New comics company alert! New York Review Comics. This is one that has been brewing for a while and you will not believe where it’s coming from. The New York Review of Book, a publication that usually has the word “august” appended to it, is launching a line of graphic novels, with new editions of classic works by Mark Beyer, Blutch, Glen Baxter and more. The new imprint is in the tradition of their NYRB Classics line of prose reprints (And also a little reminiscent of Dover’s recent efforts along those lines.)
NYRC is co-edited by Gabriel Winslow-Yost, an assistant editor at The New York Review of Books, who is a respected writer on comics at such outlets as The New York Review, The New Yorker, and n+1, and Lucas Adams, a cartoonist who has drawn for The Believer, Mental Floss, The Toast, and Atlas Obscura, was recently named as one of Brooklyn Magazine’s “30 Under 30.” I should also note that he wrote for me at Publishers Weekly for several years and is a fine fellow and has excellent taste. IN other words, we’re in good hands here.
NYRC launches on March 22, 2016. According to the PR, they will publish “comics of all sorts, from intimate memoirs to absurdist gags, lyrical graphic novels to dizzying experiments, united in their affirmation of the strange and wonderful things that only comics can do. Some will be in paperback, some in hardcover, and trim sizes will vary.”
And here’s the line-up:
Mark Beyer’s Agony (March 22), a darkly humorous depiction of urban despair originally published in 1987, now with an introduction by super-fan Colson Whitehead. Beyer is among the early RAW cartoonists who rewrote the book on comics with his exquisitely angular comics about tortured people in a hostile world.
Peplum, by Blutch, one of the great European cartoonists, a “beautiful historical saga” with a new translation by Edward Gauvin (April 19)
Almost Completely Baxter, a collection of new and selected work by veteran English cartoonist Glen Baxter (May 24).
Soft City, a “majestically surreal tour of an office dystopia” by Norwegian pop artist Pushwagner, drawn and then lost in the early 1970s, with a new introduction by Chris Ware — never even heard of that one.
Pretending is Lying by Belgian artist Dominique Goblet, in her English language debut, a “searing experimental memoir”translated from the French by Sophie Yanow
What Am I Doing Here? a long OOP collection by Abner Dean, a cult cartoonist of the 50s known for his absurdist humor.
The PR on this want out with very big images so you’ll have to squint to see some of these, but in short this is a very ambitious and exciting line of material that is very high quality. it’s not for the casual comics readers, to be sure, but NYRB is known for its challenging material and NYRC fits right into that. That said, i suspect today’s comics readers will find much of interest in these formative works.
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.