Best of 2011

That time of year and we got so far NPR, Graphic Novel Reporter and Fearnet + a late last minute addition… not bad:

First, NPR’s Monkey See put Stargazing Dog in their top list. From the initial review:

“Throughout, the dog remains steadfastly loyal, his expression largely unchanged from the eager, hopelessly-in-love dog-smile you see there on the cover. That’s what Murakami’s getting at: the resiliency of the bond tying us to dogs, and them to us, and how it provides a blissfully uncomplicated comfort amid our increasingly complicated lives.”

Graphic Novel Reporter’s John Hogan puts our Sky Over the Louvre in his bhest of 2011 list: “A beautiful combination of art and story.”

Fearnet puts Geary’s Sacco & Vanzetti on their list: “proves the master of drolly impish cartooning hasn’t lost his touch, as it presents a pair of protagonists (anarchists, no less) strangely sympathetic in their relevancy to today’s world.”

And this latest news: Alan David Doane at Trouble with Comics puts 2 of ours out of his top ten books for 2011! Little Nothings 4 and Geary’s Sacco & Vanzetti.

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No Flying, No Tights, TCJ.com, Robot 6: howzat for company?

No Flying No Tights, the site popular with Libraries for reviews of graphic novels has become quite active again. Two reviews of NBM’s books in November to note:

Here’s what they say On Trondheim’s Little Nothings: “The humor is gentle and understated, full of appreciation for quiet moments, personal reflection, and self-deprecation. While each page could be considered a separate gag the effect is nothing like reading a collection of newspaper strips. Part of the reason is that the author is comfortable with letting a final moment on the page simply exist without ending, leaving you with a quiet smile and not locked in to that beat-beat-pause-punchline form that American comic strips slavishly follow. The book is an extremely easy read. You find moments that will make you think as well as plenty of moments that will make you smile. This isn’t a book that goes for the guffaw but rather the knowing wink. Readers will recognize these Little Nothings as moments that everyone has in their life, but it takes someone like Trondheim make us to realize how much we all should be paying more attention to them.”

 Of course, Little Nothings continues to be a once a week feature on this blog.

They also commented on Geary’s Sacco & Vanzetti: “Any book in Geary’s Murder series (A Treasury of XXth Century Murder or A Treasury of Victorian Murder) would be a great read for any teen or adult interested in historical fiction or true crime stories. His books are always meticulously researched and reported and his writing style is never dry – always lively and engaging. Mistaken identity, false imprisonment, doubt on both sides fill all of Rick’s stories to the point that the reader realizes that maybe they never really can know what truly happened.”

Speaking of Libraries: College & Research Library News also commented on Saco & Vanzetti in their November issue: “With a precise eye for detail and the ability to summarize a complex case with remarkable conciseness, Geary sets the standard for graphic historical narrative.”

TCJ.com is excited about our P. Craig Russell Opera set out this week.

And CBR’s Robot 6 is excited about our announcement of ROHAN AT THE LOUVRE, the next in the Louvre series, being solicited now in comics stores for February release.

John Hodgman on Dungeon + more press

“The companionship of Daddy and his dog stands for something that is attainable in our lives — even in an era when so many other dreams are being dashed. No wonder this book resonated so much in its native land.”

Seattle Post Intelligencer on Stargazing Dog

“Geary works his magic once again. This would be an excellent choice for schools and libraries looking for literary graphic novels, for teachers who want to spark discussion of the case, and for any teens looking for an enthralling nonfiction read.”

School Library Journal on Geary’s Sacco & Vanzetti.

TV Personality John Hodgman (The Daily Show) has some nice things to say about our series Dungeon over at Newsarama.

Happy Gobble Gobble.

Miami Herald on Geary: give credit to his writing also!

“It is the perfect book to enjoy on a quiet evening, preferably with a dog by your side. And chances are you’ll wind up taking your dog for a walk afterwards, pondering what you’ve just read as you gaze up at the starry sky above you.”

No Flying No Tights on Stargazing Dog

“With an artistic style recalling Herriman’s Krazy Kat and a fanciful imagination evoking St. Exupery’s simple, elegant flights of whimsy, Dillies takes his audience on a strange trip through Charlie’s fears and inadequacies. Billed as an all-ages book, the plot and narration are simple yet crafty, the real storytelling technique coming through in the visuals. Dillies’ transitions are particularly slick, as he moves between the real world of Charlie’s humdrum, lonely existence and the vast, dreamlike realms of his burgeoning imagination.”
Broken Frontier on Bubbles & Gondola

The Miami Herald on Geary’s Sacco & Vanzetti:

“Geary is almost universally praised for his stylish and crafty art, with extreme attention to detail and dead-on historical depiction of characters and settings. Sadly overlooked, however, is his writing. He’s often deadpan and hilarious but in the latest entry in his current series, A Treasury of XXth Century Murder, he masterfully organizes the story surrounding the infamous 1920 murder, subsequent trials and ongoing controversies into a highly readable and fascinating package. His art, as always, is ceaselessly expressive and charming, but let’s also give credit to this modern American master as one whose complete craft is at its peak.”

Cat Lovers on Stargazing Dog + more

Two cat lovers on this dog’s tale, The Stargazing Dog that is:

“I may be a cat person, but I am certainly not immune to the touching tale of a good-hearted and grateful dog who is faithful to his master until the very end. Poignant.”

Manga Bookshelf

“I was surprised, really, at how much I got sucked in by this book, especially because I’m a cat person. But the universality of Daddy and the dog’s tale works no matter who you are. Recommended.”

says Marc Mason at Comics Waiting Room.

And Playback:Stl makes a good point on Sacco & Vanzetti:

 “In this increasingly xenophobic and classist era, Geary does us all a service with this stylish reprise of their case.”

Kinky & Cosy, you either hate or love it:

“Now this is the kind of crazy crap I like to see in my comic strips. Arson, didlo jokes, cripple jokes, Fair Trade ripping, addressing the issue of violence in schools in an insensitive manner — all this and more is within the pages of Kinky and Cosy, from the Belgian comic strip from writer/artist, Nix. You’re pretty much going to have to toss all your self-righteousness out the window because if you don’t, you’ll just get offended and end up missing something that is cute, funny, and disturbing all rolled up into the form of two twin girls who get into their own brand of trouble.”

Comics Bulletin, giving it 4 bullets (it’ll take more than that to kill’em). The very same goes on to critique Bubbles & Gondola:

“This is an awfully charming book. Renaud Dillies is a wonderful artist, able to capture the intense and sweet fairy-tale life that Charlie the Mouse lives in, a world of bright colors, intense emotions and frustrating disappointments.”

Publishers Weekly starred review for Stargazing Dog + Teacher Librarian on Sacco

“Offers some profound insight on the human condition (by way of the canine condition) without being too sweet or sappy.”

Says Publishers Weekly of Stargazing Dog in a second starred review in just a few weeks for NBM’s graphic novels. The other recent one was for Bubbles & Gondola.

“We have been really zeroing in on absolutely the best GNs to  publish or we simply won’t bother,” says NBM Publisher Terry Nantier. “These two out of the park just show the results of our focus. If it’s from NBM, you simply can’t afford to miss it!” Stargazing Dog is already close to selling out of its 1st print run in just a few weeks.

“Were Vanzetti and Sacco murderers or victims of judicial prejudice?  Either way, their case definitely said something about the America they called home. Geary’s historical mysteries always sparkle with clarity, both in the artwork and plot, and in this book he also resists the urge to decide that one side was right, all while giving the reader the most up-to-date information possible.”

Teacher Librarian

“it is not often a graphic novel can bring me to tears”

2 reviews on Stargazing Dog:

“It’s not often a graphic novel can bring me to tears. “Stargazing Dog,” by Takashi Murakami, did just that.

There is something positive to take from this. I admit I found the first part so emotionally wrenching that it took me two weeks to force myself to read the second part. But afterward the story kept bubbling up in my thoughts, demanding that I think about it, learn something from it.

And as America suffers its own economic doldrums, “Stargazing Dog” has a lot to teach.”

Capt. Comics Andrew Smith of Scripps Howard News Service.

“It’s bittersweet, but I appreciated that it didn’t take the easy way out.  It’s hard to keep from finding yourself entranced by Happie [the dog] as he goes from good to bad situation but still has that upbeat canine spirit.”

says Read About Comics

“Lewis Trondheim is one of the greatest living cartoonists. It’s not even an argument. His work is immediately accessible, profoundly universal, and deeply hilarious. When he makes you laugh (and he will), it’s not just a sight-gag or well-observed human foible. It’s that you are so invested in his character and his world that it’s as if you are laughing at yourself, because in a way, you are. I can’t think of anyone in comics other than Charles Schulz who so brilliantly and intuitively understood human nature and conveyed it and depicted it as well as Trondheim does.”

Trouble with Comics on Little Nothings 4, still getting reviews months later and still a feature on this blog every Monday.

Speaking of  books still getting reviews, the panelists give another rave for Geary’s Sacco & Vanzetti.