January 27, 2012 / More →
• Chris Staros will be at STAPLE! in Austin, TX March 3-4. Top Shelf is an offical sponsor this year, and Kagan McLeod will be with Top Shelf as an invited special guest of the show. Here's a boss ad designed by our own Chris Ross.
• Call for submissions! Slovenian comics juggernaut Stripburger is calling for contributions to their next big project. Take it away:
Forum Ljubljana, Institute for Art and Cultural Production, Metelkova 6, Si-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
tel. +386 1 2319662, fax. +386 1 4338074, firstname.lastname@example.org / stripburger.org
Comics of the theme of Work
Gather all, ye scurvy comic scribblers, scratchers and drawers!
This year's special edition of Stripburger is dedicated to work in all its forms. Yes, the W-word.
In these turbulent times we're witnessing changes to the paradigm of work. Once it used to be a part of a daily survival strategy, then a way of expressing oneself, nowadays we cannot distinguish it from leisure time anymore. How can we define work in the first place? Is it a rational guided process aimed at some tangible goal, or is it any human activity where new things are created? Is it only paid labour, remunerated by a wage or salary, what about voluntary work? Is it the work that made the human species, or is it the other way around, that we as humans tend to put significance into our creative activities and call that work? What about art? Is an artist creating or working? What's the difference between these two terms in his or her case?
Many questions can be asked about the nature of work in our contemporary society. Due to the fleeting nature of its definitions we've assembled a list of terms, clues and starting points, all somehow connected to the concept of work, which could serve as sources of inspiration for you, dear artists, when you try to tackle this heavy issue. We're expecting socially engaged comics, but also intimate meditations on the issue of work, status and rights of workers, on the artist as a worker, then humorous submissions as well, even mischievous are most welcome! Let them not be politically correct, PC is for pussies, we're expecting full-blooded comics that will become often quoted referential material in the future, or at least fun to read!
- means of survival
- effort, toil
- a characteristic human need
- a necessary evil
- joke, fun, goofing-off
- »He who does not work, shall not eat as well!« - a Slovenian proverb
- work as godly activity – »creatio ex nihilo«
- work vs. Rest
- waiting for work: Unemployment office
- work vs. antiwork
- working at home
- manual vs. intellectual work
- taboo of work/banned work
- »a Sunday kind of work«
- »precarious, temporary, part-time, seasonal work
- strike/denial of work
- legal vs. illegal work (moonlighting, etc)
- voluntary work
- trade unions
- history of work
- exploitation of workers: sweatshops, slavery, forced/compulsory work
- gyms: working out
- the division of work/labour
- work and gender
- work and age
- work and sexuality (prostitutes and man-whores, etc)
- work today vs. work in the past (manufactories, guilds, etc)
- »Work less, create more!«
- stigmatisation of the non-working
- »gastarbeit« work: work by more or less temporary immigrant workers and
- whatever it works for you
Please feel free to work on some other ideas.
A traveling exhibition is planned at the release of the anthology and also some other things like workshops …
Deadline for submissions: 31st May
book wil be size: 235x170 mm
So send the works no smaller then A4 format(21x29,7 cm)
print: black and white
Files should be:
- lineart: at least 600 dpi resolution, 240 mm height
- grayscale: at least 300 dpi resolution, 240 mm height
TO BE SENT TO:
Stripburger / Forum Ljubljana, Metlekova 6, SI – 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia, Europe
January 17, 2012 / More →
Comics Alliance highlights James Kochalka's American Elf in a survey of autobio comics, here.
I love their assessment of James's work: "American Elf is the great granddaddy of diary webcomics, and one of the many reasons why James Kochalka is awesome enough to be the first ever Cartoonist Laureate. In four colorful panels, Kochalka captures the small moments of his daily life, from mundane moments with his two sons to his wife's miscarriage. There's a fearlessness to Kochalka's comic -- he'll include something as simple as cooking dinner or as personal as blowing up at his family."
Dear readers, let me just say to you — especially those of you unfamiliar with James' comics — this man is a national treasure. The fact that he's not more widely known is a fucking crime. His comics, ranging from his all-ages books like Johnny Boo, Dragon Puncher, Pinky & Stinky, and Monkey vs. Robot, to his strictly adult fare like SuperF*ckers, and finally to his sublime American Elf are literally PURE COMICS. (And how wicked cool is the name of every single title i just listed?) American Elf is truly a sublime experience... he captures the essence of the life of the middle class American like no other. No one else does comics remotely like James, and i'd wager that anyone would be able to find something within his broad range of themes and memes to like.
I don't make blatant pleas to buy Top Shelf comics too often. (Maybe i should?) But for the sake of all this is Right and True in this universe, go get yourself some Kochalka. You won't be disappointed.
• Complex Magazine's 25 Best Comics of 2011 list is out. Top Shelf has three, count 'em THREE books on it! We've got:
Nate Powell's Any Empire.
Kagan McLeod's Infinite Kung Fu.
Rob Venditti & Mike Huddleston's The Homeland Directive.
December 27, 2011 / More →
I do hope y'all had a swell holiday!
Straggler Rob Ullman got this card in just in time for Christmas, but after i made my last Christmas post. Dang-diggity, the guy can really draw sexy!
This is gonna be one hella long blogpost, kids. But i'll be disappearing here shortly for the weekend so wanted to bang this out before there's no turning back. Merry Christmas!!
• The holiday cards keep rolling in, so i'd better do my best to share the spirit. Here's just a smattering.
• Another This Week in History is up at the Veeps blog.
• Tom Spurgeon talks with Peter Birkemoe from The Beguiling. (Who, along with Chris Butcher) run one of the very best comics shops in the world.
• Finally, Darren Hayes, i don't know who the heck you are, but you just made me weep. This is what my own mom taught me the holidays were all about. Thank you.
December 19, 2011 / More →
Chris Pitzer walks us through his first nine years at the helm of his company AdHouse books. Damn, has it really been that long? Big ups to Chris, his awesome wife Lisa (who dutifully attends a great deal of the conventions Chris exhibits at), and of course the wonderful authors he's worked with over the years.
Courtesy of James Kochalka, Merry Boo everyone!!
• Listening to Inkstuds' Robin McConnell talk with Nate Powell as i write this. Nate talks Any Empire and his other new book (with Mark Long and Jim Demonakos), The Silence of Our Friends.
• Check out the new This Week in History over at the Veeps blog!
• Eric Skillman gets some love on The Electric Playground for his awesome Liar's Kiss.
And while we're on the subject, Eric's process blog for Branded To Kill and Tokyo Drifter is a designer's dream. Holy shit, any one of his in-progress/abandoned designs is print worthy.
• And by all means, please support Rich Tommaso to help get his book The Cavalier Mr. Thompson to press!
Check this Wayne (Veeps) Shellabarger cover art for the forthcoming issue of Bay Guardian.
• And speaking of San Francisco, my old pal Steve (Bughouse) Lafler sent this bit o' news:
Holiday Sale & Concert
Bay Area cartoonists Lloyd Dangle, Mats!?, Jeff Roysdon and Steve Lafler join together to bring cartoon art gift items to the Mercury Cafe in Hayes Valley on December 21 from 6-9 p.m. for a festive and convivial evening.
Lafler and Scott Hoover bring their band The Dick Nixon Experience into the Mercury, rounding out the evening's entertainment with some hard driving "Oaxacabilly" music.
The Mercury Cafe is located at 201 Octavia St., San Francisco.
• I finally read Craig Thompson's Hababi last week. Wow. Masterful comics storytelling, and unbelievably gorgeous. Powerful mojo. Big ups to you, Craig.
• Finally, not comics, but related in that, if the human race isn't around for much longer, then there's no one i can sell our comics too. I often comment on my big crush on author, journalist Naomi Klein. But more than anything, i respect her for her courage and her ability to communicate radical truths that need to be heard. These are 20 of the best minutes you could possibly spend, her talk titled Addicted to Risk, courtesy of the wonderful Ted Talks.
Cheers to Nate Powell and his wife Rachel! They are now that proud parents of beautiful wee little Harper Powell, arrived on this world at 8:59 p.m. on the 5th of December. Nate writes: "She's healthy, well-adjusted, and ludicrously cute. I'll start her off on basic inking skills and then move to more advanced photoshop techniques soon..."
Hey kids! Harvey Pekar's Cleveland is listed in the brand spankin' new issue of Diamond Previews — order code DEC111207 — and not only that, but Joyce Brabner has a giant-sized interview in there as well! You can read it right here.
I've said it before, and i stand firmly by it, but i think this is one of Harvey's best books ever, and the art by Joseph Remnant is outstanding. A perfectly complimentary pair!
• Meanwhile, check this!... Kevin O'Neill is selling his original artwork for LXG! Read more about it at Paul (The Man at the Crossroads) Gravett's blog.
November 28, 2011 / More →
I feel like one of those late night cable access car-salesmen! But really, this is totally good stuff we're offerin' up here, kids! Seriously, if you're ahead of the curve and are buying comics for the digital device of choice, it don't get much better than this. Hell, it makes me want to get an iPad for myself!
That's really cool!... they even provided a hyperlink to the Cleveland graphic novel on our website!
As my partners on the Veeps film and myself find ourselves on the home stretch, i thought this would be a good time to showcase some more work by one of the two key players in our drama. As you may have read in last week's Hey, Bartender blog, Bill Kelter recently took a transformational road-trip. Meanwhile, Wayne Shellabarger too has been busy. Pretty soon (come on now!) Wayne is supposed to have his own website up, which will feature tons of rarely seen comics, posters, and miscellaneous art. Stay tuned.
Here's a 7" record cover Wayne did for San Francisco band Born Petrified. Subtle. Understated. Beautiful.
Veepster Bill Kelter waxes nostalgic on "The Cradle of Insignificance," in his new Veeps blog post. Some tasty travel writing and veeps history.
• Steve Lafler's swell new music video!
• Nate Powell -- On The March!! Does this guy ever sleep? From Nate himself:
My site has been totally redesigned! It also features links to the new digital versions of both graphic novels.
I just did the cover for the band Good Luck's new album, Without Hesitation. It's out on No Idea Records, and the artwork was a collaboration with photographer Ben Rains.
My forthcoming graphic novel The Silence Of Our Friends (written by Mark Long and Jim Demonakos, published by First Second Books) is "Certified Cool" in this month's Previews, and will hit stores in January!
I'll be going on a two-week tour in February, doing discussions, presentations, and signings for The Silence Of Our Friends-- dates aren't set yet, [stay tuned].
November 14, 2011 / More →
As part of the digital week, the amazing James Kochalka will be doing a Reddit AMA today! Go over and ask him anything!
BIG ROUND OF APPLAUSE FOR THE AWESOME JAMES KOCHALKA! Take a look at his responses here.