Publishers Weekly loves “Ghetto Brother”

 

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Publishers Weekly’s senior news editor Calvin Reid in conversation with Benjamin Melendez (photo by Julian Voloj)

During MoCCA Fest, Calvin Reid had a chance to talk to Benjamin Melendez about growing up in the Bronx and the events that led to the Hoe Avenue Peace Meeting. The interview can be found here.

Publishers Weekly recently named “Ghetto Brother” one of the “Best Summer Books, 2015“.

This weekend: Goetzinger and Voloj visit MoCCA Fest, updated signing schedule

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The MoCCA Arts Festival is here! We are on the fourth floor (Tables 400, 401, 402) with all the year’s best NBM books on display. We are also debuting GIRL IN DIOR and GHETTO BROTHER.

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Signing Schedule, Tables 400,401, 402

 

Annie will be appearing on the panel, Biography: The Lives of Artists on Sunday April 12 at 12:30pm  alongside cartoonists James Romberger, Marguerite Van Cook and Barbara Stok.

Annie, Julian and Benjy will be appearing at the NBM Table throughout the weekend.

SATURDAY

11:30 – 12:30 Annie Goetzinger
1:30 – 3:00 Julian Voloj
3:30 – 5:00 Annie Goetzinger

SUNDAY

12:00-1:00 Julian Voloj
1:30-3:00  Annie Goetzinger (immediately following her panel)
3:30-5:00 Julian Voloj and Benjy Melendez

 We hope to see you there!

MoCCA Arts Festival Debuts and Signing Schedule

Girl in Dior and Ghetto Brother To Debut With Creators in Attendance

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On April 11th & 12th, NBM Publishing (Tables 401, 402) once again heads to the MoCCA Arts Festival and we are happy to have attending both cartoonist Annie Goetzinger, who will be appearing to promote the debut of her luscious new book, GIRL IN DIOR and writer Julian Voloj who will be signing copies of his book, the powerful GHETTO BROTHER: WARRIOR TO PEACEMAKER along with the colorful subject of the book, Benjy Melendez.

About Girl in Dior

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The Girl in Dior is Clara, a freshly hired chronicler, fan of fashion and our guide in the busy corridors of the brand new house of Christian Dior. It’s February 12, 1947 and the crème de la crème of Paris Haute Couture is flocking to the momentous event of Dior’s first show. In a flurry of corolla shaped skirts, the parade of models file down the runway. The audience is mesmerized: it’s a triumph! Carmel Snow of Harper’s Bazaar cries out: “It’s quite a revolution, your dresses have such a new look!“ Dior’s career is launched and Clara’s story begins. Soon, she is picked by Dior himself to be his model…

A biography docudrama marrying fiction and the story of one of the greatest couturier in history, it is also a breathless and stunning presentation of his best designs such as Lauren Bacall wore, rendered by bestselling artist Annie Goetzinger, seen for the first time on this side of the Atlantic.

About Ghetto Brother

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An engrossing and counter view of one of the most dangerous elements of American urban history, this graphic novel tells the true story of Benjy Melendez, son of Puerto-Rican immigrants, who founded, at the end of the 1960s, the notorious Ghetto Brothers gang. From the seemingly bombed-out ravages of his neighborhood, wracked by drugs, poverty, and violence, he managed to extract an incredibly positive energy from this riot ridden era: his multiracial gang promoted peace rather than violence. After initiating a gang truce, the Ghetto Brothers held weekly concerts on the streets or in abandoned buildings, which fostered the emergence of hip-hop. Melendez also began to reclaim his Jewish roots after learning about his family’s dramatic crypto-Jewish background.

 

Signing Schedule, Tables 401, 402

 

Annie will be appearing on the panel, Biography: The Lives of Artists on Sunday April 12 at 12:30pm  alongside cartoonists James Romberger, Marguerite Van Cook and Barbara Stok.

Annie, Julian and Benjy will be appearing at the NBM Table throughout the weekend.

SATURDAY

11:30 – 12:30 Annie Goetzinger
1:30 – 3:00 Julian Voloj
3:30 – 5:00 Annie Goetzinger
5:00 – 6:00 Julian Voloj

SUNDAY

12:00-1:00 Julian Voloj
1:30-3:00  Annie Goetzinger (immediately following her panel)
3:30-5:00 Julian Voloj and Benjy Melendez

 

Ghetto Brother Returns to the Bronx

GHETTO BROTHER

The Latino in Comics exhibit was earlier today and Terry and I were on hand to hear Julian Voloj and Benjy Melendez speak about NBM’s GHETTO BROTHER. The Poe Park Visitor Hall was filled on this brisk winter day to celebrate comics, the Latino community, and the Bronx as a whole.

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GHETTO BROTHER art by Claudia Ahlering

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The crowd gathered to hear Julian and Benjy discuss Ghetto Brother, both on and off the page.

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Melendez(center) and Voloj(right), behind them: Melendez in his days leading the Ghetto Brothers gang.

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Benjy Melendez(center) recalled his time in and out of gangs

Ghetto Brother goes onsale in May. For previews and more, visit our website.

Helping the Community

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When people think about gangs in the Bronx, they think about violence. But the young kids involved with the Ghetto Brothers were not the savages the media presented, but young citizens who tried to better their community.

Bill Leicht, according to Benjy Melendez “the oldest Ghetto Brother”, has continued his path as a social worker and is until today involved in various projects including Peace Dojo, the Tricorner Peace Council, and Urban Visions. For Bill, showing youth alternatives to violence is a continuation of the work he did back in the day with the Ghetto Brothers.

In an email he writes to me:

For decades I’ve been saying I am continuing my work – as a Ghetto Brother. You are the first to take that seriously. The problem is prejudice. We all know youth gangs are — criminals — so society looks at us and our organizations with fear, loathing, and total inability to hear the message. That is bad for the street and it is bad for “society.” The work that you, Henry  Chalfant, Rita Fecher, Jeff Chang, Luis Barrios, David Brotherton and a very few others have created opens eyes, ears and hearts; very much it is needed and very much it is worth your effort. Thank you!
 
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Bill Leicht, the ‘oldest Ghetto Brother’ portrayed by Julian Voloj (2011)

Ghetto Brother at Poe Park

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LATINOS IN COMICS, POE PARK VISITORS CENTER

2640 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10458

March 7. Reception and Ghetto Brother Panel Discussion 12pm to 3pm 
Benjamin Melendez and Julian Voloj in conversation about “Ghetto Brother: Warrior to Peacemaker” Moderated by Regine Sawyer. The panel will start at 2 PM.

Free to the public.

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Bronx Documentary Center

Last Saturday, the Bronx Documentary Center had a screening of “Flyin’ Cut Sleeves” with director Henry Chalfant. The documentary was source material for the graphic novel “Ghetto Brother“.

Prior to the screening, director Henry Chalfant talked about his first encounter with Benjamin Melendez and how Benjy connected him to his former teacher Rita Fecher. You can see his intro here.

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Benjy Melendez presented Henry Chalfant with a copy of Ghetto Brother. More pictures from the event can be found here.

Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month. A good timing to introduce Claudia Ahlering, the artist behind “Ghetto Brother.” The German artist is based in Hamburg where she is currently collaborating with Julian Voloj on a new project. Visit her website for more information.

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Claudia Aherling in her studio with pages from Ghetto Brother.

Benjamin Melendez visits NBM

Earlier this week, Benjamin Melendez, the protagonist in the upcoming graphic novel “Ghetto Brother” visited NBM.

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Benjy is very excited that his life story is now going to reach a wide audience, telling the story of the Hoe Avenue Peace Meeting and how young people decided to go a non-violent path instead of seeking revenge and continuing the circle of violence.

Terry Nantier presented Benjy with an advance reading copy of the book. The official book presentation will take place in April during this year’s MoCCA Festival.

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