Stumptown Comics Fest and MoCCA are both this weekend, and Top Shelf will be representing at BOTH! Come see us if you can. Jeff Lemire and Nate Powell will be guests of the show at Stumtptown. I'm stoked to have these cats gracing us with their presence right here in my hometown. (My 7-year old son Carter — a budding capitalist — will also be present here in Portland, selling action figures from his collection at our booth as well. Good stuff, too!)
If you can't make it to Portland or New York, it so happens that we're having a bitchin' digital comics sale across multiple platforms too… so don't gimme no excuses, come get your Top Shelf on!
If you want to check out just how smart and cool his comics are, buy his Top Shelf book, 24 x 2!
Hi kids! Bartender Brett here... it's been pretty crazy around these parts. A $15 part on one of my toilets sprang a leak on Monday, and when i got home from a day of working on the Veeps movie score with our sound designer, Drew, and my collaborators Mike and Wayne, i found my basement flooded, and upwards of $30,000 of damage done to my house. Whoo hoo! That said, besides the (fairly major) disruption, no one was hurt, and none of my vast libraries of books and movies, or computer or widescreen HD tv or anything else was damaged. Only stuff that needs replaced are structural: floors, walls, ceilings, paint etc.
• Moving right along. As our Director of Digital Programming Chris Ross readies himself for his nuptials this weekend, let me show off a terrific collaboration between him, Jeff Lemire and myself. I'm kind of a nut-job as an art director, and when the time seems appropriate, i like to see some funky designs. Case in point, something as minor as the indicia page (where all the fine-print credits and copyright information goes) for Jeff's forthcoming graphic novel, Underwater Welder. I wasn't happy with a straight-up version, given Chris Ross' otherwise fancy book design, so i asked Jeff to whip up some illustrations of bubbles and water ripples.
After a little back & forth with Mr. Ross this is the result. Sweet. (And wait until y'all read the book! It's outstanding.)
• Meanwhile, former Top Shelf intern and force of nature, Hazel Newlevant is rocking her (metaphorical) balls off at SVA this year. Check THIS shit out!...
Announcing the release of INK Spring 2012 issue
Founded and edited by cartooning students at the School of Visual Arts
Bringing SVA's comics community to the forefront of digital comics!
New York, NY– April 12, 2012 – INK, an entirely student-run digital comics magazine, is proud to present you with our Spring 2012 issue, now available online and on all iOS devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch). The magazine has been designed for the new iPad’s high resolution Retina display, allowing the content within INK to come to life on the screen. Published by the cartooning students at the School of Visual Arts, INK has established itself as a place for emerging artists to showcase their work and connect with the SVA comics community at large.
The magazine has placed itself at the forefront of the comics industry by embracing digital publishing and new technologies. The current issue features a selection of work by SVA students and alumni, along with interviews with Christopher Hastings (Dr. McNinja), Drew Friedman (Any Similarity to Persons Living or Dead is Purely Coincidental), and an article focusing on WFMU's Lowest Common Denominator magazine.
Follow us on Twitter: @SVA_INK, or on Facebook: http://facebook.com/svaink
April 11, 2012 / More →
Yikes, it's been a while, eh? O.k., true believers, settle up to the bar... lots to catch up on.
• Some reviews of Ed Piskor's (older, self-published) first couple issues of Wizzywig, which we'll be collecting this Summer. Keep in mind, these are old reviews for only a small fraction of the compete story. This book is gonna blow your minds, kiddies!
From, the Totally Rad Show.
• Here is a sweet sweet process blog by our old friend and comics brain Matt Madden. After almost 15 years at this gig, and lot's of wonderful memories, to this day editing the Top Shelf anthology was my favorite part of the job.
• Emerald City Con was this last weekend, and it was a blast. Kudos to Jim on the crew for another great show. Best part of the show for me was seeing Tom Spurgeon, from the Comics Reporter, who was looking extremely dapper. Plus, he did the best recap of the show to date here.
• Um, fuck yeah!
Oh, and speaking of Jeffrey Brown, i was digging through some old files i had set aside for this very blog, and here are three terrific promotional illustrations Jeff had done for his awesome Incredible Change-Bots books. You know, just because they're cool as hell.
• Nate Powell continues to be one of the hardest working men in comics i've ever known... and he's a new dad! He has a solo exhibit of comic art called CROSS SECTIONS that's going up this week at the Historic Arkansas Museum in Little Rock-- the opening reception is Friday, April 13th from 5-8pm. 53 pieces are represented from 1998-2012, with focus on the graphic novel work of the last five years. All pieces are for sale, as are the books of course, and the show will be up until June. Here's the Facebook event page. And his blog-post about the same.
On Saturday, April 14th from 12-2pm, he'll be signing at The Comic Book Store (9307 Treasure Hill Rd.) in Little Rock, which marks 20 years since they provided shelf space for his very first published comic!
• How cool is it that Chris Staros is now a professor!
• Finally, boy oh boy do i wish i could attend any of these stops on the Caravan of Comics, a U.S. tour by a super-talented gaggle of Aussie cartoonists, including Ben Hutchings, Gregory Mackay, Mandy Ord (all whose work i've been reading and enjoying for over a decade) and Pat Grant, whose book Blue we just helped release in North America.
April-May 2012. New York, Vermont, Toronto, Chicago
In April-May of this year a group of Australian comic creators are coming together for a tour of North-Eastern USA and Canada. Encompassing the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) in New York, the Toronto Comics Festival (TCAF), the Centre for Cartoon Studies, in Vermont and Quimby's Bookstore in Chicago
Nothing like this has been attempted before by a group of Australian cartoonists, and it could be the furthest a group of cartoonists has ever travelled.
I'm very sad to learn that our friend — and champion of the comics medium — Kristiina Kolehmainen has passed away.
Bart Beaty sums up at Comics Reporter.
I just told Staros, and he succinctly mentioned that the "Swedish SPX lost its mom." I've only been to Stockholm twice for this event, but i can say that in those short years Kristiina really did feel like family. She will be missed.
I can only hope that her shoes can be filled in some capacity, so that the festival can continue. The Swedish SPX has a similar vitality that our own SPX had back on the late 90s.
How awesome is this wicked cool cover for Alex Robinson's forthcoming digital release, Lower Regions: Defense of the West Gate? Color painting by my pal Steven MnMoorn.
• Meanwhile, here's a new Kickstarter campaign worth your time, Comic Book Independents: Unedited Artist Interviews. Chris Brandt made a terrific comics documentary a few years back, and with this project, he wants to release a bunch of the lengthy author interviews uncut.
• The lovely wonderful Renee French is interviewed with aplomb by Mike Dawes on the recent Comics Journal podcast. Great stuff... nipples... boners... how can you go wrong! Oh, and they talk about The Ticking.
Totally stoked! After a quiet Winter ToP Shelf is ready to rock out some choice new OGNs. (Original graphic novels.) Eddie Campbell's outstanding Lovely Horrible Stuff.
Next up, Ed Piskor's terrific Wizzywig.
And rising star Jeff Lemire's long awaited Underwater Welder.
• And here's a Kickstarter campaign worth supporting: Paul McCreery's new comic Dwayne's Super. I've seen much of this and it's excellent.
February 27, 2012 / More →
I got to guest (w/ Bad Ass Mofo David Walker) on the venerable Portland podcast, The Cort and Fatboy Show! Cool, that was really fun.
• Kathryn & Stuart Immonen Discuss Their Upcoming 'Avenging Spider-Man' Issue at Comics Alliance… AND sneak in a nod to and big-ass cover of Moving Pictures!
• By the gods, this is awesome.
I know a cool game!… let's play How Many Top Shelf Books Can You Spot in this article "Pray For Rain: Perfecting the Parka Look," in the new GQ magazine. First person to send a correct answer to me via Twitter or email wins, um… any in-print graphic novel in our catalog.
This, by the way, is none other that Portland's own Bride City Comics in the Mississippi neighborhood. Portland has lots of great shops, but for whatever reason this small store sells more Top Shelf books that the rest combined. Worth checking out if you find yourself in the neighborhood.
• Chris Elipoulos too is featured in a fancy mainstream magazine, Saveur, in an article titled "Hungry Heroes" by Helen Rosner.
• Dark Horse editor Diana Schutz's 'Manara Library' volumes are flat-out gorgeous. Nicely done, Diana!
• New art by Gregory Benton.
Verily, i am returned from a meeting of the minds, and the Top Shelf Summit at Chris' pad in Atlanta. Good times. Plans are afoot for the year and beyond.
• Nice. Jess Smart Smiley's nifty Valentine's Day card.
• Jennifer Hayden has started a daily comic diary called Rushes, ala James Kochalka's long-running American Elf. Frankly, most diary comics are pretty weak, but Jennifer understands this medium in a way that too few cartoonists get. A fine addition to the genre of autobio comics.
• Long time friend Christine Norrie is doing a yoga comic, called New Yoga City! Sweet. I've been practicing for about 5 or 6 months myself, and i must say, it's been a sublime experience thus far. Christine does a wonderful job translating the experience into comics.
• Kagan McLeod continues to astound, with another kick-ass video, Infinite Kung Fu—Master of the Flying Guillotine time lapse drawing. If you haven't seen or read Infinite Kung Fu yet, you're really missing out. This is one our most high-flying awesome action epic gargantuan books ever. [No, really…]
• Eric Reynolds at Fantagraphics sent me the news about an upcoming show in Seattle at their store called Funny Valentines: A Tribute to Jack Davis… man, this sounds cool. If you live in or near the Emerald City, head on over.
• Finally, i have to chime in on the new Van Halen album, A Different Kind of Truth. I've listened to it three times now, and i'm digging it big time. I've heard some haters already who, frankly, i'd wager never liked Halen in the first place. Whatever.
This i know: Los Bros Eddie and Alex can still kick out the monster mammojams with anyone. Eddie's style has evolved without losing the signature sound that makes him a household name with any true rock guitar fan. And Alex, well… he is THE thunder god drummer-of-choice in my book.
Wolfgang, Eddie's son, does solid work on base, even though i do miss Michael Anthony's chops. Where Mr. Jack Daniels is really missed is his classic squeeze-your-balls, high-note vocal harmonies.
Which brings us to Diamond Dave. I'll be the first to admit a love/hate relationship with this guy, but no matter how you slice it, he's the best suited front man for Eddie of all time. David does a pretty damn good job here, and sounds terrific… except for occasionally struggling to hit some of the falsettos that were his calling card of yore. Overall, i'm impressed at how he's able to adapt his aging pipes to still keep it bluesy.
Now, unlike some, i liked the Van Hagar era and think Sammy was great with the boys, although i really considered them a whole different band altogether. That said, it's great to hear Dave again back where he belongs.
The sound of this record stylistically and tonally is probably closest to the Van Hagar record, FUCK (For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge), from way back, which is not a bad thing. Great production values and balance as a whole.
February 5, 2012 / More →
This in the current new Diamond Previews, in comics shops now, and online.
Staff Pick: Pterodactyl Hunters in the Gilded City
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Item Code: FEB121159
PREVIEWS Page #328
In Shops: 4/25/2012
"Brendan Leach spins a remarkably powerful fantasy short story in the dinosaur-infested urban sprawl of the early 20th-century. With no lengthy explanation of how and why there are still thunder lizards hunting humans in the New York City streets, Leach drops the reader square in the middle of a hunt. Adrenaline runs high while three men in a tiny hot air balloon basket fight an aerial battle against a predator that far outclasses them in speed, size, and maneuverability. Yet, it’s the aftermath that makes this such a subtle and intriguing read!
"Eamon and Declan are brothers by blood and by shared membership in a heroic profession. Yet Eamon’s the one up in the basket every night, while Declan remains in the watchtower. Declan’s young still, and he does understand rationally that he’s not ready — but the pterodactyls are nearing extinction. Eamon and the team are very good at their job, leaving Declan with little hope for his own shot at heroism. Worse, no matter who slays the final beast, the City will disband the Hunters and leave Declan and his brother without prospects or the safe legacy of his family’s traditional trade.
"A brilliant and totally immersive one-shot, this is a must read! But that’s not just my opinion. It was honored with a Xeric Grant and inclusion in 2011’s Best American Comics (AUG111091). This stand alone release was a long time coming and more than well-deserved."
I had the rare opportunity to hang with my friend, and rising star, Emi Lenox recently. She's on fire. Here is a killer snapshot she took of 50 hand-drawn bookmarks that were made for people who pre-ordered Emitown Volume 2.
Also, make sure to head over to Floating World Comics tomorrow night, Thursday, February 2, 6:00-10:00 p.m. for the original art show featuring work by Emi and other rising comics star Tally Nourigat!
• The prolific Nate Powell will be touring in support of the First Second graphic novel The Silence of Our Friends (written by Jim Demonakos & Mark Long).
Fri 2/3: SEATTLE WA—Book Release Party & Artwork Exhibition @ Roq La Rue Gallery (2312 2nd Ave.), 6-8 pm. Food! Drinks! Books! Pages!
Sat 2/4: SEATTLE WA – Discussion & Signing @ Fantagraphics Books (1202 S. Vale St.), 6-8 pm. (Mark & Jim only)
Fri 2/10: SAN FRANCISCO CA – Discussion, Signing, & Art Exhibit @ Mission Comics And Art (3520 20th St.), 7-9 pm.
Sat 2/11: SAN FRANCISCO CA – Discussion & Signing @ SFPL Anza Branch (550 37th Ave.), 2:30-4 pm.
Sun 2/12: SAN FRANCISCO CA – Discussion & Signing @ Cartoon Art Museum (655 Mission St.), 1-3pm.
Mon 2/13: PETALUMA CA – Discussion & Signing @ Copperfield’s Books (140 Kentucky St.), 4-6pm.
Tue 2/14: LAFAYETTE CA – Discussion & Signing @ Lafayette Library (3491 Mount Diablo Blvd.), 7-8 pm.
Wed 2/22: WASHINGTON DC – Discussion & Signing @ Watha T. Daniel Shaw Library (1630 7th St. NW), 7-9pm. (Nate only)
Thur 2/23: TAKOMA PARK MD – Discussion & Signing @ Takoma Park Public Library (101 Philadelphia Ave.), 7-9pm. (Nate only)
Sat 2/25: WASHINGTON DC – Discussion & Signing @ Politics & Prose (50515 Connecticut Ave. NW), 1-3 pm. (Nate only)
Sat 2/25: SILVER SPRING MD – Discussion & Signing @ Wheaton Library (11701 Georgia Ave.), 4-6 pm. (Nate only)
• Finally... HOLY CRAP! Lord of the Rings freakin' LEGOS!! I can't believe how cool this is.