When you look at the list of comics publishers who have stayed the course throughout decades of tumultuous changes in distribution and audience, one most usually thinks of Archie, Marvel and DC. Only a bare handful of publishers have even lasted even from the 80s, including Dark Horse and Fantagraphics. But there’s one company that’s older than either that we often forget. And that’s a mistake.
NBM was one of the first publishers to bring European comics to the US, including work by Enki Bilal and Hugo Pratt, as well as quality reprints of comics strips. And they continue on today with great work by Trondheim, Sfar, Davodeau, and Goetzinger, as well as new and emerging cartoonists such as Patrick Atangan and more. PLUS they published the amazing Victorian murders series by Rick Geary. And P. Craig Russell’s opera adaptations. And and and. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Publisher Terry Nantier is truly one of the unsung visionaries of comics publishing. He was into all this stuff long before it was cool.
Now NBM is celebrating 40 years of publishing with a new logo and revamped website. And also some news: Their long running ComicsLit line is folding into the main NBM line, which will now be called NBM Graphic Novels. However, the adult graphic novel imprint, Eurotica, will remain independent and separate.
“After many milestones over these decades helping to open up the general bookstore trade and people’s perception of what comics can be, here we are at 40 years of operation still bringing out some of the best European and US comics you can find,” said Nantier in a statement. “I’m very proud of NBM’s great image and I figure it’s time and a great occasion to freshen up! The former NBM logo, with a design akin to comics panels, has served valiantly for decades but nothing lasts forever and it’s time for a cleaner, lighter, more modern look. ComicsLit also was an imprint we needed to launch over 15 years ago to distinguish our fiction line, but that’s much of what NBM stands for anyway today. We’re keeping things simple under one name and emphasizing our core mission all these years where comic books from us have been rare: publishing great graphic novels.”
As to the site, Nantier added, “we’re also taking the occasion to reorganize our site to better reflect the different categories of graphic novels we’ve been publishing, including our growing non-fiction category.”
This year’s NBM releases include work from Lewis Trondheim, Joann Sfar, David Prudhomme, Jirô Taniguchi, Sean Michael Wilson & Michiru Morikawa, Annie Goetzinger & Rodolphe, Stanislas, Nicolas Keramidas, A. Dan, and Maximilien Le Roy. It’s a great line-up, and I’m very happy to see Nantier’s view for what comics could be in America proven right.
And just to show what they have coming up here’s a preview of THOREAU, A Sublime Life by A. Dan, Maximilien Le Roy, a lovely biography of the author, philosopher and pioneering ecologist. Henry David Thoreau, the man who came up with the concept of “civil disobediance.” [Disclosure: NBM is an advertiser here at The Beat]
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.