Hoe Avenue Peace Meeting Anniversary

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Benjamin Melendez with his family at the opening of Julian Voloj’s photo exhibition “If you live in New York…”, 2011

 

December 8 marks the anniversary of the Hoe Avenue Peace Meeting, the iconic gathering that not only inspired the movie “The Warriors” but also ended for a period of time a spiral of violence in the Bronx. When I met Benjy Melendez back in 2010, the events were widely forgotten.

Initially I was only planning to include Benjy’s portrait in a photography series on Jewish diversity. We became friends and he continued to tell me his story. I knew I wanted to tell it, and one thing let to another. Claudia and I started working on the graphic novel in early 2011. The year marked the 40th anniversary of the Hoe Avenue Peace Meeting, but no events were planned. So I approached Benjy with the idea to organize a reunion. Claudia and I had maybe 10 pages ready and were not sure where our journey would lead to. That December, dozens of former activists came together re-telling stories from back-in-the-day. It was the first time in decades that many of these people had seen each other.

Five years later, “Ghetto Brother” has not only been published with NBM, but also in France, Germany, and Spain (a Brazilian edition is planned for next spring), the Ghetto Brothers album “Fuerza” has been re-released and the documentary “Rubble Kings” brought the events to a wider audience. No doubt that the 40th anniversary reunion played a small part in bringing Benjy’s story to a wider audience.

Next week, we’ll mark the anniversary of the Hoe Avenue Peace Meeting with two special events, and you can be part of it. The first one is in the Manhattan’s Lower East Side: On Wednesday, December 9th, I will discuss “Ghetto Brother” with Tamid’s Jewish Book Club  The following day, Benjy and I will be on the Upper West Side, speaking at Barnes and Noble at 82nd Street and Broadway at 7 PM.

If you are in New York, don’t miss this opportunity!

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NBM Hits SPX and Brooklyn Book Festival!

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On the weekend of September 19th-20th, you can find NBM Publishing participating at two exciting events the 2015 Small Press Expo and The Brooklyn Book Festival.

And at both events we’ll be debuting three new titles, Fires Above Hyperion by Patrick Atangan , Religion, A Discovery in Comics by Margreet de Heer and Walking Wounded: Uncut Stories from Iraq by Mael & Olivier Morel.

 

Fires Above Hyperion by Patrick Atangan

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Imagine Sex and the City written by a gay Charlie Brown.

“One day I woke up and realized I had been dating for twenty years.  Twenty years.  It’s hard to imagine anyone with as little resolve as I have doing anything for so long.” 

In this autobiographical work, Patrick Atangan documents the sad hilarity of his love life from awkward first encounters, to finding out that the great guy you’ve been dating already has a boyfriend, to the sad inevitability of a break up. With a dark sense of humor, Atangan navigates the perils of the gay world.

 

Religion, A Discovery in Comics by Margreet de Heer

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The author of the bestselling Discovery in Comics series, including on Science and Philosophy, tackles a very sensitive subject. Dealing with religion often means walking on eggshells – that is what comic artist Margreet de Heer finds out in this book in which she presents the five major religions and modern spirituality in a colorful, personal yet serious manner. She explores religious history and practices with tact and an open mind, but can’t prevent a few eggs from breaking. Why is religion such a sensitive subject?

This book in comics is fun and informative for believers, non-believers and everyone in between. It offers a fresh look from different perspectives on the phenomenon of religion, the backgrounds and history of the five major world religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism) and makes the point that religion is something that should unite us, not drive us apart.

 

Walking Wounded: Uncut Stories from Iraq by Mael & Olivier Morel

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For hundreds of thousands of young Americans, after the shock of 9/11, there was Ar Ramadi, Baghdad, Abu Ghraib… The war in Irak. Then came the trauma. Olivier Morel gave them a voice in his compelling documentary On the Bridge. Walking Wounded isn’t the book of the documentary but the story of Morel getting close to the young vets, their troubled experience and lives. So close he could not avoid living their trauma himself, seeing all too clearly their vision of the world after their gut-wrenching experiences. From torment to reflection, Morel and artist Mael relate through these vets the impossible return of those who do aspire vividly to get back to a normal life. The effort is huge, some can’t make it, others score their own victory by finally turning the corner… a parable for our country’s war sickness.

 

SPX Details and Signing Schedule

September 19th-20th; Located at E 1-2

Appearing Saturday Only: Olivier Morel & Margreet de Heer

The Small Press Expo is North America’s premiere independent cartooning and comic arts festival. SPX brings together more than 4,000 cartoonists and comic arts enthusiasts every fall in Bethesda, Maryland.

Unlike many conventions that are geared toward pop culture or corporately owned comics, SPX was created in 1994 to promote artists and publishers who produce independent comics. SPX hosts an annual festival that provides a forum for artists, writers and publishers of comic art in its various forms to present to the public comic art not normally accessible through normal commercial channels.

Signing Schedule:

11:00 am – 12:00 pm:  Olivier Morel

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm:   Margreet de Heer

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm:     Olivier Morel

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm:    Margreet de Heer

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm:  Olivier Morel & Margreet de Heer

 

 

Brooklyn Book Festival Details and Signing Schedule

September 20th; Located at Booth# 309

Appearing Sunday: Olivier Morel, Margreet de Heer,

Julian Voloj & Benjy Melendez

The Brooklyn Book Festival is the largest free literary event in New York City, presenting an array of national and international literary stars and emerging authors. One of America’s premier book festivals, this hip, smart diverse gathering attracts thousands of book lovers of all ages to enjoy authors and the festival’s lively literary marketplace.

PANEL: Can’t You See Who I Am?

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Three comic creators talk about their new books, that explore identity, place, and finding your purpose in the city.

Join A.K. Summers, author and artist of the break-out hit Pregnant Butch, about her adventures in motherhood; Julian Voloj with his comic biography Ghetto Brother on Benjy Melendez, and the events of gangland New York in the 1970s, and Lisa Wilde, a NYC high school teacher whose collected memoir zine Yo, Miss, follows her and her diverse students as they struggle and celebrate over a single academic year.

Moderated by Jessica Abel, (Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio). Screen Projection.

At Brooklyn Historical Society; 2:00pm

 

Signing Schedule:

10:30 am -11:30 am:   Julian Voloj

11:30 am – 12:30 pm:  Olivier Morel

12:30 pm – 1:30 pm:   Margreet de Heer

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm:     Olivier Morel

2:30 pm – 3:30 pm:    Margreet de Heer

3:30 pm -4:30pm:      Olivier Morel

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm:    Julian Voloj

4:30 pm – 5:30 pm:    Margreet de Heer

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @nbmpub for any last minute changes.

Review Round-Up! LOUISE BROOKS: DETECTIVE! GHETTO BROTHER! 101 OUTSTANDING GRAPHIC NOVELS!

Here’s what the critics are saying:

LOUISE BROOKS: DETECTIVE by Rick Geary

 

Be sure to check out a fantastic interview with Rick conducted at the Huffington Post where he discusses Louise Brooks and his work.

“This Louise Brooks adventure is supposed to just be a little detour from Mr. Geary’s ongoing work on his Treasury of Murder true crime series. However, there’s definitely a case to be made for more Louise Brooks adventures.”

Comics Grinder

“It is without question that Geary is the modern master of real-life murder cartooning…Louise Brooks: Detective is a breezy summer detective fiction.”

Trouble With Comics

 

GHETTO BROTHER: WARRIOR TO PEACEMAKER by Julian Voloj and Claudia Ahlering

“Gorgeous black and white watercolor illustrations enhance this inspiring true story…a fascinating examination of the events that led to the emergence of Hip Hop. It’s also a personal story of survival, loss, oppression, and reclaiming one’s heritage.”

Foreword Reviews

“Excellent for both teens and adults interested in urban issues, this account shows how difficult it can be to bring about social change and how unexpected positive outcomes can result.”

Library Journal

101 OUTSTANDING GRAPHIC NOVELS By Stephen Weiner

“As with all works of this type, many will argue about what should or should not have been included. That’s part of the fun! However, as in earlier editions, the book serves as a subjective but entertaining introduction to this increasingly influential medium and will remain an effective starting reference for the general reader. Librarians serving graphic novels fans will find this short guide to be a useful readers’ advisory tool.”

Library Journal

Women in Comics

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On Saturday, the Edgar Allan Poe Visitors Center will host “Women in Comics”, a group exhibition curated by Ray Felix (Bronx Heroes) and Regine Sawyer (Lockett Down Productions). The exhibition will also feature artwork from “Ghetto Brother” illustrated by Claudia Ahlering (see photo).

When? Saturday, August 1, 2015, 1 PM

Where? Poe Park Visitor Center, 2640 Grand Concourse, The Bronx

Who? The Women in Comics Collective began in May, 2012. It’s mission is to educate about the role and merit of women working in the comic book industries by highlighting their artistic endeavors. The collective has over 50 members and organizes art exhibitions and a panel series that has been hosted at venues such as the Schomburg Center for Black Culture and Research, the Bronx Museum, the Bronx Library Center, and most recently at Comic Con in San Diego.

For more information about the exhibition and related events, please visit their Facebook page.

GHETTO BROTHER Review Round-Up: “A Comic Origin Story, One About a True Superhero”

 

Ghetto Brother is 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.

Here’s what the critics are saying:

Ghetto Brother is a brisk, compact work highlighting an overlooked, yet pivotal, part of the history of both a genre and a city.”

Rolling Stone

 

“Absorbing—a true testament to the power of faith in goodwill.”

 

“A  gripping story that feels like a history lesson but a lot more than that.”

 

“A fascinating, largely unknown story that’s told in a compelling, unexpected way.”

 

“Matter-of-fact and informative.”

 

“Written by Julian Voloj and illustrated by Claudia Ahlering, Ghetto Brother resists tropes that are common in comics and biographical storytelling for a first person visually guided narrative that gives a personal account of seeing the world change in real time…The universe is cyclical but in hip hop, it starts with Benjy Melendez. Ghetto Brother is it’s comic origin story, one about a true superhero that continues to replay itself, from the inception point to infinity.”

 

 

“An unusual piece of literature in that a medium usually reserved for fantastical tales and superheroes is now being used as a vehicle for the telling of a true story.”

 

“This wonderful book shows us that Jews come in a wide variety of ethnicities.”

GHETTO BROTHER meets ROLLING STONE

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Today, ROLLING STONE featured GHETTO BROTHER- our new graphic novel written by Julian Voloj with art by Claudia Ahlering. The graphic novel profiles Benjy Melendez, leader of the Ghetto Brothers who united the gangs of New York in the historic Hoe Avenue Peace  Summit.

In the Rolling Stone article , “New Graphic Novel Details How NYC Gangs’ Treaty Formed Hip-Hop,” reviewer Jason Newman details the work of Melendez, not just as presented in the graphic novel, but his influence in the hip-hop community.

Even if you have read GHETTO BROTHER, the article will serve as a good companion piece to the graphic novel.

Read the full article here.

Previews and ordering information are available on our website.

Ghetto Brother meets Ghetto Klown

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Benjy and I had a great time at the Book Con. So many people came over and wanted to hear Benjy’s story and get their copy of Ghetto Brother signed (for pictures from the event, visit our Facebook page.) A “nice young lady” (Benjy’s words) introduced herself as Sara and said she wanted to get a copy signed for her friend John. Well, John, that was John Leguizamo, known for “Ghetto Klown” (on HBO, on Broadway, and soon as a graphic novel) — and Sara was the great comedian Sara Benincasa.

So Benjy and I had a brief conversation with John — and guess what, he not only loved the book, but he also heard about the story of the Hoe Avenue Peace Meeting before. We can only say, thank you, Sara.

 

NBM Announces BookCon Signing Schedule

 

This weekend in New York City is BookCon, the ultimate celebration of books, where your favorite stories come to life.

Storytelling and pop culture collide as both consumers and brands experience the origin of the story in all its forms by interacting with the authors, publishers, celebrities and creators of content that influence everything we read, hear and see.

The show features interactive, forward thinking content including Q+A’s with the hottest talent, autographing sessions, storytelling podcasts, special screenings, literary quiz shows and so much more.

Appearing throughout the show is 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.

 

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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, Booth 3065

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

SATURDAY

11:00 – 12:00 Julian Voloj
2:00 – 3:00 Julian Voloj
4:00 – 5:00 Julian Voloj

SUNDAY

11:00-12:00 Julian Voloj and Benjy Melendez
1:00-2:00 Julian Voloj and Benjy Melendez

 

For more details, visit thebookcon.com

 

Here’s Your Handy TCAF Schedule

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This weekend you can find three of our authors attending the Toronto Comics Arts Festival.  We’ll be located at Booths 169 & 170 and will have copies of all of our latest titles on hand including Lulu Anew (officially premiering here), Ghetto Brother, Girl in Dior and more.

Our authors in attendance include Etienne Davodeau, Julian Voloj and Margreet de Heer.

Below find our signing and appearance schedule for the weekend.

 SATURDAY

9:00-10:00
Margreet de Heer at NBM Booths (169 & 170)

10:00-11:00
Julian Voloj at NBM Booths (169 & 170)

11:00-12:00
Étienne Davodeau at NBM Booths (169 & 170)

1:00-2:00
Julian Voloj at NBM Booths (169 & 170)

1:30-2:30
Étienne Davodeau Spotlight: In conversation with Pascal Girard at The Pilot on 22 Cumberland Ave.

Étienne Davodeau has a long and venerated career in French comics, but his masterworks are only now beginning to appear in English. His 2014 release The Initiates, an autobiographical tale about a winemaker and comics artist who trade jobs for a year, topped many critics lists. Now in 2015 Davodeau releases the acclaimed Lulu Anew, a bestseller which inspired a feature film in France! Meet Davodeau as he converses with his former collaborator, Québécois cartoonist Pascal Girard (Reunion, Bigfoot) and moderator Thomas-Louis Côté, director of the Festival de la BD francophone à Québec in what is sure to be a wonderful discussion.

2:30-3:30
Étienne Davodeau book signing at Toronto Marriott Bloor Yorkville Hotel, 90 Bloor Street East

2:00-3:00
Margreet de Heer and Julian Voloj at NBM Booths (169 & 170)

2:30-3:30
Étienne Davodeau will do a signing at the Marriott

3:00-4:00
Julian Voloj at Toronto Reference Library, Learning Centre 1  at 789 Yonge Street

From Gangs to Hip Hop: The Story of Ghetto Brother
A look into the background of the fascinating non-fiction graphic novel Ghetto Brother, which tells the story of the 1971 gang truce that paved the way to the emergence of hip hop in the South Bronx. This is also the story of Benjy Melendez, a Puerto Rican immigrant and founder of the notorious gang “Ghetto Brothers” who, in environment dominated by drugs, poverty, and violence, promoted peace, not revenge, and after learning about his Crypto-Jewish background, reclaimed his roots. Photojournalist Julian Voloj explains how he unearthed the story and what source material was used to make this stranger-than-fiction tale as authentic as possible.
Introduction by Terry Nantier

4:00-5:00
Etienne Davodeau and Julian Voloj at NBM Booths (169 & 170)

SUNDAY

11:00-12:00
Margreet de Heer at NBM Booths (169 & 170)

11:15-12:00
Étienne Davodeau appearing on Truth & Intimacy in Graphic Memoir panel
Marriott Bloor-Yorkville Hotel, 90 Bloor St. East, Toronto
Autobiography and memoir are among the most popular genres of contemporary comics, and with good reason: the successful comics memoir renders its subjects explicitly, both textually and visually. In this medium where so little is left to the imagination, real experience may never have been so intimate, so “true.” In this feature presentation, moderator Johanna Draper Carlson (Comics Worth Reading) will interview four of the most acclaimed practitioners of contemporary comics memoir, to get at the root of what it’s like to put it all on the page. Featuring Dustin Harbin (Diary Comics), Étienne Davodeau (The Initiates), John Porcellino (King Cat), and Raina Telgemeier (Sisters).

12:00-2:00
Étienne Davodeau at NBM Booths (169 & 170)

2:00-4:00
Margreet de Heer at NBM Booths (169 & 170)

Appearing at TCAF: Julian Voloj

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This weekend, is TCAF,  The Toronto Comic Arts Festival, a celebration of comics and graphic novels and their creators.  The two-day exhibition and vendor fair features hundreds of comics creators from around the world.

NBM Publishing will be on hand with several of our creators, including Julian Voloj.

A German-born photographer and writer and, Julian Voloj explores aspects of identity and heritage in his work. In 2003 Julian Voloj was awarded with the Second Prize at the Washington Post Annual Photography Contest. Voloj’s photos appeared in various newspapers and magazines such as the New York Post, PresenTense Magazine, and the Brooklynite. In 2007, Voloj was commissioned by the Forward for the book A Living Lens, a book that Jonathan Safran Foer called “not only an amazing book, but an invaluable artifact and a work of art.” His photographs were shown in various venues in the US and Europe.

Now living in New York, Julian is attending TCAF in support of his graphic novel Ghetto Brother. The book was done in collaboration with illustrator Claudia Aherling.

Julian will be doing two special events as listed below:

Ghetto Brother: Reading & Conversation with author Julian Voloj
Thursday May 7th, 2015
7:30pm – 9:30pm
@ COBA Collective Of Black Artists, Daniels Spectrum 585 Dundas St E, Suite 130
Free Event, Register to Guarantee Seating: http://bit.ly/ghettobrother

Join graphic novelist Julian Voloj as he discusses his engrossing and counter view of one of the most dangerous elements of American urban history. Ghetto Brother tells the true story of Benjy Melendez, a Bronx legend, son of Puerto-Rican immigrants, who founded, at the end of the 1960s, the notorious Ghetto Brothers gang. Melendez also began to reclaim his Jewish roots after learning about his family’s dramatic crypto-Jewish background. 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.

Presented in partnership with the Miles Nadal JCC, Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario, and Be’chol Lashon.

On Saturday, May 9th, Julian will be speaking at the Toronto Reference Library, Learning Centre 1  at 789 Yonge Street from 3:00-4:00.

From Gangs to Hip Hop: The Story of Ghetto Brother
A look into the background of the fascinating non-fiction graphic novel Ghetto Brother, which tells the story of the 1971 gang truce that paved the way to the emergence of hip hop in the South Bronx. This is also the story of Benjy Melendez, a Puerto Rican immigrant and founder of the notorious gang “Ghetto Brothers” who, in environment dominated by drugs, poverty, and violence, promoted peace, not revenge, and after learning about his Crypto-Jewish background, reclaimed his roots. Photojournalist Julian Voloj explains how he unearthed the story and what source material was used to make this stranger-than-fiction tale as authentic as possible.
Introduction by Terry Nantier

 

For more details visit torontocomics.com