Born OTD in 1869, Lithuanian anarchist political activist & writer, Emma Goldman. Goldman was well known during her life, described as, among other things, “the most dangerous woman in America”. In essays like “The Hypocrisy of Puritanism” & a speech entitled “The Failure of Christianity”, Goldman made more than a few enemies among religious communities by attacking their moralistic attitudes & efforts to control human behavior. She blamed Christianity for “the perpetuation of a slave society”, arguing that it dictated individuals’ actions on Earth & offered poor people a false promise of a plentiful future in heaven. She was also critical of Zionism, which she saw as another failed experiment in state control.

A wonderful retelling of the famous anarchist and radical icon Emma Goldman’s extraordinary life, this graphic biography embodies the richness … More

In the Middle Ages, surgery was performed by barbers, owing to their skill with sharp instruments. In the mid-19th century, a “grand exhibition” of the effects of laughing gas inadvertently led to the discovery of anaesthesia. Three decades later, Louis Pasteur enjoyed a crucial breakthrough in his search for vaccinations because his assistant decided, against his orders, to take a vacation.

In Medicine: A Graphic History, surgeon and professor of medical history Jean-Noel Fabiani stitches together the most significant and intriguing … More

Born OTD in 1830, teacher & important figure in the Paris Commune, Louise Michel. Following her penal transportation she embraced anarchism. When returning to France she emerged as an important French anarchist and went on speaking tours across Europe. Set against the background of violence & state repression in a turbulent period of French history, The Red Virgin & the Vision of Utopia chronicles the incredible & outrageous life of Louise Michel, the revolutionary feminist dubbed ‘The Red Virgin of Montmartre’. A utopian dreamer, notorious anarchist, teacher, orator and poet, she was decades ahead of her time. Always a radical, she fought on the barricades defending the short-lived Paris Commune of 1871 against the reactionary regime that massacred thousands of French citizens after the Commune’s defeat.

Deported to a penal colony on the other side of the Earth, she took up the cause of the indigenous … More

Born OTD in 1904, Spanish Surrealist artist, Salvador Dalí. Genius, eccentric, exhibitionist: there is no shortage of adjectives to describe the great surrealist painter Salvador Dali. Yet this iconic artist and controversial thinker remains a figure shrouded in mystery. Plunging into the Spanish painter’s unbridled, fantastical universe, graphic novelist Edmond Baudoin guides us on the trail of a man known as much for his talent for self-promotion as for his bold and extraordinary work.

He emerges with a convincing personal vision of the man behind the artist. Commissioned by the Pompidou Centre, Paris, Dali … More

Born OTD in 1818, German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist and socialist revolutionary, Karl Marx. Marx’s Das Kapital cannot be put into a box marked ‘economics’. It is a work of politics, history, economics, philosophy and even in places, literature. This illustrated introduction to the Marxist critique of capitalist production and its consequences for a whole range of social activities such as politics, media, education and religion.

  Das Kapital is not a critique of a particular capitalist system in a particular country at a particular time. … More

Born OTD in 1926, American novelist, Nelle Harper Lee. Lee only published two books, yet she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007 for her contribution to literature. The plot and characters of To Kill a Mockingbird are loosely based on Lee’s observations of her family & neighbors, as well as an event that occurred near her hometown in 1936 when she was 10. The novel deals with the irrationality of adult attitudes towards race & class in the Deep South of the 1930s, as depicted through the eyes of two children. It was inspired by racist attitudes in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama.

Scout, Jem, Boo Radley, Atticus Finch and the small town of Maycomb, Alabama, are all captured in vivid and moving … More

Born OTD in 1915, American jazz singer with a career spanning nearly thirty years, Eleanora Fagan AKA, Billie Holiday. Holiday had a seminal influence on jazz music & pop singing. Her vocal style, strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists, pioneered a new way of manipulating phrasing and tempo. She was known for her vocal delivery and improvisational skills

Billie Holiday, by Argentinian Carlos Sampayo and artist José Muñoz is a graphic memoir in the NBM Graphic biography series … More

Born OTD in 1871, Polish Marxist, philosopher, economist, anti-war activist & revolutionary socialist, Rosa Luxemberg. A giant of the political left, Luxemburg is one of the foremost minds in the canon of revolutionary socialist thought. But she was much more than just a thinker. She made herself heard in a world inimical to the voices of strong-willed women. She overcame physical infirmity & the prejudice she faced as a Jew to become an active revolutionary whose philosophy enriched every corner of an incredibly productive & creative life—her many friendships, her sexual intimacies, & her love of science, nature and art.

Always opposed to the First World War, when others on the German left were swept up on a tide of … More

Born OTD in 1932, singer, songwriter, musician, actor, and author, Johnny Cash. Cash was known for his deep, calm bass-baritone voice, the distinctive sound of his Tennessee Three backing band characterized by train-like chugging guitar rhythms, a rebelliousness coupled with an increasingly somber and humble demeanor, free prison concerts, and a trademark, all-black stage wardrobe, which earned him the nickname “The Man in Black”.

The graphic biography of the most famous country singer of all time – the Man in Black. Renowned graphic novelist … More

First published OTD in 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels publish The Communist Manifesto. Much of what Marx and Engels’ proposed – a state education system, a progressive income tax, the nationalisation of banks – would continue to be at the heart of political debate into the 21st century. It is no surprise, perhaps, that The Communist Manifesto (as it was later renamed) is the second best-selling book of all time, surpassed only by The Bible. The Guardian’s editorial cartoonist Martin Rowson employs his trademark draughtsmanship and wit to this lively graphic novel adaptation of Marx and Engels’ revolutionary pamphlet.

Published to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Marx’s birth, at a time of deep mistrust in The Establishment, The … More