NBM has acquired the North American publishing rights to Rob Vollmar and Pablo Callejo's Bluesman graphic novel series. After publishing one volume Absence of Ink Comic Press told the creators that it would not be able to release the second volume. NBM stepped in and will publish the second 80-page installment of the Bluesman saga in January as well as reissuing the first volume at the same time.
Vollmar and Callejo received an Eisner nomination for their first graphic novel collaboration, The Castaways, but the two Bluesman volumes are even more worthy of acclaim. Structured like a traditional twelve bar blues, with three sections each made up of four chapters, the Bluesman saga follows the harrowing adventures of the itinerant blues musician Lem Taylor as he flees across Arkansas in the late 1920s, hunted for a crime he did not commit, roaming from one juke joint to another.
It is easy to see why this series is a hit in Spain and France (countries where blues music is more popular than in the U.S.) -- Vollmar's writing demonstrates a great affinity for the country blues medium as well as a good deal of historical research that grounds the Bluesman graphic novels in the hardscrabble realities of the deep South during the brutal Jim Crow era, while Callejo's graphic style interprets the visual aspects of the saga with an authentic feeling for the music and the period unmatched since R. Crumb drew his classic Heroes of the Blues cards.