This graphic novel about Sartre’s life is being published in the US by NBM, in a pessimistic era and in a global political context that, in short, can be described as worrying and freedom-destroying. “The story of a life is the story of a failure”. Sartre was amused by his own irony in writing that we are constantly running after that which makes us incoherent, dissatisfied, incomplete beings: desire.
However Sartre and his existentialism were not pessimistic. It was important to me to show his full personality in this graphic novel. His entire life was crossed by desires; as incoherent and misunderstood as they might be by his contemporaries as well as the reader of today. These days I appreciate more his partner Simone de Beauvoir and her work as a feminist, but at that time I wanted to continue to develop my thoughts and writings on him.
In 2011 at 23 years old, I graduated in Contemporary Philosophy at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, the school where Sartre also studied. This field of study “Contemporary Philosophy” inncludes philosophy which followed the great revolutions in thinking by Nietzsche, Marx and Freud, to today. My thesis I defended was on Sartre’s attraction to psychoanalysis. This attraction is a story of love and hate; as a thinker of his time, Sartre wanted to go deeper into the Freud-Marxist legacy. He was extremely interested in one of the most important revolutions in the XIXth century. He was excited and afraid of the idea that the human psyche comes with a dark zone called “the unconscious”, and we finally acquired the tools to explore it, like a new language or a forgotten Atlantis.
Sartre was deeply attracted by this perspective, only it was impossible for him to admit that this unconscious is ruling us, deciding things for us, driving us with dreams and Freudian slips. I wanted to look at the reason why. Sartre actually strongly believed that human beings are ALWAYS free and that they only decide for themselves, alone. This counteraction between the two concepts of unconscious and freedom haunted him his whole life. He never underwent psychoanalysis himself but instead wrote several books about artists and writers to vicariously experience the analysis process. These writings he poetically called “existential psychoanalysis”. He published texts and essays about Baudelaire (Baudelaire), Jean Genet (Saint Genet, Actor and Martyr), Tintoretto (The Sequestered of Venice), Gustave Flaubert (The Family Idiot)… and himself (The Words).
We could criticize him for being so stubborn to the point of writing an unreadable 3000 pages on Flaubert to “psychoanalyze” him and therefore completely avoid the main concept of psychoanalysis. Ironically, he came to the same conclusion as Freud; a psychoanalysis is endless (even if not useless). Maybe he pursued the question of the unconsciousness not out of intellectual curiosity but fear. Sartre was approaching death at the time of the writing of this colossal book and was using many destructive drugs. It was also the time when he missed the ’68 revolution in Paris and was accused by the youth of being a bourgeois writer; an intellectual who stayed in his comfy office writing on lofty issues while the streets were on fire.
As he was emphatically defending freedom he did indeed forget his privileged social milieu (born in the tony Saint-Germain-des-Prés, he received the best education possible). How then, could he dare to say that violence can be justified, if its noble aim is to defend freedom? Or that a slave somehow always has a choice, even if the only one way of escaping is in thought?
This graphic novel definitely does not solve these complex philosophical-political problems. My aim was to make them visible by showing the man behind these strong ideas and inconsistencies. “The little man” as his “amour nécessaire”, Simone de Beauvoir, called him affectionately. He was a stubborn man who loved life and people. An Epicurean who loved to travel and party. A radical artist who only used drugs for philosophy and not for literature, as literature had to stay “pure”.
While criticizing him, we could also give him credit where credit is due. As a young writer, I admit that I was charmed by his obsession for freedom, his relationship with Simone de Beauvoir and their many famous friends. In Sartre, I wanted to show the sexy and sometimes dirty back-stages, distilling anecdotes that are least well-known about him and Simone de Beauvoir. Also to show that it is not completely hopeless to cling to the defense of all kinds of freedoms, even at a time when the world seems to draw the outlines of an existential prison.
See the new Sartre book and stay tuned for artist Anais Depommier’s tour starting next week!
NBM Graphic Novels is proud to announce the release schedule through Winter 2018, including brand new biographies of Sartre by Mathilde Ramadier & Anais Depommier, Monet by Efa & Salva Rubio, and Billy The Kid by Rick Geary, as well as new releases by Cyril Pedrosa, T.J. Kirsch, Kerascoet & Fabien Vehlmann, and Sean Michael Wilson & Michiru Morikawa.
In addition, we’re reprinting two important titles to the history of the company. The Mercenary by Vicente Segrelles was the first fully painted fantasy series when it was originally released in the mid-Eighties and one of NBM’s best selling series, will be reprinted in it’s entirety with 14 volumes released on a quarterly basis, in handsome keepsake quarterbound editions with breathtaking reproduction overseen by Segrelles himself.
Also being reissued is the fully painted Streak of Chalk by Miguelanxo Prado, which not only inaugurated NBM’s Comics Lit line, but also was recognized for elevating graphic narrative storytelling when it was originally released in 1994.
Mathilde Ramadier & Anais Depommier
For some he was the philosopher of existentialism, for others the constant provocateur, the politically engaged author, the uncertain militant, the repenting bourgeois, the life companion of Simone de Beauvoir… From his first readings in the Luxembourg Garden to his refusal of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Jean Paul Sartre was all of this at the same time.
8×11, 160 pp., color HC, $27.99, ISBN 9781681121017, e-book: $9.99
STREAK OF CHALK
On the occasion of NBM’s 40th anniversary, this Eisner and Harvey Award Nominee classic is back in print! A small streak of an island in the Atlantic. On no map. In heavy summer heat. One general store with a woman and her taciturn boy. A lighthouse with no light. Memories and messages graffitied on the pier wall. A chance encounter with a beautiful elusive woman. A Murder. Or was it? Nothing seems completely real. Only the graffitied memories are constant.
A mysterious multifaceted novel steeped in magical realism that can be read a number of ways, Streak of Chalk is one of Spain’s best comics authors’ magnum opus, and one of the greatest most pioneering graphic novels NBM ever published.
9×12, 88pp., full color hardcover, $19.99, ISBN 9781681121161
PRIDE OF THE DECENT MAN
In a sleepy New England town, Andrew Peters is born into an abusive family. As he grows older, he seems to be on the right track, using writing as his outlet – but his best friend Whitey is always around pulling him in the opposite direction. Andrew eventually lands himself in prison, and shortly thereafter, learns he has a daughter. The shock resolves him to a path of redemption and an attempt to live his life as a decent man.
6×9, 96pp., full color hc, $19.99, ISBN 9781681121208, e-book: $8.99
MONET: Itinerant of Light
Efa (artist), Salva Rubio (writer)
The life of the great French painter, one of the founders of Impressionism, is narrated in lush comic art reminiscent of his style. From the Salon des Refuses (“Salon of the Rejected”) and many struggling years without recognition, money and yet a family to raise, all the way to great success, critically and financially, Monet pursued insistently one vision: catching the light in painting, refusing to compromise on this ethereal pursuit. It cost him dearly but he was a beacon for his contemporaries. We discover in this comics biography how he came to this vision as well as his turbulent life pursuing it.
9×12, 112pp., full color hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 9781681121390, e-book: $9.99
THE MERCENARY The Definitive Editions
Vol.1 The Cult of the Sacred Fire
On the occasion of its 40th anniversary, NBM is proud to bring back one of its bestselling series ever, amongst the world’s first highly realistic fully painted comics. Brought back in even better reproduction than ever with all-new scans of the original paintings overseen by the master himself and presented in handsome large quarterbound collectors editions. Each panel could be a painting on your wall! These volumes will take your breath away.
In a lost and long forgotten valley high up in the mountains, The Mercenary has been contracted to save a woman from the mysterious and powerful Cult of the Sacred Fire! Each volume is complemented with articles at the back about the history and the making of this series over its gloried decades-long history.
9×12, 64pp., full color quarterbound hc, $17.99, ISBN 9781681121246, e-book: $9.99
Kerascoet, Fabien Vehlmann
Charlotte – aka Charlie – a pretty redhead, sets up an expedition to find her brother. The young scientist, who disappeared underground several months ago, claimed – to everyone’s astonishment – to be able to prove the existence of Hell by using Darwin’s theory of evolution! The little group, led by Charlie, plunge underground in his pursuit. The deeper they progress into the entrails of our planet, the more they enter another world that hides other forms of life heretofore never experienced. The discovery changes them gradually in a way they cannot perceive…
Publishers Weekly Top Ten pick for the Fall!
“Another sumptuously illustrated adventure into horror by the creators of Beautiful Darkness.”
9×12, 128pp., color hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 9781681121437, e-book: $9.99
Including Beauty and Miss Don’t Touch Me
Specially priced set reuniting two perennially popular books with art by the amazing duo under the Kerascoet name.
In Beauty, When Coddie unintentionally delivers a fairy from a spell that held her prisoner, she does not realize how poisoned the wish is she gets in return. From repulsive and stinking of fish she becomes perceived as magnetically beautiful, which does not help her in her village. A young local lord saves her but soon it becomes apparent her destiny may be far greater.
In Miss Don’t Touch Me, The ‘Butcher of the Dances’ is on the prowl for young loose women. Blanche works as a maid along with the only family she knows, her sister, fun-loving Agatha. Suddenly, Blanche loses her to what she saw was murder but others only write off as suicide. She decides to take matters into her own hands.
2 book banded set, 344pp. full color hardcovers, specially priced at $55, ISBN 9781681121147
A TREASURY OF VICTORIAN MURDER COMPENDIUM I Paperback Edition
Including Jack The Ripper, The Beast of Chicago and The Fatal Bullet
In this first omnibus volume from Geary’s increasingly storied Treasuries of Murder: the first trilogy of murders that made up the very first volume of this series, Jack the Ripper as only he can narrate it, The Beast of Chicago about H.H. Holmes, possibly the first serial murderer with chilling methodical means and The Fatal Bullet about the assassination of president James Garfield.
6×9, 288pp., B&W trade paperback, $19.99 ISBN PB: 9781681121383
From the author of the acclaimed Equinoxes comes a return to roots that serves as spiritual renewal. Comics artist Simon Muchat is stuck. Suffering writer’s block, uninspired, vegetating as a school art teacher, he is losing direction and his taste for life, until one day he is invited to appear at a comics convention in Portugal, the country his family came from and which he hadn’t seen since his childhood. The experience proves cathartic. Even though he is not Portuguese himself and is a foreigner there, so many elements are familiar to him. Meeting its lively citizens, full of the zest for life, his distant yet welcoming family bringing back fond early memories, all prove reinvigorating, the breath of fresh air he so badly needed.
Based on his own experience, Pedrosa narrates this return to his roots in a deeply compelling and warmly human way. This is his bestselling graphic novel with over 100,000 copies sold in France and a winner of many prizes including Best Graphic Novel at the Angouleme Festival and FNAC Best GN.
9×12, 264pp., full color hardcover, $39.99, ISBN 9781681121475, e-book: $9.99
THE MERCENARY The Definitive Editions
Vol. 2 The Formula
Continuing the full reprint of the classic series in breathtaking reproduction and handsome keepsake quarterbound editions. The graphic novel series that set comics on a new path!
The Mercenary embarks on one of his most perilous journeys ever as he tries to stop an unscrupulous alchemist who has stolen a highly dangerous mysterious formula.
Each volume is complemented with articles at the back about the history and the making of this series over its gloried decades-long history.
9×12, 64pp., full color quarterbound hc, $17.99, ISBN 9781681121284, e-book: $9.99
BREAKING THE TEN Vol. 2
Sean Michael Wilson and Michiru Morikawa
David becomes increasingly more desperate, with his extreme behaviour causing fights with everyone who cares for him: with the devilish Mr Black and the saintly Mr White and even with his loving parents. But his quest goes on, driving him to break the rest of the 10 commandments in order to draw out the elusive divinity to face a grief stricken man. Until, finally, he is faced with the most serious commandment all: ‘Thou shalt not kill.’
Will he do it? Or will God stop him?
6×9, 112pp., B&W trade pb., $12.99, ISBN 9781681121178, e-book: $7.99
THE INITIATES: Paperback Edition
The sold out hardcover now in paperback. Etienne Davodeau is a comic artist. He doesn’t know much about the world of wine-making.
Richard Leroy is a wine-maker. He’s rarely even read comics.
But these two are full of good will and curiosity. Why do we choose to spend one’s life writing and creating comics or producing wine? How and for whom do we do them?
To answer these questions, for more than a year, Etienne went to work in Richard’s vineyards and cellar. Richard, in return, leapt into the world of comics. They opened a lot of bottles and read many comics. They traveled around, meeting authors and wine-makers sharing their passion for their jobs.
The first time a book explores the nature of a man’s vocation with a true life representation of it from two very different perspectives. They get to realize they both have that precious and necessary power to bring people together.
With guest appearances by Trondheim (Dungeon, Little Nothings), Emmanuel Guibert (The Photographer) and Marc-Antoine Matthieu (Museum Vaults).
8×11, 272pp., B&W trade pb: $19.99 ISBN 9781681121338
THE TRUE DEATH OF BILLY THE KID
‘Being an authentic narrative of the final days in Billy the Kid’s brief and turbulent life.’ One of our folk legends of the great Wild West, William H. Bonney went from cowboy and gunslinger for a rancher to pure outlawry forever dodging justice in New Mexico when it wasn’t even a state. On the one hand, he was charming, fun-loving –often at social events like dances-, quite appealing to the ladies. Also conversant in Spanish, “Billito” was popular with the Spanish speaking crowd. On the other hand, he had no compunction to coldly kill a man, a sheriff, a deputy, anyone who got in his way rustling cattle or horses for an illicit living. He also proved hard to keep in jail even when caught.
It is probably his feats of derring-do escaping from jails that made him most famous and this is the main subject of this biography following him until he is shot in pitch darkness by lawmen obsessed with getting rid of him.
6×9, 56pp., B&W hardcover, $15.99, ISBN 9781681121345, e-book: $6.99