Back to the Beginning

Just after I graduated college I lived in Chicago for a couple of years, and I had this notion of doing comics. I spent about a year working on this silly superhero comic that I thought was about all sorts of things (the rise of multinationalism and the corporatization of the media), but was really about nothing. I had a friend named Brad, who I talked comics with. I showed him this superhero comic, and over drinks at a bar, he said, “You shouldn’t do any more comics like that. It’s not very good.”

And as soon as he said it I knew he was right.

Which started me off on a whole new direction. I had this idea comics that worked more like poems or songs. No need for a narrative. No need for character names. The only goal was to get at an emotion as raw and pure and undiluted as possible. There were some successes, and some failures.

And it was these comics that lead to my first book with NBM, Flower and Fade. The title of which was taken from D.H. Lawrence:

“Life and love are life and love, a bunch of violets is a bunch of violets, and to drag in the idea of a point is to ruin everything. Live and let live, love and let love, flower and fade, and follow the natural curve, which flows on, pointless.”

I was very serious.

01 These Days

My First Comic

My very first comic ever was Asterix and the Great Crossing by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. The early part of my life was spent in Saudi Arabia and I was exposed more to comics from Europe than from the U.S. This was the book that my parents read to me over and over again before going to bed.

Basically, I was an American kid growing up in a Muslim country looking at ridiculous Native American caricatures written and drawn by French men in a comic that featured no female characters whatsoever.

Very worldly.

Asterix -16- Asterix and the Great Crossing - 17

Striking Out

This Wednesday I’ll be talking along with Joel Gill at the Cambridge Public Library at 6:30. We’re going to be discussing our paths to comics as well as a bit about process like this little bit of strike out research I did for All Star. You should come join us.

Strike Out Reference

Nobody struck out better than Reggie Jackson. Look at those feet! He’s got himself so twisted up, just imagine how far that ball would have gone if he had hit it.

 

Talking Comics at the Cambridge Public Library

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So if you’re in the Boston area next Wednesday, you should come by the Cambridge Public Library and say hello to me and Joel Gill. We’re going to be talking about our books, our process, and our upcoming projects, which are both westerns.

 

 

Steven Spielberg/Woody Allen

Sometime, maybe ten years ago, I read or heard this quote from Woody Allen which went something like this: Steven Spielberg says he tries to make the films he loved as a kid. I try to make the films I love as an adult.

And at the time, I was in total agreement with Woody Allen, but now I think I’m coming around to Steven Spielberg’s way of thinking.

These are some pages from this fun little Formula 1 book I’m working. It’s very boyish.

(Also!)(I’ll be doing a talk with Joel Gill at the Cambridge Public Library on June 25th!)(We’ll be talking about my book, All Star, and his book, Strange Fruit!)(!)

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ALL STAR Knocks It Out Of The Park

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The reviews for Jesse Lonergan’s All Star are in!

“It’s an authentic tale of life in a small community, particularly in the wordless sequences of ball practice or late-night party. It’s a pleasure to get lost in the art.”

Comics Worth Reading

“Lonergan’s story hits all the right notes of smalltown life and athletic struggle, with loose, energetic, manga-inspired art.”

Publisher’s Weekly

All Star captures small-town adolescence perfectly (perhaps all too perfectly, depending on a reader’s mood and propensity for elegiac nostalgia), and is actually a great deal of fun, despite the down ending and the heavy melodrama.

Lonergan is a sensational character designer and cartoonist, and while all of the lines in all of the panels are dynamic and expressive, this is never more apparent than when he’s drawing the sports action, in which balls fly like meteors, and hit the ground, a glove or a bat with explosions.”

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“Lonergan does get things right at every turn. His town feels right, the people who live there feel right, the reaction to what happens feels right, and the angst Carl feels over it feels right. There’s a universal recognition of the human condition here that works. Having grown up in a town like this, I saw the truth in it. The art has a crisp, cartoon-y look about it, and the ending, while feeling a little manufactured, resonates in the final panels. Solid stuff.”

Comics Wating Room

 

“Thoughtful, provocative, and populated by believable human characters, All Star is highly recommended. All Star does contain some cursing and a few sexual allusions, though it is never explicit, and is therefore more suitable for teens and adults (or any reader who is mature enough to understand what the Lewinsky scandal was all about).”

Midwest Book Review

 

This was so good. So damn good. I don’t care for baseball at all, but this isn’t necessarily about baseball. It’s about being someone who is willing to take a stand for what they think is important...”

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There are also two fantastic interviews with Lonergan at Comic Book Resources and San Angelo Times that are both excellent reads.

All Star is available now.

NBM Heads To TCAF! Dillies! Hobbs! Tuazon! Lonergan! Blain!

This weekend, May 10th and 11th The Toronto Public Library and The Beguiling team up once again to present the Toronto Comics Art Festival (TCAF) with several NBM authors in attendance.  We’ll be holding court at Table 172, so come on by!

Renaud Dillies will be a featured guest and will be making TCAF his first ever North American comics event.

Dillies is the creative force behind Betty Blues and Bubbles & Gondola and illustrated Abelard with writer Régis Hautière.

BETTY BLUES

On Saturday, he’ll be appearing at the Toronto Reference Library: Comics Workshop Space leading the workshop,  “Drawing Music.”

On Sunday, he’ll receive his own spotlight panel from 4pm-5pm.

All the way from Paris, France, TCAF is proud to welcome Featured Guest Renaud Dillies. Author of the acclaimed graphic novels Abelard and Bubbles & Gondola, and the Angouleme “Debut Book Prize” winner Betty Blues. In this feature interview, The Comics Reporter’s Tom Spurgeon will interview Dillies on his life, his career, and his inspirations. French/English interpretation by Stephane Beaujean.

Eric Hobbs and Noel Tuazon

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From the creative team behind The Broadcast, NBM is proud to be debuting their new book, Family Ties at TCAF.

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 as a Shakespearean tragedy in this epic tale of betrayal and loss.

 

Jesse Lonergan

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Jesse, the author of Flower & Fade  and Joe & Azat will be appearing to support his new book, the baseball coming of age tale, All Star.

On Saturday from 11am-12pm, Jesse will be appearing on the panel:

Sports Vs. Comic Books: Making Peace Between Schoolyard Enemies.


Jocks Vs. Nerds is an engrained trope, but times have thankfully changed. The North American comics industry is catching up to its European and Japanese compatriots, realizing that blending popular sporting events with comics and graphic novels goes together like peanut butter and chocolate, and the result are great comics that appeal to an entirely new artist. Join authors Box Brown (Andre The Giant), Reinhard Kleist (The Boxer), Wai Au (Fujosports), Jesse Lonergan (All-Star), and moderator Jimmy Aquino (Comics News Insider), for a spirited discussion of this emerging genre of comics!

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Christophe Blain, the author Isaac the Pirate, Gus, and Dungeon the Early Years (with Joann Sfar and Lewis Trondheim) will be hosting one of the Comics Workshops, “Drawing” on Saturday at 2pm.

Signing Schedule – Table 172

Saturday

  • 9am-10am Jesse Lonergan
  • 10am-12pm  Eric Hobbs and Noel Tuazon
  • 1pm-2pm Renaud Dillies
  • 2pm-3pm  Eric Hobbs and Noel Tuazon
  • 3pm-4pm Jesse Lonergan
  • 4pm-5pm Renaud Dillies


Sunday

  • 11am-12pm Christophe Blain
  • 12pm-1pm Renaud Dillies
  • 1pm-2pm  Eric Hobbs and Noel Tuazon
  • 2pm-3pm Jesse Lonergan
  • 3pm-4pm Renaud Dillies
  • 4pm-5pm Eric Hobbs and Noel Tuazon

 

For more details, visit torontocomics.com

This Weekend, NBM Heads To MoCCA Arts Festival; ALL STAR by Jesse Lonergan and 2nd. Edition of SILK ROAD TO RUIN by Ted Rall To Premiere

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NBM Publishing is once again heading to the MoCCA Arts Festival and we are happy to have both Jesse Lonergan, who will be appearing to promote the debut of his new book, the coming of age story All Star and Ted Rall who will be signing copies of the new edition of his book, SILK ROAD TO RUIN: Why Central Asia Is The Next Middle East.

 

About All Star

 

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Set at the end of the school year in 1998 when Mark McGwire is racing Sammy Sosa to break the home run record, Bill Clinton is being questioned about a White House intern named Monica Lewinsky, and Semisonic’s ‘Closing Time’ is on top of the charts, Carl Carter is leading the Elizabeth Monarchs of rural Vermont to the state championship in his senior year.

A full scholarship to the University of Maine is waiting for him, and everyone says he has a shot at the pros.

He’s so good he can do whatever he wants.

Until he makes one very arrogant mistake.

 

About SILK ROAD TO RUIN: Why Central Asia Is The Next Middle East – 2nd Ed.

 

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Part graphic novel travelog, part tongue-in-cheek travel guide, here are the adventures of caustic cartoonist Rall in the wild and wooly central Asian countries, a powder keg sitting on tomorrow’s oil…

Combining articles with comic chapters relating his experiences retracing the old legendary Silk Road starting with the sublime history of China and ending in the absurdity of the petty dictatorships of the “The ‘Stans” where Rall had the temerity -or was it blustery stupidity?- to go back, including once with a group of listeners to his radio show, on a dare.

It’s exotic adventure, satire and a fun way to find out more about a part of the world that looms in importance with its immense reserves of oil…

Signing Schedule – Tables B6, B7

 

Both Jesse and Ted will be appearing at the NBM Booth throughout the weekend.

Saturday, April 6th:

  • Jesse Lonergan 11:30-1:00
  • Ted Rall 1:00-3:00
  • Jesse Lonergan 3:00-5:00

Sunday, April 7th:

  • Jesse Lonergan 12:00-2:00
  • Ted Rall 2:00-3:30
  • Jesse Lonergan 3:30-5:00

 

Be sure to follow @nbmpub on Twitter.  So come on by, meet some cool folks and celebrate comics!

A Mixtape to Set the Mood

I listen to music while I’m drawing, and I’d like to think that the music that I listen to has some sort of effect on the lines that I put on the page. With All Star being set in the 90s, it seemed natural to have a 90s playlist for the occasion. What I found was that the songs that took me back the most were not the songs that I liked the most at the time. The songs that really brought me back were the songs that didn’t make it out of the 90s. I loved Weezer’s blue album in high school, but it’s an album that I have listened to a great deal since then, and so it doesn’t necessarily pull me back. But Deep Blue Something’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s takes me back, because I only heard it in high school and never again.

Here are some others:

Here in Your Bedroom – Goldfinger

Pepper – The Butthole Surfers

Closing Time – Semisonic (be careful: this song gets stuck in your head super easy)

Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand – The Primitive Radio Gods

Lovefool – The Cardigans (my secret anthem)

Lump – The Presidents of the United States of America

The Freshman – The Verve Pipe (I hated this song and I can’t say I care for it much now, but it takes me back to talking with friends about how much I hated it)

In the Meantime – Spacehog

No Rain – Blind Melon

These songs are the songs that take me back. I don’t love them necessarily, but they lock me into a place and time. How much effect does this have on the lines that get put on the paper? I don’t know, but I’m not sure if that Alanis Morrisette joke would have gotten in there without them.

School Picture 1995: Special Torture

As a bit of research for my very very soon-to-be-released book, All Star, which is set in the late 1990s (my high school years), I revisited some of my yearbooks from high school. Sadly my senior yearbook has disappeared. I believe it was taken when someone broke into the storage facility where it was kept. I imagine they were somewhat disappointed with their haul.

Anyway, that’s me, sophomore year, 1995. Yes, it’s a denim shirt. With a tie. An Incredible Hulk tie.

And remember: If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it’s yours. If it doesn’t, it was never meant to be. Also, Don’t ever change… YOUR UNDERWEAR! And hang on to sixteen as long as you can, changes come around real soon, make us women and men.