November 20, 2014 by Jeff Whitman
Arthur de Pins’ Zombillenium, Volume 1: Gretchen has made the 2015 Maverick Graphic Novels List, by the Texas Library Association. Zombillenium is in the Grades 9-12 (high school) category among other great graphic novels like Batman, by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo (DC Comics), Mariko and Jillian Tamaki’s This One Summer (First Second) , and March Book One by John Lewis (Top Shelf) and many more. This category has the most selections with 23 graphic novels. The purpose of the list is to encourage students in grades 6-12 to explore a variety of current books. The list is intended for recreational reading, not to support a specific curriculum. Other nominations of note include Gene Luen Yang’s First Second set Boxers and Saints, Raina Telgemeier’s Sisters (Scholastic), and Paul Pope’s Battling Boy ( First Second). See the list here.
Zombillenium Vol. 1: Gretchen was called “fresh meat” for zombie fans by Publishers Weekly praising “its humor, clever pacing, and unique approach to the monster narrative.” Comics Waiting Room said it was “a hoot from start to finish”. It also was A Young Adult Library Services Association 2014 Great Graphic Novel for Teens.
Zombillenium Vol. 2: Human Resources, released over the summer, is “fiendishly delightful, twisted, surprising, and even a little tragic” according to the Midwest Book Review.
Zombillenium Vol. 3: Control Freaks is coming August 2015. Plenty of time to catch up on this hauntingly different series!
November 19, 2014 by Jeff Whitman
GHETTO BROTHER: Warrior to Peacemaker, coming from NBM in April, was featured on NPR- National Public Radio. On November 7th, NPR’s Backstory radio show had a feature on reconciliation and its limits throughout history. They touched upon the historic peace treaty on Hoe Street, orchestrated by Benjy Melendez, which united the gangs. On the radio program, Melendez recalled his experiences and Julian Voloj, creator of Ghetto Brother, the graphic novel detailing the life and times of Melendez, credited the peace treaty, and the resulting safer New York streets, to leading the way for the hip hop movement. The segment on Benjy Melendez and his peacekeeping Ghetto Brothers gang, filled with a lot of facts and first-hand accounts, starts at the 35 minute mark. Listen to the podcast version here.
Ghetto Brother: Warrior to Peacemaker was created by Julian Voloj and Claudia Ahlering. The graphic novel comes out in April but has been on reviewer’s radars for the past two years. Ahlering’s art for the book was on display at the Columbia Barnard Kraft Center’s Jewish Art Salon, in New York City, last year. For previews and more visit our Ghetto Brothers webpage. To learn more about Melendez, check out this NY Daily News article.
Review Round-Up: ALL STAR, DOG BUTTS AND LOVE, ZOMBILLENIUM, “genuinely original and very entertaining”
November 14, 2014 by Stefan Blitz
Here’s what critics have been saying about our releases:
All Star by Jesse Lonergan
Nominated for the 2015 YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
“I really enjoy the clean and simple lines of All Star’s art. Lonergan doesn’t spend time showing off how great he is by taking attention away from the story. Every line, every shadow, and every face servers a purpose and that purpose is to tell a story. And, the story is a thing of beauty.”
Dog Butts and Love. And Stuff Like That. And Cats. Cartoons by Jim Benton
“The pieces in question range from single-panel gags to short sequential pieces, but the thing they share in common is the level of intelligence and cleverness on display. He is consistently darkly funny, often touching a chord with a tough truth at the heart of the cartoon…It’s a damn-near perfect encapsulation of the entitlement generation. The whole book is worth your time.”
“The humor is a mix of subtle and in your face, is frequently laugh out loud funny and often surprising.”
“It was marvelously entertaining, because Benton is obviously insane, or insanely creative…genuinely original and very entertaining, which was a welcome surprise.”
Zombillenium, vol.2 Human Resources by Arthur De Pins
“Fiendishly delightful, twisted, surprising, and even a little tragic.”
“I love this series! A comedy paranormal spoof with a serious plot makes it total fun!”
November 13, 2014 by Stefan Blitz
Hoping to secure a future for his children, an aging Alaskan crime boss looks to retire and divide his empire amongst his three heirs. But when his idealistic son refuses the inheritance, the old man disowns him. This turns out to be a fatal mistake when he sees his cold-blooded daughters use their new-found power and influence against him. Inspired by the classic play King Lear, Family Ties is The Godfather mashed up with Shakespearean tragedy in this epic tale of betrayal and loss.
Here’s what the critics are saying:
“This lovingly-crafted update of a Shakespeare classic is worth the read.”
“The real star of this production is Tuazon, whose fragile linework competes bold swaths of inky grays to create just the right atmosphere for this murky tale of hubris and denial.”
“What we have in Family Ties is a story that leaves you feeling raw and uncomfortable, wondering if perhaps your own relationships are similarly problematic or unresolved…We may not have grown up in a malfunctioning crime family, but we have all had our shares of brokenness.”
“A very solid read…worth checking out.”
“Family Ties is mostly a visual feast (or at least a good meal) though doesn’t quite sound as rich. But then nothing sounds as rich as Shakespeare.”
– Comics Bulletin
“Murder, betrayal, and revenge abound in this dark and violent parable, highly recommended especially for connoisseurs of Shakespearean drama and gritty crime stories alike.”
November 12, 2014 by Jeff Whitman
We are finishing up the translation of Lulu Anew by Etienne Davodeau and I have to say, it is a gripping book. As the pages pass by my desk, this familial drama unfolds and I can’t wait to find out what happens! It’s a mystery, a romance, a tale of empowerment and weakness all rolled into one. Our NBM omnibus will collect both volumes of the French work. I just finished looking over Volume 1 and it reminds me a bit of Kate Chopin’s classic novel “The Awakening” mixed with a bit of “Death of a Salesman” or a Tennessee Williams play.
Comparing our translation to the original French is interesting as you get a feel for their writing style and how they fill the word balloons. We decide minute details as to whether a person uses “huh”, “eh”, or “right” to validate their question and if a 16 year old girl would chose this word over that. But still, I get carried away in the story.
The story is told during a gathering of friends and family of Lulu, a mother and wife who decided to leave her life behind, if only for a few days. There is tragedy and triumph in how the family (and close friends) cope and grieve and deal with Lulu’s need for a break. In France, the graphic novel, which sold 200,000 copies, even inspired a major motion picture. Lulu femme nue, with Karin Viard in the title role, was released early this year.
Lulu Anew will be out in March. We will keep you updated when new information becomes available. For now, check out the preview pages here.
November 12, 2014 by Stefan Blitz
NBM’s ComicsLit imprint has been publishing the remarkable series of graphic novels commissioned by the Louvre calling upon different prominent artists to make up a story around the fabled museum.
Here are some recent reviews:
Glacial Period by Nicolas De Crecy
“The author seems to be asking: what is art? Is there some art that is universally accepted and some culturally defined? Does art have any intrinsic value? There is some farce inside, the book does not take itself too seriously.”
“The book…fits together with the dreamlike logic and sense of the absurd de Crecy brings to everything he does. It’s preposterous, but feels right somehow.”
“While off to a slow start, this book ends on a fascinating, if absurd, note. The art has a nice amount of detail, combined with soft lines and colors.”
“Of the Louvre books NBM has published… this seemed to me to be the best, working perfectly well as a story in its own right while also being about the museum and the works it contains.”
– Robot 6
Phantoms of The Louvre by Enki Bilal
“Look, I could spend a lot of breath telling you how amazing this stuff is, but honestly: why? It’s Enki-friggin’-Bilal drawing and writing about the greatest museum on Earth! What the hell else do you want from comics? Unless your taste resides solely in your mouth, you need this like you need oxygen.”
“This would be a must for folks who are already fans of Enki Bilal, and…art lovers (will) appreciate some extra depth and meaning to works of art in an unusual way.”
“Now, some purists will resent a modern artist like Bilal using classic works as, essentially, his canvas. To which I say: Phooey. Bilal is doing what artists have always done, which is to stand on the shoulders of giants to push forward into the new and unknown. And when it results in beautiful work like this, I can’t entertain the argument.”
“It is gorgeous — in design, in recording select pieces of the Louvre’s collection, in Bilal’s super-imposition of ghosts upon them — and a supremely interesting springboard to watch a creator with Bilal’s imagination and abilities dive off of repeatedly.”
– Robot 6
“Bilal’s art proves suitably unsettling: this is not a “touristy” consideration of fine art masterworks, but the work of a politically engaged artist. Each painting catches the feel of the original work while adding its own ironic spin, resulting in the most unique and thought-provoking “Louvre Edition” to date.”
The Sky Over the Louvre by Bernar Yslaire & Jean-Claude Carreire
“This is a strange tale that becomes stranger and stranger… This book is a wonderful resource for better appreciating the forces at play just as the Louvre was getting under way.”
November 11, 2014 by Stefan Blitz
From Patrick Atangan, the author of the Yellow Jar and Silk Tapestry comes Invincible Days, a collection of short stories forms a singular narrative that reveals the tiny moments when you realize you are at the precious end-days of youth. Atangan creates an intricate mosaic from his own childhood memories as well as those gathered from friends and family. Bittersweet, joyful and reflective, these are the type of marking moments that best define us as adults.
Be sure to check out his interview with Broken Frontier and here’s what the critics are saying:
“An elegant and unexpectedly somber work that successfully transforms deeply personal moments into a meaningful exploration of the universal feelings of coming-of-age.”
“The art in this book is absolutely awesome…Invincible Days is amazing!”
“Atangan’s unflinching gaze and attention to emotional detail afford him an acute sensitivity to the highs and lows of life…Invincible Days is a testament to the refinement of Atangan’s skills as an artist and his fearlessness as a storyteller.”
“While many of the stories here are familiar, the unusual presentation forces readers to take a step back from their universality”
– Publisher’s Weekly
“Invincible Days” is a powerful read and readers should spontaneously experience their emotions as they read without any spoilers.
“Nostalgic to anyone who remembers the complexities of being a child.”
November 10, 2014 by Stefan Blitz
From Hubert & Kerascoet, the team behind Miss Don’t Touch Me, comes Beauty, an engrossing tale for grown-ups on the nature of beauty, both fascinating and corrupting.
When Coddie unintentionally delivers a fairy from a spell that held her prisoner, she does not realize how poisoned the wish is she gets in return. From repulsive and stinking of fish she becomes perceived as magnetically beautiful, which does not help her in her village. A young local lord saves her but soon it becomes apparent her destiny may be far greater…
Here’s what people are saying…
“Beautifully illustrated with Kerascoët’s magical, dreamy, richly coloured art, Beauty is set to be one of 2014’s comic highlights.”
“Kerascoet’s work on this book is a spectacle of comics achievement I’m betting I will not see again for a long time.”
“Kerascoët and writer/colorist Hubert deliver an epic, if cynical, graphic novel meditating on the pettiness of human (and fairy) nature, and how lust and jealousy make the world go round.”
– Robot 6
And a review for their previous book, Miss Don’t Touch Me.
“Set in the Paris of the 1930s, alternating between the glitzy and the very gritty, this dark and disturbing tale is both a fantastic noir and a tense exploration of various societal themes like class, inequality, political corruption, and most of all the staggering depravity of the elite. Inspired by racy classics like The Story of O, but somehow much more readable, this smart coming-of-age shocker is irresistible.”
– Publisher’s Weekly STARRED REVIEW
November 4, 2014 by Margreet de Heer
My comic book about Religion (yet to be published in the U.S., hopefully next year) has just been released in South Korea! It’s really strange to see my pictures combined with (for me) illegible signs – and even stranger (but very nice-strange) to find that people so far away are not only reading the book, but actually twittering about it!
Here are the tweets I found:
This cover is so different from the original one, but I do like it. I drew the front illustration especially for the Korean edition. The title translates to something like “Religion is a personal affair”.
This is a bit about the history of Hinduism:
And here’s the sedar table, at the heart of Judaism:
This is about meditation, in the chapter about Buddhism:
It’s a very gratifying thought that people in a country so far away, with such a different cultural background, seem to appreciate the outlook on religion of a Dutch protestant Christian-raised, Buddhism-interested, Hinduism-infatuated, Judaism-appreciating, Islam-valuing girl like me!
Publisher Bulkwang has published all of my three books in the last year! The cooperation over such a distance and language barrier was managed smoothly by Amo Agency. I’m very proud of this!
This book will probably be published in the U.S. with the title Religion: a Discovery in Comics.
November 4, 2014 by Jim Benton