Taxis

Here’s another page from one of the opening chapters of my book loosely based on my experiences in  Turkmenistan (the presently untitled book loosely based on my experiences in Turkmenistan as I mentioned in my last post). The story focuses on the friendship between an American named Joe and a Turkmen named Azat and builds to Azat’s wedding.  The plot is completely fictional, but a number of the incidents in the book actually happened. Including the one on this page where the taxi driver decided to pop the top on a hot radiator and it exploded in his face. Taxis were the quickest way to get from place to place even long distances (this trip was about 900 km). There were buses, but they were slow and always packed. For the most part the taxi drivers knew what they were doing, but this guy had no clue.  

“When all seemed lost, he does get the girl, the cake, or the dog.”

We’re talking about Happy Holigan here and this is from a great review in the California Literary Review:

“Seen in the context of this long tradition, Opper ultimately created a great gag, a caricatured layabout with an appalling taste in orange polka dot undershirts. Viewed in retrospect, post-Depression, however, he acquires a special poignancy.

Here was a man who was only ever trying to help, never asking for favors, loved by children, and here was a society intent on beating him down. The line between comedy and tragedy is a fine one, and Hooligan’s lines were pretty fine.

Yet Opper was nothing if not smart, and knew we could only put up with so much. Rarely, just rarely, the schmuck from Brooklyn gets a break. In isolated strips, when all seemed lost, he does get the girl, the cake, or the dog. ”

The Review gives our collection 4 stars out of 5.

I’m tellin ya, it’s a classic not to be missed!

Terry

See us at NY Comicon!

We’ll be at booth 1713 in a well placed corner, have our latest books out both for NBM and for our sister publishing co. Papercutz.

For NBM that means having Miss Don’t Touch Me, Nocturnal Conspiracies by David B, Happy Hooligan and fresh in: LITTLE NOTHINGS 2 by Lewis Trondheim! We’ll also have Neil Kleid of Brownsville and other comics with Slave Labor, Image, etc… Publisher Terry Nantier will be there, ready to chat with you.

For Papercutz, the big news is we’ll have Greg Farshtey on Saturday, the writer of  Bionicle and of course the latest Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Tales from the Crypt and Classics Illustrated. Meet also our industry-beloved Editor-in-Chief Jim Salicrup.

See ya there at the Javitts Center Feb. 6-8.

Moresukine reviewed in Daily Yomiuri

The Daily Yomiuri, an English-language Japanese paper ran a long well-illustrated review of Dirk Schwieger’s Moresukine calling it “Highly Entertaining. Amusing look at many aspects of life in Japan.”

It goes on to describe quite a few of Schwieger’s ‘exploits’ under the command of internet readers.

The Big COVER

Spent the day laying out the hardcover book jacket for THE BIG KAHN. Nico’s tying up the inks and tones for the interior over the next month and a half but I have to finish the cover and solicitation before February so that we can get it into catalogs and such.

I really enjoy designing my books, as it lets the graphic designer in me truly own my book from soup to nuts… I designed the BROWNSVILLE jacket and the non-sequential portions (title page, jacket, bio page, etc) and I’m doing the same with KAHN. Nico illustrated the front and back, sent along a high-resolution TIFF file and now I’m just wrapping up the layout and endflaps… but still going back and forth on the front cover title treatment. I really like the first one, because it’s different and really fits in the overall design, but the second one is the standard centered that usually works better on bookshelves or on endcaps. I’ll probably go with the first, but feel free to comment here and try to convince me otherwise:

Title?

Here’s another page from my book about Turkmenistan. At the moment Terry and I are discussing the title of the book. In my head I’ve been calling it The Golden Age, which comes from the former totalitarian leader of Turkmenistan Saparmyrat Niyazov a.k.a Turkmenbashy (which roughly translates to “the grandfather of all Turkmen”). He declared that the 21st Century would be the Golden Age for the Turkmen people. All the propaganda showed Turkmen living in an wonderful utopia, but the reality was far from that.

So I like The Golden Age as an ironic title. But then again, for someone who has never heard of Turkmenistan or Turkmenbashy, it’s a bit uninformative (and this being a comic they might be thinking it’s something about the early days of Superman).

The book is about Azat who believes in dreaming big, getting rich, and marrying the prettiest girl in town, but sadly he lives in a totalitarian state where dreams have a habit of not coming true. It’s told through the eyes of an American Peace Corps volunteer named Joe. 

Titles: An American in Turkmenistan? Joe and Azat? Two Years in Turkmenistan? Turkmenistan? 130 Degrees in the Shade?

So the name still isn’t settled, but the book is coming along nicely. I’ve got a big final wedding chapter and a little epilogue piece and then some editing and redrawing to do. I’m shooting to be done in March.

Library Journal on Moresukine

“Throughout, Schwieger shows both funky humor and affectionate awe toward this alien culture immersing him. As popular anthropology, this title will have strongest appeal in collections where manga is hot.”

Says Martha Cornog of Moresukine in an issue of LJ out earlier this month. She reviews graphic novels regularly for Library Journal and other Library publications