Week in reviews

Joe & Azat in the Smithsonian?

Indeed, a nice review of Jesse Lonergan’s Joe & Azat at the Smithsonian site:

“Joe’s best guide is local Azat, “the computer expert at the education department” – never mind that the entire department has but one computer. Azat, “the greatest dreamer [Joe] ever met” is also his best friend in Turkmenistan. Azat makes sure Joe gets his stolen passport back, tastes the best cooking (including his mother’s manty), meets a few of the local girls (at least one of whom Joe should marry), and enjoys every wedding with or without an invitation. In return, Joe puts up with Azat’s bully-of-an-older brother, listens to Azat’s nonsensical schemes to get rich, commiserates with Azat’s yearning for a girl he can’t have, and patiently tries to answer one absurd question after another.”

Publishers Weekly had six critics round up the best of 2009 and our Story of O and Year of Loving Dangerously made the list. Also, Augie De Bliek, Jr. at Comic Book Resources puts Trondheim’s Little Nothings 2 in the top of 2009.

Speaking of CBR, Jason Sacks there says of Royo’s newly remastered collection Malefic: “You can’t ask for a more beautifully produced collection of fantasy art than Malefic.”   And Andrew “Capt. Comics” Smith , syndicated in many papers through Scripps says of it:

“A very beautiful book, both in format and content. Royo is an absolute master of his craft, creating incredibly gorgeous and expressive women (and sometimes men), and switching easily from fantasy to sci-fi to horror.”

JOE & AZAT visit Publishers Weekly and RALL on Booklist

Ted Rall and Pablo Callejo’s The Year of Loving Dangerously just keeps getting the accolades, the latest from Booklist:

“He was more interested in well-stocked refrigerators than impending sexual adventures. Realistically illustrated in soft colors by Callejo, of Bluesman (2004–06) fame, and maximally unbuttoned in some places, Rall’s sympathetic account of his life on the edge encourages identifying with a situation so desperate that his outrageous choices seem necessary.”

And Publishers Weekly thought Jesse Lonergan’s Joe & Azat equally charming:

“Lonergan follows his graphic novel, Flower & Fade, with this charming and engrossing study of a friendship that transcends cultural borders. A simply illustrated charmer that grips readers from its opening pages and remains on the mind well after it has been read and absorbed.”

CBR’s Robot 6 On Joe & Azat and the latest Dungeon

On Dungeon Early Years 2:

“The Dungeon series remains a thrilling, sharp read, in this case thanks largely in part to Blain’s stunning art work. Certainly this isn’t a good jumping-on point for newcomers, but it’s well worth getting through the series to arrive at this point. You’ll be surprised where the journey takes you.”

and on Joe & Azat:

“An entertaining book, mainly due to Lonergan’s deft characterizations, both with Azat and his extended family, especially his abusive drunkard of a brother. Lonergan may be vague on a number of details, but the dialogue nevertheless rings true. The fact that it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome helps too. It gets in, makes its points and leaves. I wish more comics would follow that example.”

So says Chris Mautner on Comic Book Resource’s Robot 6.

Sequential Tart on Joe & Azat + the National Post

“The art of Joe and Azat is deceptively simple. Black and white images, mostly of faces and places, do an adept job of telling the story. On the surface it represents the simple way of life for the people of Turkmenistan. However, when you study the images in adjunct with the text, the complexity of this style becomes apparent. Longerman utilizes juxtaposition to explore perception and reality. People would like things to go one way, but the reality is that they must go another. For example, the Peace Corps administrators would like for Joe to follow the rules given to him for navigating Turkmenistan, but the reality is that he would never survive if he did.

If you like graphic novels with strong characterization and crisp art, determined to open your eyes and your heart, definitely grab a copy of Joe and Azat.”

Sequential Tart, giving it an 8 out of 10.

And one of Canada’s main papers, the National Post, picked up the piece on this book that ran in the Wall Street Journal.

Story of O, Joe & Azat and Things Undone news

First one out of the gate, the site Comics Waiting Room‘s Avril Brown saying this:

“From the very first page it is apparent why THE STORY OF O is recognized as Crepax’s finest work. The fine, sharp pencils turn each panel into a vintage etching. Some are fractured panels, giving the effect of seeing these sexual acts in a cracked mirror, and others are overlapping, yet all are uniquely visceral and stimulating. This is not a story of men abusing women or women feeling weak, this is a story of willful submission. O makes her choice and revels in it, even introducing other women to this world.”

Boston’s Weekly Dig calls Joe & Azat by Jesse Lonergan “a damn cool book”, the reviewer admits to this being her first graphic novel and loving it. Cute.

And for Things Undone:

White’s humor is pretty lighthearted, considering the subject matter, darkening only until the end when Rick acquires a handgun and contemplates suicide. It’s tough to get too down, however, by a book whose every page is colored in pumpkin-orange. “—Rod Lott of Bookgasm

Reactions to Joe & Azat

Jesse Lonergan’s latest, JOE & AZAT is a fun discovery for reviewers:

Andrew ‘Capt. Comics’ Smith of Scripps Howard News service thought:

“One almost wants to meet Azat, the eternally optimistic and enthusiastic Turkmen with an idealized view of America, plus grandiose dreams of business success and romantic love. Joe knows that Azat’s ambitions are preposterous, but Azat’s enthusiasm is infectious and, more importantly, he proves to be a true friend. In addition to the personal narrative, “Joe and Azat” serves as something of a travelogue, a growing segment in graphic novels. Lonergan’s art is cartoony but effective. “Joe and Azat” is a quick read, and a pleasant diversion. Who knows? Maybe by the end you’ll want to go to Turkmenistan.”

Also:

“Bombarded with naïve questions concerning American customs from curious locals, overcharged for toothpaste at the village bazaar and constantly in danger of being forced into bribing someone, Joe is surviving by following the basic rules of Turkmenistan. When Joe accidentally breaks the most important rule of all (Never lose your passport), an acquaintance named Azat lends a helping hand and becomes his best friend. Often comical and at times achingly heartfelt, JOE AND AZAT is the tale of two men from different corners of the world, both physically and culturally, who form a connection guaranteed to endure whether or not they ever see each other again. Lonergan’s words are like his artwork: devoid of unnecessary flotsam and instead cut directly to the meat of the emotional material.”

Comics Waiting Room

Ted RALL and Jesse LONERGAN PREMIERE BOOKS AT SPX

Here’s what you’ll find at NBM’s tables at SPX:
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come meet Ted Rall and Jesse Lonergan as well as Greg Houston at SPX the weekend of 9/26-27 in Bethesda at SPX as they premiere their latest!

Ted RALL will premiere, weeks ahead of in-store publication, THE YEAR OF LOVING DANGEROUSLY, fully painted by Pablo (Bluesman) Callejo, about a year where he was about as down and out as one can be and his original survival story…
Jesse LONERGAN will premiere JOE & AZAT, fresh off the press, based on his Peace Corps experience, a very entertaining wild ride!
Greg HOUSTON will be on hand to show pages of his very soon to come totally outrageous VATICAN HUSTLE.
And these guys will have a number of our recent books besides theirs to sell.
So if you’re coming to SPX, one of the best indie comics shows around, make sure to stop by and say Hi to our guys!

September: Joe & Azat and Eurotica brings back out The Story of O

In September, as solicited for presently in comics shops, NBM presents Jesse (Flower & Fade) Lonergan’s next GN:

JOE & AZAT
Jesse LONERGAN
Joe is an American in the strange land of Turkmenistan who finds a good friend in Azat, a Turkmen dreamer whose optimism knows no bounds. With tales of doomed desert cab rides, nights of endless vodka shots, unlikely Turkmen business schemes, and secret girlfriends, Lonergan captures not only the bizarreness of living in a country where the president for life launches copies of his poetry books into space, outlaws gold teeth and renames the months and days, but also reveals that there is hope in seemingly hopeless situations. Based loosely on Lonergan’s Peace Corps experience in the former Soviet republic.
6×9, 104 pp., B&W trade pb.: $10.95, ISBN 978-1-56163-570-2

Jesse’s been blogging regularly about this book and other musings. This is an entertaining travelog of sorts, a great bit of escape into the wilds of the world (see the preview pages). If you’ve missed his Flower & Fade, check it out. It’s about a relationship that comes and goes. Sounds run of the mill, right? Well, it’s how Jesse handles it that’s, once again, quite entertaining and different. See the previews.

Also of note this September is Eurotica bringing back out the long out of print classic The Story of O as adapted to comics by erotic comics master Guido Crepax. We started Eurotica back in the late eighties with this great masterpiece of bondage and sold tens of thousands of copies in a few volumes over the years. But this time we’re doing it as an omnibus, as they like to call ’em now, and a handsome clothbound edition as we did for First Time.

With all the bunk readily available in adult on the net, Eurotica continues to provide something worth actually keeping on your shelf:

THE STORY OF O
Pauline REAGE • Guido CREPAX
The classic is back! Pauline Reage’s classic of submission and bondage shocked the world when it came out in the fifties. The great Italian erotic comics artist Crepax then adapted it into comics in the mid seventies. Eurotica started with this book and sold tens of thousands of copies in a multi-volume edition. The story of a beautiful Parisian fashion photographer who, out of love for her man, is willingly blindfolded, chained, whipped, branded, pierced, and taken by many men in all ways, O is one of the all-time great classics of erotic literature and Crepax’ adaptation stands equally as one the great classics of erotic comics. Out of print for some years, it is now brought back in a beautiful, library-worthy omnibus edition with gold stamped jacket and cloth.
8 1/2 x 11, 176pp., B&W jacketed hardcover, $24.95,
ISBN 978-1-56163-573-3

See more including preview pages (go to Coming Up, you must be over 18)

Meet our authors at MoCCA

If you’re in NY this weekend, come meet us and some of our authors who will be handing out and signing previews at the MoCCA Fest.

Our guests will include Neil Kleid (Brownsville) and Nicolas Cinquegrani of the forthcoming The Big Kahn who will be signing a special MoCCA preview book. We’ll also have Jesse Lonergan (Flower & Fade) down from New England signing a preview of his Joe & Azat. Hey, they’re free! Come say hi.

Besides that, we’ll have the premier of the beautiful Bringing Up Father collection! Advance copies a few weeks before they become generally available.

And we just might have the very first copies of Rick Geary’s Famous Players, his newest Treasury of XXth Century Murder. We’ll also have a smattering of recent books of ours including some from our sister co. Papercutz with Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Bionicle, etc…

Here’s the schedule of appearances:

SATURDAY

Nicolas Cinquegrani: 2 to 4PM

Jesse Lonergan: 11 to noon, 1-3, 5-6PM

SUNDAY

Neil Kleid & Nicolas Cinquegrani: 11:30-1PM, Kleid alone: 3:30 to 5

Jesse Lonergan: 1-3:30

A bit about Joe & Azat:

Joe is an American in the strange land of Turkmenistan who finds a good friend in Azat, a Turkmen dreamer whose optimism knows no bounds. With tales of doomed desert cab rides, nights of endless vodka shots, unlikely Turkmen business schemes, and secret girlfriends, Lonergan captures not only the bizarreness of living in a country where the president for life launches copies of his poetry books into space, outlaws gold teeth and renames the months and days, but also reveals that there is hope in seemingly hopeless situations. Based loosely on Lonergan’s Peace Corps experience in the former Soviet republic.

See ya there!