Category Archives: Reviews – NBM

Whiz Kid

The True Death of Billy the Kid original hardcover graphic novel
Writer/Artist/Letters/Cover artist: Rick Geary
Publisher: NBM Publishing
Price: $15.99 US

Cartoonist Rick Geary has a strong reputation for his focus on historical subject matter. After reading this graphic novel, I can see it’s a well-earned reputation. Geary approaches the subject matter dispassionately, offering the facts and various theories about a story that’s rooted both in history and in legend. Despite the matter-of-fact, impartial presentation here, Geary nevertheless conveys the incredible drama, personality and action that have made William H. Bonney one of the most fascinating and noted figures in the history of the American West. My past exposures to Billy the Kid have been mainly through fiction, and I’m surprised to see how many elements from history made it into those aspects of pop culture.

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Frequent Flyer Smiles

Little Nothings Vol. 4: My Shadow in the Distance graphic novel
Writer/Artist/Cover artist: Lewis Trondheim
Translation: Joe Johnson
Publisher: NBM Publishing
Price: $14.99 US

As someone who loves the medium of comics and has been writing about them for years, I’m obviously familiar with Lewis Trondheim’s name, but I have to confess, this is the first time I’ve sat down and read his work. I honestly didn’t know what to expect from him, but now that I have, I know what to expect next: I expect I’ll be reading more of his comics. This collection of one-page, slice-of-life cartoons are eminently relatable, and the universality of Trondheim’s ‘toons becomes even more apparent when one considers this book is a translation of work originally crafted and presented in French. Loosely linked by a theme of the creator’s international travels, the book definitely reads better in shorter spurts. There’s not much in the way of an overarching plotline to provide a stronger connection and flow. Nevertheless, Trondheim’s honesty about the fleeting, neurotic thoughts that pass through his mind at any given moment is as touching as his ability to poke fun at his little foibles. As for his approach to the character designs, his intent is clear. The book is about exposing common human experience, and the simple designs reinforce the relatability of the work, allowing the reader to insert himself or herself into each situation.

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Eye on the Eisners: Salvatore

The nominees for the 2011 Eisner Awards were announced recently, and as I made my way through the list of comics and creators in the running, I realized there were a number of books included that were in my sights for reviews. I don’t plan on reviewing every Eisner-nominated comic — and couldn’t, given time and financial constraints — but I thought it would be nice to publish the occasional Eisner-related review leading up to the presentation of the awards at this year’s Comic-Con International San Diego in late July. First up for my “Eye on the Eisners” series of reviews is an English translation of a French work — Salvatore Vol. 1: Transports of Love — nominated in the Best U.S. Edition of International Material category.

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O, My Scars and Garters

The Story of O hardcover graphic novel
Writer: Pauline Reage
Artist/Adaptation: Guido Crepax
Publisher: NBM Publishing/Eurotica imprint
Price: $24.95 US

NBM Publishing sent along this attractive hardcover reprint of artist Guido Crepax’s adaptation of a classic piece of erotic literature for review, and since I’d heard of The Story of O but had never read it, I was more than happy to take a look. And after all, I’m a guy, and men in general aren’t exactly known for their aversion to pornography. And make no mistake… this comics adaptation of the well-known 1950s French erotica is porn. Almost every individual scene is titillating and will no doubt give way to arousal in many readers. On that level, the Italian comics artist succeeds with this tribute. However, when it comes to actual storytelling, his take on The Story of O is disappointing. There’s no sense of flow from one scene to another, and at times, from one panel to another. The eroticism of the book is hindered by confusion. Of course, I have to admit that another reason the book didn’t win me over is because I found the characters’ behavior off-putting. Don’t get me wrong… I love sex, but after reading this book, it’s clear to me that sadism and masochism aren’t for me. I found O’s complete submission and supposed love for a man who puts her through difficult ordeals to be too extreme. (Warning: NSFW)

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