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NBM's spring slate of graphic novels builds on its strengths

NBM Publishing has announced its spring 2016 list, and if it seems a wee bit familiar, well, that may be because the publisher's recent books received such an enthusiastic reception that it's dishing up more of the same. But there are a few twists.

Let's start with Paper Dolls, by the husband-and-wife team of Kerascoët, whose Beautiful Darkness (co-authored with Fabien Vehlmann) was nominated for an Eisner Award; NBM has also published their Beauty and Miss Don't Touch Me, both created with Hubert. Their graphic novels are well-loved by critics, but what NBM is doing here is something a bit different: Paper Dolls is an art book, featuring a lot of extra touches and published in a limited edition of 1,000 numbered copies. The concept sounds extraordinary:

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Sensitive and colorful, they have chosen a classification in their own image -names of metaphorical colors linked to sensations- that will lift the veil on the immensity and diversity of their work in comics, animation and advertising showing sketches, studies, paintings, even work on textile.

The second book that caught my eye is Jiro Taniguchi's Guardians of the Louvre, due out in April. This is one of a series of graphic novels commissioned by the Louvre that NBM has been translating for the past few years; previous creators include Enki Bilal, Nicolas De Crécy and Hirohiko Araki (the creator of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure). So this would be the second manga commissioned by the Louvre, and it makes a lot of sense, as Taniguchi is so popular in France that his books are marketed as BDs, not manga. The concept sounds a bit like The Walking Man on designer drugs. A slightly feverish Japanese traveler wanders the halls of the Louvre:

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Very soon, he discovers many unsuspected facets to this world in a museum, meeting artists and their works from various periods, in a journey oscillating between feverish hallucination and reality, finishing at the crossroads between human and personal history.

Annie Goetzinger's beautifully drawn Girl in Dior was one of the standout graphic novels of 2015. NBM is following it up with Marie Antoinette, Phantom Queen, a ghost story about the French queen's search for a final resting place, written by Rodolphe and illustrated by Goetzinger.

Thoreau: A Sublime Life, by A. Dan and Maximilien Le Roy, is a bio of the 19th century writer and thinker. It looks like the first work of either author to be published in English. Le Roy has been banned from Israel for 10 years because of several graphic works he produced about the West Bank and Gaza.

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Finally, Breaking the 10, by Sean Michael Wilson and Michiru Morikawa, is a graphic novel with an intriguing premise: A man who is angry at God sets out to break all Ten Commandments, and finds himself torn between two strangers, Mr. White and Mr. Black, each of whom is trying to lure him in a different direction. Wilson is the writer of The Story of Lee, also published by NBM, and he has authored, translated, and edited a number of Japanese works, including serving as editor of the alt-manga anthology AX.

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