NBM: Little Nothings 2, Miss Don’t Touch Me, Why I Killed Peter, First Time
The following books were provided by the publisher NBM.
Little Nothings: The Prisoner Syndrome
by Lewis Trondheim, color paperback, $14.95 US
This second volume of Little Nothings 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
This murder mystery, set in 1930s Paris, isn’t particularly memorable, but while you’re reading Miss Don’t Touch Me, 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
The autobiographical story of Why I Killed Peter 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.
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.
by Sibylline (story) and various artists, black-and-white hardcover, $19.95 US
First Time collects ten sex stories, 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.