Review Round-Up: BEAUTY, TWILIGHT: THE END OF DUNGEON & More!

February 6, 2015 by  
Filed under Reviews

DUNGEON: Twilight Vol. 4: High Septentrion & The End of Dungeon

 

 

“As usual, Dungeon is freaking awesome. It’s a story that you can jump into in the middle of and get a gander at what’s happening. You do not need to know any of the inside jokes. The characters are fun. Its non-stop action. What more can you ask for?”

Sequential Tart

“This graphic-novel series, originally satire, finishes as a rounded-out, stand-alone story that is more than the sum of its jokes. This volume is a strong recommendation to current fans, and the series represents a good next step for Adventure Time devotees looking for something equally snappy, but more adult.”

Foreword Reviews

BEAUTY

 

 

Beauty is rather long and took quite a while to finish but the reader will find it rewarding. Hubert explores the underlying tone of desire well with his writing and how beauty can be a curse sometimes.”

Parka Blogs

“It reveals of the human condition is a horror story in its own right…This cautionary tale by the French writer Hubert is illustrated by “Kerascoet,” a husband-and-wife team of French cartoonists. They employ a style reminiscent of Japanese woodblocks and other art from that country’s rich illustrative tradition. This retro style is perfectly suited to a fairy tale – nothing modern would have worked as well – while the Asian influence lends an exotic, timeless touch to Western eyes.”

The Comics Round Table

“This beautiful, full-color edition showcases the artistic talents of Kerascoët. The combination of simple yet expressive figures against lush, painterly backgrounds is an exquisite example of European comic making. Collected into one volume and translated from the French by Johnson, Hubert’s work takes the fairy-tale trope and removes from it all the cheesecake Disneyness, giving the cautionary tale back its edge and teeth. This engrossing, subtly feminist story will have adult readers wanting to examine the underbelly of other traditional fairy stories.”

Booklist

 

MISS DON’T TOUCH ME

 

 

“Kerascoet employs… a retro pen-and-ink that with a hint of impressionism – the prevailing art style of the time. The style is strong enough to cover the emotional range of the book, which is significant, and light-hearted enough to carry the reader through the painful parts.”

The Comics Round Table

PHANTOMS OF THE LOUVRE

 

 

“Phantoms of the Louvre is the ultimate mixed media project, as Bilal reinvents the history of 22 iconic works of art, tying them to a fictional muse or character whose story intersects with that of the painting/sculpture in some way. These phantoms, in turn, are depicted haunting the work, uniting art and story visually for the reader.

While Bilal’s artwork is striking, it’s the accompanying stories that sell Phantoms of the Louvre…A melange of art, history, and innovation, Phantoms of the Louvre is curious and unexpected.”

San Francisco Book Review

 

BETTY BLUES

 

 

“The art was a really rough fun sketch style that was very appealing…Enjoyable.”

Not Yet Read

Review Round-Up: Arthur De Pins’ ZOMBILLENIUM V. 2: HUMAN RESOURCES

February 4, 2015 by  
Filed under Reviews

It’s a return to Zombillenium, the monster amusement park run by monsters. In this volume, Human Resources, things get particularly ugly when the park’s security is breached from two sides: activists and a very strange visitor, mom to two peculiar sons the head of the park seems to remember from somewhere…

“Fun and comical and definitely worth a read.”

Not Yet Read

“The first volume surprised not only in its inventiveness, but in avoiding generic storylines and familiar scenarios…Human Resources, remarkably, does the same…courtesy of French artist and animator Arthur de Pins, who illustrated the book entirely in Adobe Illustrator. His work is Disney clean, direct and – despite the subject matter – delightful. There’s never any lag, as the art carries you breathlessly forward in a narrative that’s always charging toward the next plot twist.”

The Comics Round Table

“The art is wonderful with an excellent use of color and expressions that are just exaggerated enough to kick it into the cartoony realm. ”

Sequential Tart

“DePins artwork…is quite good. It’s heavily digital, but full of unique verve, making it rather eye catching, particularly the covers.”

Coverless Reviews

Review Round-Up: Pascal Rabaté’s STREET VIEW

February 2, 2015 by  
Filed under Reviews

 

A visually incomparable treat and a brilliant homage to Hitchcock’s Rear Window, Street View is an unusual accordion book which opens in two directions, one direction providing a look at a street scene as it evolves during the day and the other, a parallel view of the same street at night.

Street View is a radical departure from the narrative form. First, there are no words. Second, it has an unusual format. Pages are bound between two hard covers with no spine. A series of connected foldouts delivers a continuous visual story in 20 scenes…Pascal Rabate’ has transformed our reading experience into a treasure hunt.”

NY Journal of Books

“What’s interesting is the play with time. You get to see what happens on the street and characters as time passes from morning to the evening and nighttime. Ten scenes happen from the morning and ten at night. You can follow the activity in each apartment, or follow what a character is doing. There are mundane moments like a lady who watches TV all day, and more cheeky moments between couples…an interesting comic worth checking out.”

Parka Blogs

“A fascinating art object, a creative take on storytelling that uses format to drive the reader’s attention. It’s an accordion book, a set of painted double-page spreads between two cardboard boards that can be read through one way, showing daytime scenes, and then flipped over to see the evenings. Each sheds new light on the others…Street View is Where’s Waldo? for adults, a fascinating puzzle that rewards the attention paid to it.”

Comics Worth Reading

 

 

Review Round-Up: RICK GEARY’S A TREASURY OF VICTORIAN MURDER COMPENDIUM II

January 31, 2015 by  
Filed under Reviews

Collecting five (The Borden Tragedy, The Mystery of Mary Rogers, The Saga of the Bloody Benders, The Case of Madeleine Smith, The Murder of Abraham Lincoln) previously published volumes of Geary’s work, this compendium is a must have.

 

“The high quality that writer/artist Geary has maintained for his “Treasury of Victorian Murder” true crime series since its 1987 inception is easy to take for granted…Highly recommended for mature readers of graphic novels, mysteries history, and true crime; violent and disturbing content.”

Library Journal

“It’s a densely crafted volume showing Geary’s dedication to detail and his own sense of investigation into true stories of the strange and macabre. This is exactly the kind of book to cozy up to as winter sets in.”

–Bleeding Cool

“Geary meticulously researches each murder, and presents all the evidence to the reader in as objective a fashion as he can, in a faux-woodcut style that really could pass for the kind of illustrative artwork that preceded photography — if it wasn’t so much better. For one thing, there wasn’t much irony in those days, and Geary is forever arching an eyebrow artistically at the deadpan captions.  All of which serves the narrative, which is invariably gripping.”

The Indiana Gazette

“Each of these stories, although set long ago, involves elements we can identify with, whether the spreading of rumors or sensationalized journalism or the question of how much to trust our neighbors or the ruinous dedication of political groups to lost causes. ”

Comics Worth Reading

“All the stories are fascinating studies of human behavior in general, and of the peculiarities of Victorian life in particular.”

Sequential Tart

Review Round-Up: ALL STAR, DOG BUTTS AND LOVE, ZOMBILLENIUM, “genuinely original and very entertaining”

November 14, 2014 by  
Filed under Reviews

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.”

The Outhousers

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.”

Comics Waiting Room

“The humor is a mix of subtle and in your face, is frequently laugh out loud funny and often surprising.”

Pop Culture Guy

“It was marvelously entertaining, because Benton is obviously insane, or insanely creative…genuinely original and very entertaining, which was a welcome surprise.”

–  San Angelo Standard-Times

Zombillenium, vol.2 Human Resources by Arthur De Pins

“Fiendishly delightful, twisted, surprising, and even a little tragic.”

Midwest Book Review

“I love this series! A comedy paranormal spoof with a serious plot makes it total fun!”

It’s All Comic To Me 

Review Round-Up: FAMILY TIES – AN ALASKAN CRIME DRAMA, a “lovingly-crafted update”

November 13, 2014 by  
Filed under Reviews

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.”

Graphic Novel Reporter

“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.”

guttergeek

“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.”

Comics Alternative

“A very solid read…worth checking out.”

Things I Like

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.”

Midwest Book Review

Review Round-Up: THE LOUVRE COLLECTIONS, “beautiful work” and “gorgeous”

November 12, 2014 by  
Filed under Reviews

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.”

San Francisco Book Review / Another Universe

“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.”

–  San Angelo Standard-Times

“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.”

Sequential Tart

“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.”

Comics Waiting Room

“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.”

Sequential Tart

“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.”

–  San Angelo Standard-Times

“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.”

Seattle Post Intelligencer

 

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.”

Comics Grinder

Review Round-Up: Patrick Atangan’s INVINCIBLE DAYS, “a powerful read”

November 11, 2014 by  
Filed under NBM Blog

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.”

Booklist

“The art in this book is absolutely awesome…Invincible Days is amazing!”

Sequential Tart

“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.”

Broken Frontier

“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.

Comics Alternative

“Nostalgic to anyone who remembers the complexities of being a child.”

It’s All Comic To Me

Review Round-up: Hubert & Kerascoet’s BEAUTY, “A spectacle of comics achievement”

November 10, 2014 by  
Filed under Reviews

 

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.”

Publisher’s Weekly

“Kerascoet’s work on this book is a spectacle of comics achievement I’m betting I will not see again for a long time.”

Coverless Reviews

“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 http://www.publishersweekly.com/images/star3.gif STARRED REVIEW

Shakespeare Gets Mobbed Up In FAMILY TIES

August 22, 2014 by  
Filed under NBM Blog, Reviews

If there’s any doubt to the continuing influence and power of Shakespeare’s work, the Alaskan crime story would do little to sway that argument.  In Eric Hobbs and Noel Tuazon’s Family Ties, King Lear is reimagined against the backdrop of a crime family dealing with the patriarch’s onset dementia.

Here’s what the critics are saying:

“A superb graphic novel that should appeal to students of Elizabethan drama and of grandiosely brutal gangster stories.”

Seattle P-I

“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.”

Guttergeek

 

“A  very solid read, and worth checking out.”

Things I Like

 

“And in great tragic fashion, there is no neat and satisfying conclusion to this story. The narrative threads are roughly cut, similar to Tuazon’s renderings, and we’re left with a drama without any “real” ending. The ambiguity, though, is all part of the narrative’s unsettling tone and feeds into its dark realism. 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.”

Comics Alternative

 

“Highly recommended especially for connoisseurs of Shakespearean drama and gritty crime stories alike.”

Midwest Book Review

 

The best part about Family Ties, and the reason I’d recommend it, is the art, by Noel Tuazon, all black and white. And gray. Lots of gray. His figures and objects are mostly minimalist sketches, and the “coloring” is various shades of gray watercolor, which I, in my non-art history background, associate with traditional Chinese and Japanese nature paintings. Meaning that the story is just automatically moody and exotic-looking.

Comics Bulletin

“A great concept — a version of King Lear set among a crime family in Alaska, with the aging boss father facing dementia and two ambitious daughters.”

Comics Worth Reading

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