Forty one years ago, Terry Nantier launched NBM Graphic Novels, and recently sat down with The Comics Journal to discuss the company’s influence and longevity in the industry.
From the start, Terry Nantier envisioned a company that would publish European and American graphic novels. The company was ahead of the curve from the start in many ways. In the 1980s they were publishing archival reprints of Terry and the Pirates and translating Corto Maltese. The company has published some of Europe’s great artists, including Trondheim and Larcenet, Blain and Kerascoet, Bilal and Revel. They’ve been publishing The Louvre collection, including this year’s The Cross Eyed Mutt by Davodeau. The company has published a lot of Americans over the years, perhaps most notably Rick Geary, but also some of the best work of P. Craig Russell, not to mention Ted Rall, Neil Kleid, Rob Vollmar and Pablo Callejo, and the debut of Brooke Allen.
For the complete interview, click HERE.
Says The Onion AV Club on Geary’s Sacco & Vanzetti. And Jason Sacks of Comics Bulletin adds:
“If you know nothing about the trials of Sacco and Vanzetti, this book is a great introduction their story. If you know something about their trials, you should find this book a fascinating exploration of the case. And if you’ve never read anything by Geary, I think you’ll really enjoy the fascinating combination of objective reporting and personal artfulness that Rick Geary presents in this book.”
And on Trondheim’s Little Nothings 4:
“I thought this was the best volume since the first. This one features a bit more anxiety (a health scare) and a lot more action (many overseas trips). There’s a delightful mix of fussiness and craziness in his depiction of crossing through Death Valley on a journey from Las Vegas to San Francisco. What’s remarkable about the Little Nothings series is not its light tone and loose line; instead, it’s that Trondheim creates such a complex, rich, and visually exciting narrative environment for himself and his readers to explore.”
Rob Clough at The Comics Journal.
Publishers Weekly (need sub) has chosen our about-to-ship Bubbles & Gondola for its recommended list of “comics and graphic novels as gifts 2011”.
DUNGEON LOVERS!! Thanks to Taliesin for taking a jump and establishing a thread on CBR over the Dungeon series. Go over there and get in on the conversation if you’re a Dungeon lover. Keep him company! Encourage others to join in! Get the word out! We’re gettin’ tired of hearing how this is overlooked (the series sells well but should sell a lot better!)
Comic Book Resources presents a good background article after interviewing Rick Geary on his forthcoming Sacco & Vanzetti.
The Sky Over the Louvre gets this review on The Comics Journal site by the very hard to please R. Fiore:
“In this year that is good God already half over I don’t think there’s anything in comics that’s impressed me more.”
But then, he couldn’t resist this swipe:
“I don’t know if you pay any more attention than I do to the seemingly random selection of European comics that NBM brings out.”
We’re curious: anyone out there agree with this? (Or disagree?)
We feel like we’ve focused our publishing considerably in the last 5-10 years and while we don’t have a ‘house style’ and proudly never will, we’ve concentrated on literary works, humor and parody of genre, steering away from genres themselves…
“This is probably my favorite of the Monstres stories, because it works on a number of levels. A new reader could come in and understand most of the story beats with little difficulty. The Monstres series is essential reading for any fan of the world that Trondheim & Sfar create. As always, this is genre work at its best: intelligent, witty, thrilling, visually interesting, at times emotionally wrenching, and in possession of both affection for fantasy and a healthy dose of humor about its ridiculousness.’
says Rob Clough at The Comics Journal about the latest Dungeon: Monstres vol.4.
A brilliant overview of all 4 of our Louvre collection graphic novels from Karen Green, Columbia University’s Ancient/Medieval Studies Librarian and Graphic Novel selector: “Four Nights in the Museum”:
“What a great idea, eh?!? Setting comics creators loose in the Louvre, and then letting a story come to them that is inspired by the works they come across. This is so much cooler an initiative than anything the Metropolitan Museum of Art has ever done; even their superheroes exhibition at the Costume Institute was far more informed by superhero movies than by the actual comics themselves. It’s true that comics have a more respectable reputation in France than they have in America, but still: one of the premiere cultural institutions in the WORLD decided that it would be a great idea to create a “lasting bridge” between their artworks and the world of comics–and their readers. That’s just huge.”
Also this review:
“Set solidly in the very heart of a moment of epochal historical importance, this is a stunning and utterly compulsive tale of humanity at its wildest extremes when grand ideals wedded themselves to the basest on bestial impulses, yet from that Yslaire and Carrière have crafted a magnificently realised tale laced with staggering detail and addictive emotion.”
Now Read This! on Sky Over the Louvre
Eric Hobbs’ and Noel Tuazon’s The Broadcast picks up more reviews and interviews:
The Gutter Geek at The Comics Journal had this rave:
“Mature, original, and deeply thoughtful. Takes advantage of the unique affordances of the comics medium to tell a complex tale interweaving several sets of characters and individual dramas with minimal dialogue and remarkably little explication.
This is a script that was worked to death and then edited to the bone until it said the raftful of things it had to say without ever seeming to try. This is art that was similarly worked down to its fundamental essentials so that it comes to us as if still in the pencil rough stage even as every panel shows how much care and thought has gone into every line. This is good comics.”
And then Jared Gardner there, bless his soul, goes on to make us all mushy:
“The Broadcast is published by NBM as part of their “ComicsLit” series, which has brought us such significant books in recent years as Bluesman, Lewis Trondheim’s Little Nothings, and Rick Geary’s Treasury of XXth Century Murder series. While not everything coming out of this series has measured up to the level of The Broadcast, everything they publish shows dedication and determination to do right by comics and their readers. Even as other publishers increasingly seem to be chasing after the movie deal, NBM seems to be putting editorial standards and a devotion to the form first. And so when I learned that The Broadcast was in fact attracting Hollywood attentions, I thought (contrary to my usual first response to such chatter), it couldn’t happen to a more deserving book or publisher.”
Broken Frontier has another interview of Eric.
“Consistenly excellent! If you missed any of the previous volumes in this great series, this is a good place to jump in.”
“After 9 years, Richard Moore is bringing the Boneyard
series to a conclusion, but you can still get in on the fun with volume 7. And don’t worry if you haven’t read the previous 6: it’s easy to catch on to the characters and the story in this volume is complete in itself.
It’s hilariously funny and constantly inventive: you really never know what’s going to happen when you turn the page. The main character, Michael Paris, is a regular guy who inherited a cemetery or “boneyard” from his grandfather. He was planning to sell the property but became attached to the inhabitants—which include an extremely shapely vampire named Abby, a demon named Glumph who has a thing for Star Trek, a hipster werewolf named Ralph, a talking raven named Edgar and a stogie-smoking skeleton named Sid.”
“Eric Hobbs and Noel Tuazon transcend their rote milieu and create a genuine humdinger of a thriller.
It really is a nifty little what if scenario. One that is easily imaginable. Hobbs does a great bit of character set up before the broadcast starts and introduces the radio play in such a way that he barely even quotes it. It is a genius bit of writing.”
For the Axe-Man of New Orleans
by Rick Geary
, Rob Clough at the The Comics Journal
“There’s a sense in which Rick Geary is the most accomplished horror artist working today. It’s just that the horrors he chooses to delve into are real and all the more terrifying for it. His Murder Treasury
series fascinates because of the way Geary is able to get at the heart of a particular time and place and figure out why a particular killing or killings so disturbed the equilibrium of a community. Geary, in a style that is at once both restrained and visceral, creates a narrative that is genuinely disturbing in its lack of resolution. The “Axe-Man” killings struck a nerve not just because of their seeming randomness, but because of the weird, lingering details of the crimes.
The juxtaposition between the party atmosphere of New Orleans and the creeping paranoia that the murders engendered was the initial pull of the story, but it was Geary’s focus on mundane details that ultimately contributed to The Axe-Man of New Orleans lingering uneasily in the imagination long after reading it.”
The latest on Greg Houston’s recent GN Elephant Man comes from Sequential Tart:
“As a broad parody of Superman, I thought this first issue was spot on. I thought the humor in Elephant Man was great, the writing is definitely the comic’s strongest asset. The over-the-top dialogue was outstanding, particularly the rants of Handsome Dirk. All the characters are ludicrously drawn and really matched well with the humor. My favorite side characters were the Big Hair Tough Girls.”
Grade: 7 out of 10.
The Gutter Geek blog at The Comics Journal says:
“In the end, the book is little more than an extended Kurtzman-and-Elder-era-Mad magazine spoof on superhero comics, but who needs more than that. And Houston’s line work, which crackles with just a little bit of genuine crazy on top of the rigorously enforced wackiness, is a frenetic and occasionally grotesque delight. Houston suggests on the cover that this might well be the first in a series. I suspect he is joking, but I will confess I am kind of hoping he means it.”
Rob Clough, elsewhere at The Comics Journal said:
“There isn’t much that’s subtle about Greg Houston’s new comic from NBM, Elephant Man #1, and I don’t think the artist would have it any other way.”
But he regretted that: “I would have preferred more time being spent on the oddities of Baltimore, like The Big Hair Tough Girls. These ass-kicking donut shop workers are exactly the sort of thing Houston does best: a loving caricature of something ridiculous and unpleasant. The Ralph Steadman/Bill Plympton/Mort Drucker qualities to his line remained in full effect, as the reader was rewarded on page after page with funny & gross drawings. This is a comic to be looked at more than to be read, other than for conceptual context.”
“Graylight is an excellent example of how flamboyance can enhance, rather than impair, a convoluted, magical story. Nowak may not explain everything in the story, but her generous visuals invite the reader to suppose what Graylight is in their own fashion, whether it be a romantic phantasmagoria or a subtle, spell-ridden myth.”
And Ian Burns on the Comics Journal site provides probably the best explanation of Nowak’s complex graphic novel which beckons you to decipher its many angles…
“The pleasures of Uneasy Happiness are small ones: seeing a fine cartoonist articulate a feeling you’ve had yourself, watching him stumble through the confusing bits of life as we all do, occasionally vicariously living the life of a famous cartoonist through him. It’s likely to be far too quiet and contemplative for most habitual readers of North American comics — but, then, that’s only their loss.”
Andrew Wheeler on Little Nothings 3
“It’s White’s line that makes the story work. His figures look like a cross between Bob Fingerman and Bryan Lee O’Malley, with oversized heads and big eyes on the men, and sexier features on the women. There’s even a touch of Dan DeCarlo at work here in features like Rick’s nose. The pale orange wash adds to the sickly quality of the story’s visuals, reinforcing that sense of deterioration. Cleverly-designed and executed work. It doesn’t overstay its welcome in terms of length, it’s clearly told and darkly humorous. ”
Rob Clough, The Comics Journal on Things Undone.