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Terry Nantier (born 1957) spent his teenage years living in Paris, developing an interest in European comics. Returning to the U.S., Nantier attended the Newhouse School of Communications division of Syracuse University. In 1976, while still a Newhouse student, he teamed with Chris Beall and Marc Minoustchine to found Flying Buttress Publications with an initial investment of $2,100. (Their tagline, referencing the architectural element of the flying buttress, was "the support of a new medium.")
Flying Buttress was among the first to introduce the concept of the European graphic novel to American audiences. Among their first titles was Racket Rumba (1977), a 50-page spoof of the noir-detective genre, written and drawn by the French artist Loro. The company followed this with Enki Bilal's The Call of the Stars (1978). Flying Buttress marketed these works as "graphic albums".
In 1982, the company created the Flying Buttress Classics Library imprint to reprint classic newspaper comic strips in both hardcover and paperback, beginning with Milton Caniff's Terry and the Pirates, followed by Tarzan strips by Hal Foster and Burne Hogarth.
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