The first NBM comic book I ever read was called Streak of Chalk. It was an European graphic novel by Italian cartoonist Miguelanxo Prado about a group of people living on a small island affected by a murder and a mysterious and elusive woman. It was a beautifully painted graphic novel well translated and showing to an North American audience the best that Europe had to offer to comic book enthusiast on our side of the Atlantic. For the following years, I perceived NBM as the American company that translated European comic books. But NBM Publishing is more than that. Over the years, I’ve discovered several comics from the publisher founded in 1976 by Terry Nantier and other associates.
NBM introduced North American to European comics outside of the realm of Heavy Metal but also pioneered a unique voice where they actually took risks publishing a diverse library of titles to this day. At NBM, you will find a erotic comics next to a children’s line called PapercutZ. In between you will find loads of European Comics of all genres, and many literary titles known under the ComicsLit collection. NBM also ventures in prose and fiction books. They’ve supported cartoonist Ted Rall, while most of America called him a traitor for his criticism of former President George W. Bush after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Nowadays, almost a decade later, it’s easy to see the mistakes that administration did. But it took more guts to stand behind a maverick cartoonist back then. One of my favourite NBM book is by Ted Rall and is called the Silk Road to Ruin. It’s a perfect book if you’re looking to learn about the central Eurasian republics that used to be part of the Soviet Union. Name me one comic book publisher that publishes books that can be used in the classroom as text books by academics and university students not in a literary survey function?
NBM doesn’t do comics like other comic book publishers. They take chances and often that quality has not been celebrated enough by comic book fans. Here we have a publisher that offers real diversity, yet for some reason they are outside of the plugged networks of comic book punditry and often their valiant efforts ignored. As a grad student, I have to say that beyond and above every other comic book publisher that I know about, NBM is the one that publishes the kind of books that make my brain work the most.
At the same time NBM also publishes high octane series like Wake, the story of a Earth woman living in space with aliens from all over the universe. The series is full of action and dynamic situations and “kills” and big guns. It’s one of my favourite. It’s over the top. I also like Dungeon, that cult series that introduced a new school of comic book creators in France with their own voices and smart discussions. Yet Dungeon is easy to read, although it will you think and laugh. The translation is of course excellent and although I can read French perfectly – duh – I only collect Dungeon in English now, because I’m hooked on the version produced by NBM.
Often as comic book readers, we are jaded and ready to move on to something else. If we don’t find anything else, we often leave the hobby completely. Well, publishers like NBM exist to provide jaded readers new opportunities for growth and entertainment at almost every level. NBM has been publishing comic books and graphic novels for so long that I will bet that they have something in their repertoire that’s suitable for you. This month at The Comic Book Bin, we are exploring some of that unique and vast repertoire. It’s NBM Month at The Comic Book Bin. This has been possible thanks to publisher Terry Nantier, publicist Marc Mason and the Bin’s very own managing editor Patrick Bérubé. We’re hoping to impress you, and let you discover one the best hidden gem of the comic book industry.