New NBM for March ’15: 101 Outstanding Graphic Novels

NBM’s March selections are now appearing in Diamond Previews magazine. Head down to your nearest comic book store to place your preorders!

What’s your favorite graphic novel? Do you have a personal list of your best comics? Stephen Weiner has curated his list of outstanding graphic novels. Now, in the list’s third incarnation, Stephen shares 101 of the best examples the genre has to offer! The list has been updated to reflect today’s best comic offerings, literature about the art form, films and documentaries, and much more to delve into the world of comics and graphic novels. The updated edition is complete with a new introduction by Ellen Forney, creator of Penguins’ Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me: A Graphic Memoir. Look for this in stores starting in March.

101 OUTSTANDING GRAPHIC NOVELS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

101 OUTSTANDING GRAPHIC NOVELS
Stephen Weiner, author

Foreword by Ellen Forney
Daniel J. Fingeroth, editor

The popular primer on the best graphic novels, initially called The 101 Best Graphic Novels, is back in its 3rd updated edition! Expert Librarian Stephen Weiner (Rise of the Graphic Novel, The Hellboy Companion, The Will Eisner Companion), with the crowdsourcing help of professionals in the field, from artists to critics to leading comic store owners, has sifted through the bewildering thousands of graphic novels now available to come up with an outstanding, not-to-be-missed 101. With an all-encompassing variety of genres, fiction and non-fiction, this serves as a great introduction to this increasingly influential world of pop culture and entertainment while also serving as a reference list for fans on what they may have possibly overlooked. Edited by Daniel J. Fingeroth, a writer (Spider-Man) and also an expert on comics (How to Create Comics from Script to Print, The Stan Lee Universe).
6×9, 80pp., full-color hardcover:  $15.99
ISBN: 9781561639441
Diamond Order Code: JAN151511

Click here for more information.

 

Still on sale is the second edition of Stephen Weiner’s other NBM book, FASTER THAN A SPEEDING BULLET: THE RISE OF THE GRAPHIC NOVEL. In it, Weiner looks at the graphic novel phenomenon. This edition features a cover by Bone’s Jeff Smith and an introduction by the father of the American graphic novel, Will Eisner.

Rise of the Graphic Novel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FASTER THAN A SPEEDING BULLET:
THE RISE OF THE GRAPHIC NOVEL, 2nd Edition
Stephen Weiner, author
Introduction by Will Eisner

 Cover by Jeff Smith
Graphic novels have exploded off bookstore shelves and into movies, college courses and the New York Times Book Review, and onto the coffee tables of the cognoscenti. What’s fueling this explosion? Where did all the excitement come from? Stephen Weiner, a comics historian and children’s literature specialist, provides the answers in this groundbreaking book—the first history of graphic novels.
From the agonizing Holocaust vision of Art Spiegelman’s Maus to the teenage angst of Dan Clowes’s Ghost World, this book takes you into the heart of the graphic novel revolution. The author of 101 Best Graphic Novels now tells the whole history of this new medium—from the first modern urban autobiographical graphic novel, Will Eisner’s A Contract with God, to the hip indy comics of the Hernandez Bros.’ Love and Rockets, the dark mysteries of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, and the postmodern superheroics of Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight.
It’s all here, in this newly updated edition—the must-reads, the milestones, and what to look for in the future of this exciting new medium..
6×9, 80pp., Black and white hardcover: $14.99
ISBN 9781561637027
Diamond Order Code: AUG121210

See a preview here!

NBM Review Round-Up!

Faster Than A Speeding Bullet: The Rise of the Graphic Novel


This book should be in the library of every comic book fan. It provides an excellent history, hitting the high (and view-changing) points. This book will help you speak knowledgably on the subject. Even if you’re not an avid comics fan and /or only like a small segment of things under the umbrella of “comics,” this history is interesting and insightful.

Sequential Tart

 

Lover’s Lane: The Hall-Mills Mystery

The book delves into the case and examines all the potential suspects, reading like a police procedural…Don’t be put off by this low-key presentation. The events, motives and individuals will leave you trying to solve this mystery.

The Joplin Globe

An Enchantment

More like a poem than a story…An Enchantment is an ambitious work and one worth checking out. It’s romantic, affecting, charming, fun, and utterly beautiful.

– Playback: STL

Durieux makes the Louvre a fantasy world, where anyone can be anyone else, and the artwork helps with the whimsical tone he’s going for – despite the old man’s age and fears, the book never becomes too dreary…It’s a charming comic, though, one that gets under your skin more than you might expect, and it’s a nice story of two people searching for something new. Whether they find it or not is for you to discover.

– Good Comics Blog at Comic Book Resources

An Enchantment delivers exactly what it promises in a sepia-toned dreamscape exploring the world of the Louvre. Worth a few reads to really absorb the entire work.

– Spandexless

 

The Lives of Sacco & Vanzetti

This was a very entertaining book, maybe my favourite of the series. It does a great job of evoking the era, outlining the issues involved and keeping it all a good read as well, and Geary’s art has been consistently excellent for decades.

– Four Realities

The Initiates

It’s a great story of two people who willingly decided to venture outside of their comfort zones and find out more about something they knew little about–and as a result, found more in common with each other than they thought possible. It’s an examination of how we are when we love something we’re dedicated to, and it’s engrossing in a way that invites you to just sit, relax, and take it all in after an exhausting day.

– Spandexless

 

 

 

“Faster Than a Speeding Bullet” – What The Reviewers Are Saying…

If you haven’t picked up this new edition of Stephen Weiner’s groundbreaking Faster Than a Speeding Bullet: The Rise of the Graphic Novel, here’s what the critics are saying…

“Though its title gives the impression that the book’s focus will be on superhero GN fare like Knight or Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, Weiner provides a broader view of comics’ maturation as a storytelling form.”

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“Anyone new to learning about the comics industry’s history would find a wonderful starting place with Faster Than a Speeding Bullet.”

Playback: STL

NBM Review Round-Up!

Here we are, back again, with some recent reviews of various NBM titles.

Faster Than A Speeding Bullet: The Rise of the Graphic Novel

“A a perfect book for anyone trying to wrap her or his head around the field of comics, a quick and smart overview of the field that spans both decades and genres. Whether you’re developing a syllabus, improving your library’s collection, or just trying to get a better sense of the field and the good stuff you might have missed, Rise is well worth a read, and worth keeping around afterwards for reference.”

– Boing Boing

Abelard

“If the cartoon images of birds and bears–and the addition of the word “magical” to the book’s front cover–give the impression that Abelard is a children’s fantasy, be assured that it isn’t. Think of it more as an anthropomorphic piece of magical realism in the manner of Joanne Harris’ Chocolat, a reflection on hope and dreams that may surprise you by just how affecting it is.”

– Blog Critics

“(Abelard) starts off feeling somewhat quaint and unassuming, and by the time you realize where it is heading, it is far too late to stem the tide of heartache that the book makes you feel…A book very much worth your time and money. This is a high-quality piece of work.”

– Comics Waiting Room

Philosophy – A Discovery in Comics by Margreet de Heer

 “Congenial, bare-bones introduction to Western philosophy…this shrewd, engaging graphic primer is very ingratiating.”

– Book List Online

Lover’s Lane: The Hall-Mills Mystery

 One of Robot 6′s favorite comics of 2012!

“I love a good mystery, I love history, and I love Rick Geary’s quasi-documentary style of presenting historical mysteries.”

– Robot 6

“A really weird graphic novel.”

Portland Book Review

NBM Review Round-Up!

It’s not too late to get some of our fantastic books to give away as holiday gifts (or buy one or two for yourself, you deserve it!).

Here’s what the critics are saying about some of our recent titles.

Abelard

“A beautifully crafted piece of storytelling from Hautiére that tugs mercilessly at the heartstrings but doesn’t ever fall into sentimental or sickly sweet. If anything, by the end, we’re assaulted by the brutality of the story. And Dillies’ artwork is quite beautiful, his charming characters almost deliberately at odds with some of the themes and actions of the tale, yet never feeling wrong. His stylised colours perfectly suited to detailing all the wonders, all the misery, all the dreams Abelard finds along his journey.”

The Forbidden Planet International Blog Log

A poignant, droll, and heartbreaking “funny animals” tale for grown-ups, with breathtaking art.”

Karen GreenBoing Boing Annual “Return of the Best Damn Comics of the Year” List

 

Faster Than A Speeding Bullet: The Rise of the Graphic Novel

“A wonderful primer for both educators who need to familiarize themselves with the medium as well as those who have been reading comics faithfully for 50+ years. Like the best of historians, Mr. Weiner manages to logically connect seemingly disparate ideas and occurrences into one cohesive story, fitting a lot of important notes into one place, and he never belabors any of them. His timeline, (always important to a comic fan and reader!) is impeccable and brilliantly concise.”

New York Journal of Books

 

Stargazing Dog

“Stargazing Dog is a beautiful, poignant work on love and death and I dare you to not to cry while reading it.”

– Stuff & Nonsense

 

Taxes, The Tea Party and Those Revolting Rebels

“Stan Mack uses succinct language, humor, and clean and energetic black and white cartoons to turn a complex history into an accessible story…A completely unique and accessible way of learning history.”

City Book Review

How Graphic Novel got into Libraries

As the graphic novel form took off in the 1990s, one of the first places it landed was public libraries. The respectability of MAUS as well as the initial buzz generated by the publicity generated by DARK KNIGHT & WATCHMEN raised the visibility of the comics medium. Lots of people in the library were more curious than biased against comics, so they started small graphic novel collections, steeled themselves, & waited for the complaints.

Complaints did occasionally come their way, but mostly librarians saw that they’d stumbled onto something. Patrons, particularly boys, loved comics. These books were read, borrowed, & stolen. The word was out—libraries were not dead places, they were even a bit hip.
Even better, books were coming out like UNDERSTANDING COMICS, STRANGERS IN PARADISE, & ELFQUEST, more in line with library collection policies. As librarians learned how to best collect comics they had to read them, making them become fans or at least educated skeptics.


There were barriers aside from content that made collecting graphic novels difficult. Vendors who sold to libraries didn’t carry them, &, for the most part, they weren’t reviewed (librarians generally bought books after they were reviewed) so librarians began holding conferences about graphic novels in an effort to educate each other & work out problems collecting comics. Throughout the 90s these issues were thoroughly examined, but the real breakthrough occurred when publishers saw the benefits of libraries collecting graphic novels. Initially, the big publishers saw libraries as competition, that one library sale negated multiple individual sales. However, over time the publishers saw public library collections as a way to promote the changing comics field, & a partnership was formed between the comics industry public libraries. Interestingly enough, throughout most of the 1990s, the two most popular graphic novels in public libraries were MAUS & UNDERSTANDING COMICS.

For more information about the history of the graphic novel, read my book, Faster than a Speeding Bullet: the Rise of the Graphic Novel, available now.

 

Elfquest & The Graphic Novel

The first graphic novel to explode out of the comic book marketplace & into bookstores was Elfquest by Wendy & Richard Pini. In many ways it was the model for some of the break out graphic novels we’ve seen over the last several years. Elfquest was self published under the Pini’s own WaRP Graphics company & supported by the network of comic book stores. Elfquest was an outgrowth of the underground Comics, but with a wider appeal, & it signaled the beginning of the Alternative Comics movement. Alternative Comics told stories with commercial appeal that weren’t published by the major comic book companies. Elfquest told an adventure story but it wasn’t a superhero story. The heroes were elves & the overarching story was a melding of fantasy tropes, fairy tales, & Native American lore. The black & white serial began in 1978, and was quickly collected into graphic novel form, making it into bookstores in 1981. Elfquest’s trajectory exemplified Will Eisner’s hope for the graphic novel form. Eisner saw the graphic novel as a mature work appealing to readers who had grown tired of superhero stories, but could still be interested in stories told in cartoon format. Elfquest went through many publishing incarnations. Originally published by the Pini’s own WaRP Graphics line, it was next reprinted in color by Marvel Comics’s Epic line in the mid 1980s, then again by DC Comics in the in the early part of this century, both in a collector’s archive edition & as a manga-sized series of books. Although it’s been around since 1978, Elfquest never gets old.

 

For more information on the graphic novel, read my book, Faster than a Speeding Bullet: the Rise of the Graphic Novel, available later this month.

 

Camelot 3000 & the Graphic Novel

Camelot 3000 and the Graphic Novel
Pioneering cartoonists creating the first graphic novels followed a bumpy road. Although the concept was out there in the late 1970s & early 1980s, the acceptance of the new longer format was mixed. Many early graphic novels were big news at the time but are now virtually forgotten. One of the early experiments was Camelot 3000 by Mike W. Barr & Brian Bolland. Camelot 3000 was a story of Arthur, Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table warding off Morgan le Fey in 3000 AD. It stayed true to the Arthurian legends while taking some liberties. Writer Mike Barr was a well respected chronicler of the DC Universe & Brian Bolland was an exciting British import. The series ran as a twelve issue mini-series from 1982-1985, just prior to Watchmen and Dark Knight, although it has only been in print in a collected edition sporadically and certainly hasn’t received the acclaim of those books that followed.

 

Here’s a youtube link to Camelot 3000.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3mXWfzbdRE

For more information on the history of the graphic novel, read my book, Faster than a Speeding Bullet: the Rise of the Graphic Novel, available later in October.

The Independents & the Graphic Novel

In the 1980s comics began to recognize that a long form comic’s story had potential, based in part on Eisner’s Contract with God & Jules Feiffer’s Tantrum. Various names for this longer comics story form were thrown around. Among them “Sequential Narrative” and “Picture Novella” gained some weight but the term that stuck was “Graphic Novel.”
The 1980s was also a time when Independent publishing flourished. One of the first big hits was Wendy & Richard Pini’s fantasy ElfQuest, which mixed Native American lore with fantasy tropes. Another was Dave Sim’s Cerebus, which began as a parody of Conan the Barbarian but then evolved into an ongoing storyline in its own right.

 

 

Possibly the independent hit of this period was The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman & Peter Laird. Initially a parody of the ninja craze and a tribute to the work of Frank Miller, the Turtles charmed the country, and the black and white book originally financed by a family member became a sensation. In a fairly short time the turtles were everywhere, on school lunch boxes, on clothing, & on stationary.
Other cartoonists watched the success of the Turtles & saw possibilities. Soon the comic book market was running over with self published work. Some experienced success, but only the Turtles broke the dam between the comic book readership & the wider world of popular culture.

To learn more about the history of the graphic novel, read my book, Faster than a Speeding Bullet: the Rise of the Graphic Novel, available in October

Trade Publishers and early Graphic Novel attempts

As far back as the 1940s, trade publishers experienced success publishing graphic novel like books, collections of newspaper comics, and early book length comic stories by recognized children’s book author-illustrators Crockett Johnson and Don Freeman. Pogo collections by Walt Kelly published in the 1950s and early 1960s paved the way for the book length graphic novel, Prehysterical Pogo (in Pandemonia) released in 1967. The Tintin books started appearing in the U.S. under the Little Brown imprint as early as 1962, so it’s clear that trade publishers had no problem with book length comic stories that they found acceptable. Trade houses were not comfortable with the type of comic stories that had come under attack in the 1950s—horror and crime comics as well as superhero comics, although sales of these types of books were lucrative.

The Great Comic Book Heroes Cover
This began to change with the publication of Jules Feiffer’s The Great Comic Book Heroes, in 1965. Feiffer’s book extolled the value of superhero comic books and examined them as symbols of childhood innocence as opposed to childhood contamination. The book included early stories of heroes that Feiffer admired and it sent out a signal: the comic book people were ready to fight back against the charges of Dr. Wertham, and by publishing with a trade house, Feiffer’s book gained respectability. In 1979, Feiffer published his own graphic novel, Tantrum, about a couple going through a mid life crisis. Tantrum was released by a trade house. In a period of 15 years, Feiffer had argued that comics were good for children and then created a graphic novel that could interest adults.

To learn more about the history of the graphic novel, try my book, Faster than a Speeding Bullet: the Rise of the Graphic Novel, being solicited now.