that comics were changing, but Maus did more than that. Maus was such powerful reading that general readers didn’t look at it as a comic book or a graphic novel (the term hadn’t stuck yet) but as a new kind of reading experience. Maus almost single handedly showed the world outside comics that graphic novels could relate trans formative reading experiences. Maus actually became a staple of high school curriculum.
Unfortunately, no books of the magnitude of Maus followed for several years, but by the late 1990s, a handful of graphic novels had surfaced in the mainstream, including, Dan Clowes’ Ghost World, Joe Sacco’s Palestine, Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan, Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics, and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman graphic novel series. All these books showed that mainstream readers had more in common with comic book readers than they might have thought, & the rest, as they say, is history.
To learn more about the history of the graphic novel, read my book, Faster than a Speeding Bullet: the Rise of the Graphic Novel, available now.