NBM: Little Nothings 2, Miss Don’t Touch Me, Why I Killed Peter, First Time

The following books were provided by the publisher NBM. Note that they’re currently running an online sale until March 15: 15% off everything with coupon code S15, and if you buy 4 books, you get an additional one free.

Little Nothings: The Prisoner Syndrome

by Lewis Trondheim, color paperback, $14.95 US

Little Nothings: The Prisoner Syndrome cover
Little Nothings:
The Prisoner Syndrome
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This second volume continues where the first left off, reprinting more material from Trondheim’s comic blog. The work is gorgeous, due to the artist’s skill, observations, and especially watercolors.

Material includes the goofy things Trondheim’s bird-headed alter ego does on vacation, as well as simple observations about everyday life. I found them fresh and funny, showing me new ways to look at simple events. The different places around the world he visits are beautifully captured, putting me with him while rock climbing or scuba diving.

The title comes from the tendency of people who are restricted from doing much to have decreasing energy and desire to do anything. Trondheim wants to avoid the syndrome by visiting different places, thus contributing many of the book’s incidents. See a preview at the publisher’s website.

Miss Don’t Touch Me

by Hubert (story) & Kerascoet (art), color paperback, $14.95 US

Miss Dont Touch Me cover
Miss Don’t Touch Me
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This murder mystery, set in 1930s Paris, isn’t particularly memorable, but while you’re reading it, it’s thrilling escapism with naughty touches.

Agatha and Blanche, sisters, are maids. Agatha goes out to dances and has fun, while Blanche stays home and protects her virtue. One night, Blanche sees something horrific through a hole in the wall adjoining a neighboring house, but Agatha pays the penalty. She’s shot for her curiosity and then labeled a suicide.

To find the killers, Blanche begins working in a brothel as a virgin dominatrix, a position she takes to surprisingly quickly. As she adjusts to life in a house of ill repute, the mystery almost gets forgotten as she (and we) meet many of its inhabitants and learn their stories. That’s ok, because they’re more interesting than the rather pedestrian violence, anyway. The questions do get answered by the end, but in a rather rushed fashion, and almost in spite of Blanche instead of because of her. The book would also be stronger without its final page.

Still, the portrayal of the period and these women is distinctively melodramatic, which makes for as much or more entertainment than a CSI episode or, perhaps more accurately, Cold Case. See a preview at the publisher’s website.

Why I Killed Peter

by Olivier Ka (story) and Alfred (art), color hardcover, $18.95 US

Why I Killed Peter cover
Why I Killed Peter
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This autobiographical story is told through a series of anecdotes about memories, beginning at the age of eight. The narrator, the child of hippie parents, grows up with mixed messages about religion. His grandparents go to Mass, where they meet Peter, a new-style priest who gets along with the non-believing parents, too.

Unfortunately, Peter abuses the child when they’re away at summer camp. That makes for a powerful story, and one that’s very difficult to criticize. The child’s longing to be special, as demonstrated through Peter’s attention, is both touching and damning, that a priest would take advantage of it. It’s a plausible portrayal of how something seems inevitable but still dreaded. The book continues with incidents through the author’s life, where these events cast a later shadow, until he finally confronts Peter one last time.

The art reminds me of Philippe Dupuy and Charles Berberian (Get a Life) or Michel Rabagliati (Paul Has a Summer Job).

I think it’s probably more effective as therapy than reading material, but it does shed light on the emotions of someone trapped in this kind of situation. See a preview at the publisher’s website.

First Time

by Sibylline (story) and various artists, black-and-white hardcover, $19.95 US

First Time cover
First Time
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This collection of ten sex stories are all written by the same woman but illustrated by different artists. The most recognizable to American audiences will be Cyril Pedrosa (Three Shadows) and Dave McKean (Sandman covers).

The stories revolve around various first times: loss of virginity, buying a vibrator, having a threesome, going to a sex club, and so on. The art styles vary, but they’re all attractive and portray their subject well, with the exception of McKean’s. I’ve never cared for his art style, because I’m never sure what it’s trying to say or show, and this is no different.

The stories are interesting to read, with separate personalities and settings, but if their purpose is to be a turn-on, then for me at least, they failed. There are explicit previews available (links not safe for work; suitable for over 18 only).


14 Responses to “NBM: Little Nothings 2, Miss Don’t Touch Me, Why I Killed Peter, First Time”

  1. Jon Jordan Says:

    I enjoyed Miss Don’t Touch Me. I thought the art suited the period wee.

  2. Dane Says:

    These all look fascinating. I definitely will put them on my “to buy” list.

  3. Rivkah Says:

    Is Miss Don’t Touch Me originally a French comic that’s been translated?

  4. Johanna Says:

    Now that you mention it, I think they all are.

  5. Journalista - the news weblog of The Comics Journal » Blog Archive » March 10, 2009: Atomic war! Says:

    [...] [Review] Various titles Link: Johanna Draper Carlson [...]

  6. NBM Blog » Blog Archive » ComicsWorthReading reviews a bunch Says:

    [...] Draper Carlson’s ComicsWorthReading has just reviewed 4 of our recent books, besides Miss Don’t Touch Me which she calls “thrilling escapism [...]

  7. Sebastian Says:

    Links to the original editions:

    http://www.editions-delcourt.fr/catalogue/bd/les_petits_riens_de_lewis_trondheim_2_le_syndrome_du_prisonnier
    http://www.dargaud.fr/front/albums/album.aspx?id=2920
    http://www.editions-delcourt.fr/catalogue/bd/pourquoi_j_ai_tue_pierre
    http://www.editions-delcourt.fr/catalogue/bd/premieres_fois

  8. Rivkah Says:

    Thanks Sebastian! I’ve been relearning my French recently and having comics in both languages sounds like a perfect way to keep learn different speaking styles and colloquialisms.

  9. David Oakes Says:

    Am I the only one reading this as one long title? “Little Miss Don’t Touch Me: Why I Killed Peter the First Time”?

    It’s like the Wayans Brothers making French Manga…

    (Which to be honest I kind of suspect any month now.)

  10. Shenzhen: A Travelogue From China » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] Korea in Pyongyang. If you’re looking for another travel journal, try Lewis Trondheim’s Little Nothings 2. [...]

  11. Scarlett Takes Manhattan » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] Rick Geary (especially The Adventures of Blanche) but thought they needed more sex, or if you liked Miss Don’t Touch Me but wanted less murderous mayhem, then Scarlett Takes Manhattan is the book for you. Scarlett [...]

  12. Little Nothings: Uneasy Happiness » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] as an online journal. (Third in a series, too; book one is The Curse of the Umbrella, book two The Prisoner Syndrome. All of the strip links below are from the NBM Blog, and the publisher provided a review copy.) [...]

  13. Miss Don’t Touch Me Volume 2 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] tendency of the first book to work around its heroine, making her an observer instead of a protagonist, is even more [...]

  14. Little Nothings: My Shadow in the Distance » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] another gorgeous collection of diary webcomics — his fourth, after The Curse of the Umbrella, The Prisoner Syndrome, and Uneasy Happiness. Little Nothings: My Shadow in the [...]

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