Hey Bartender! pg. 8

we're running a BLANKETS contest!...

August 12, 2011 / More →

at Comics Alliance! Winner receives a copy of the book with an original sketch by Craig Thompson inside!! Contest runs until Tuesday, the 16th.

How cool is that?!


August 8, 2011

More →

James Kochalka will doing two appearances in Philadelphia on Labor Day weekend. Here's a poster Box Brown made for the event.

James also won the award for Best Cartoonist in Vermont, in the Seven Days paper.

• Here's a clip of one of my favorite local bands. And even though the dumb-ass interviewer calls it surf music, they're pretty much a straight-up roadhouse style blues band. I was there (in fact, if you close you can see me when they pan the audience) and danced my butt off.


• Finally, i have to gibe some props to one of the most under-rated cartoonists working in comics today, my old pal Chris Cilla. I recently read his feature-length mind-fuck of a book, The Heavy Hand, published by Sparkplug Comics. To be honest, i'd be hard pressed to tell you "what it's about." Needless to say, it left a lingering impression on me. Weird is the best way to put it. And gorgeously drawn too. Heard it from Chris himself just today that Zak Sally's La Mano will be releasing a collection of Chris' long out of print mini-comics run called The Diplomat. If you like indy comics, you owe yourself to check out the fine work of Chris Cilla.


eddie campbell is...

August 4, 2011 / More →

blogging again!! (Thanks to Tom at The Comics Reporter for the heads up.)

Seriously comics-lovers, Eddie is one of the smartest, most erudite raconteurs about art, literature and comics that our beloved medium has. He's always worth reading.

And if you've never read his work (besides Shame On You!), we've got some gems right here for you.

Alec: The Years Have Pants.
This is arguably the most sublime autobiographical comics ever created.

The Playwright. (With Daren White.)
Witty and poignent, with perhaps Eddie's best art to date.

And of course, the inimitable From Hell. (With Alan Moore.)
Who the heck is Alan Moore, anyway. Of course, i kid... From Hell is without question one of the highest achievements in the history of comics. A transcendental masterpiece.


just back from some camping...

August 1, 2011 / More →

and now, back to the day-to-day, Sigh...

This little blog update is all-Kochalka.

Here's the beautiful little piece James drew that was made into a bookplate give-away at ComicCon last weekend. His entire family was in attendance.

And here's a little number James dug up on Comic Art Fans. From a joint appearance with James and Craig Thompson at ComicCon in 2004, and drawn on the title page of the anthology they each appeared in, Happy Endings, edited by the great Diana Schutz.


Gregory Benton, stud artist, cartoonist and friend of Top Shelf

July 27, 2011 / More →

has started a new art blog called The Daily Pocket Book on Facebook. I'm a huge admirer of Gregory's work, and it's awesome to see a place online where i can check his stuff out. Big ups, G!!

• David Walker and the guys at the Cort and Fatboy podcast spill some Top Shelf love!


Reading Frenzy, Portland's premier small press & zine store

July 25, 2011 / More →

is having a Kickstarter campaign for the new Superstitions issue of Crap Hound, and could use your support.

• Haven't had much time to read as of late, but of what i have read, here's what i can recommend:

-- The Death of Elijah Lovejoy, by Noah Van Sciver. A chapter that Noah excised from his forthcoming Abe Lincoln book. I can see why he cut it out in context of the larger narrative, but this is at the same time a terrific standalone story. [Read more here at Comix Talk.]

-- Goodness, by Mel Stringer. Sweet little mini with delicious pencil chops. Fine cartooning.

-- Papercutter #16. Edited by Greg Means, with contributions from Nate Beaty, Joey Allison Sayers, Liz Prince, and Alexis Frederick-Frost. Once again, my absolutely favorite anthology. This one's got a couple dark stories that really got under my skin.

-- The wonderful Anne Koyama did a comics swap with me, and two books i finished were the anthology Root Rot, edited by Anne and Michael DeForge, and Cat Rackham Loses It!, by Steve Wolfhard. Both heaps of fun and candy for the eyes.

• Finally, there's Dan Clowes' recent Mister Wonderful. To be quite honest, Clowes is one of those creators who, to me seem preternaturally deft at the medium. A master if you would. And as such, there's this little itsy bitsy part of me who kind of wants to see a big fat turn drop one day, if only to show me that he's human. No such luck. Brilliant comics. (And sadly, as an absolute dork around girls i crush on myself, i can relate to the protagonist.) It's a quick read, but worth your time.


comiccon is in full-swing...

July 21, 2011 / More →

and i'm not there! How weird. I've been in attendance 14 years in a row, as well as 91, 94, and 96. In any case, Top Shelf is there in full force, so make sure to swing by our booth and say hello to everyone there.

• Anyhoo, here's a terrific chalk-talk Nate Powell gave at Pulaski Tech College about comics storytelling. I love how much of a Michael Golden nerd Nate is. Good stuff!!

• And here's a new episode of Dusty McCord's Dumb Geeks. (Reminder, Dusty did our final edit of the Veeps movie, directed by me.


busy busy busy...

July 14, 2011 / More →

lots of cool stuff, so much to see and do...

Kagan Mcleod has crafted the most bitchin' comic book trailer i've ever laid eyes on, and everyone is (justifiably) raving about it.

Wayne Shellabarger (Veeps co-author, with Bill Kelter) to a snap today at the Oakland Public Library. Some Matt Kindt love!

• Direct from the Brewmasters at Cartoon Brew, "Chief Serenbe" by Evan Curtis. This is wicked cool animation. I really dig the Kerouac reference. Truly outstanding.

"Cartoon Brew’s Student Animation Festival continues today with the third film in our line-up: Chief Serenbe by Evan Curtis from the Savannah College of Art and Design. This stop motion short really stood out to us as we were watching the entries. The film isn’t conventionally narrative, but engages the viewer by taking us into the world of a drifter. It is a surprisingly emotional piece of work and manages to create a distinctive sense of time and place. Curtis’s cinematic approach and use of depth of field makes us forget the star of the film is just a small toy."

Chief Serenbe from Cartoon Brew on Vimeo.

• Wait... what?! Jennifer Hayden is making jewelry from her comics... she guessed it, a first for Top Shelf.

• Hey folks, our pal Conch over at KBOO's Words & Pictures program is airing his interview with Portlanders Jesse Reklaw and Lisa Magnum today (Thursday), two swell folks and part of the comics cognoscenti here in Portland.

"Thursday July 14th from 11:30 to noon, Words & Pictures welcomes local comics artist, publisher, and promoter Jesse Reklaw, creator of the long-running dream-chronicle strip Slow Wave. Jesse will be joined by Lisa Mangum, publisher and co-editor of Gazeta, the international comics anthology, and they'll talk about the new comics certificate program that they're launching this month at the Independent Publishing Resource Center.

"Words & Pictures airs the second Thursday of each month from 11:30am to noon (PDT) on KBOO Radio, 90.7fm. KBOO's real-time webstream via iTunes or Abacast. More info and links to recent Words & Pictures audio archives."


super early computer animation

July 10, 2011 / More →

"Chips in Space," from my friend and old University of Oregon prof Ken O'Connell.

Ken writes, "It is based upon 512 chips of color. Each corner of the cube is a primary red, yellow and blue and cyan, magenta and yellow, and then black and white to form the eight corners.

"My friend, Terry Beyer, was a programmer in the computer science department and did all the programming on an Apple II computer."

Some great music, too.


and now even more on Lucille!...

July 3, 2011 / More →

over at Comic Book Resources.

• Greg Ruth rocks a sweet, FREE download called Logs I Have Known.

As a budding tree geek myself, as well as a big fan of Greg's awesome lush artwork, this is kind of blowing my mind.

• My pal Mike Baehr up at Fantagraphics sent me this screen-grab, from Conan O'Brian. He wrote, "Just caught this on my DVR. Every episode has a jokey episode title -- I don't know if this was a deliberate Kochalka reference, but it's pretty cool!"


ludovic debeurme youtube flick...

June 30, 2011 / More →

a tres chic short film about him and his work. If you haven't read it yet, folks, Lucille is a wonderfully compelling and emotionally resonate graphic novel.


ed piskor, author of the forthcoming original graphic novel Wizzywig,

June 20, 2011 / More →

has a super fun blog post called Color Chart of Yore, explaining the relatively simple color charts used in the comics i grew up with, and commenting on the abuse of color in contemporary comics.

• I recently set up my friend Barbara [copy-writer deluxe, film buff, and furniture refurbisher] with a set of Top Shelf Kids Club comics and Owly plushie to give to her daughter Hayden. These adorable pics attest to her response, and can i just say, make the hard days in this industry worth it all.


top shelf 2.0 contributor Box Brown

June 16, 2011 / More →

is launching a new publishing house called Retrofit, "specifically to publish short, cheap, stapled ALTERNATIVE comics a la Drawn and Quarterly in the 90's." They're going Kickstarter to get this off the ground... learn more here.

Contributing authors include: James Kochalka, Colleen Frakes, Pat Aulisio, Josh Bayer, Corinne Mucha, Joe Decie, Tom Hart, Liz Baillie, Chuck Forsman, John Martz, L. Nichols, Nathan Schreiber, Noah Van Sciver, Ian Harker, Jason Turner, Sally Madden, Brendan Leach


Jennifer Hayden, whose first Top Shelf book, Underwire

June 12, 2011 / More →

is schedule for a September release, is featured on the Babeland website. That's awesome. Jennifer writes:

"Back story: I did this comic for my strip S'Crapbook on Only The Blog Knows Brooklyn. This one was about my reading at "Edgy Mom's Nite", which was organized in part by OTBKB (and where every scrap of paper I brought along--postcards, business cards, flyers, and minicomics--disappeared by the time I left!). The event involved some items from famed sex toy store Babeland, and OTBKB sent the comic to them, and they put it on their website. Ha!"

Diana Schutz is interviewed by Patrick Rosenkranz at the Comics Journal. Diana and Bob Schreck are two of the most influential people in my comics career. Diana, you rule! XOXO.

• My pal Ben Saunders' new book, Do The Gods Wear Capes?: Spirituality, Fantasy, and Superheroes, is now up for pre-sale on Amazon.

And check out this swell Mike Allred cover!


the mighty Tom Hart

June 5, 2011 / More →

has made his mini-comics oeuvre available in one fat tome, She's Not Into Poetry, and is selling it on Lulu for a mere 17 bones. This, dear readers, is truly seminal comics from "our" early/mid 90s Generation, stands the test of time, and is worth every cent. I own all of the original minis. Hey, now i can eBay those and take a trip to Tahiti! (I kid, of course... maybe i can get a cheap ticket to Cleveland?)

PGC3′s Geek Olympathon Sets Schedule, Opens Registration. This is so freaking cool, i'm just going to copy & paste the awesome press release from the awesome Elisabeth Forsythe from TFAW.

The Portland Geek Council of Commerce and Culture (PGC3) is proud to announce that team registration is now open for the Geek Olympathon, June 11 and 12! Participants will form teams of up to five members and then take part in a weekend full of geeky contests and events held all over Portland. Entry is free and dozens of prizes are up for grabs, including the grand prize: a trip for two to the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con, donated by Things From Another World!

In addition to a multitude of geeky contests, there will be two awesome parties: the sure-to-be legendaryDrinkathon on June 11, from 6:30 pm to close at Vendetta at 4306 N. Williams Ave., and the Awardathon on June 12, at the Mission Theater at 1624 NW Glisan from 7:00 pm to close. There’s no cover for either of these parties, but you must be 21 or older to attend!

The Olympathon will kick off at 9:00 am at Backspace at 115 NW 5th Ave. on Saturday, June 11 with opening ceremonies and a Geek Alleycat Bike Race sponsored by Old Town Computers. Backspace will provide free house coffee and facilities for last-minute team registration.

Other prizes include a night’s stay at the Jupiter Hotel, two Club-level tickets to a Portland Timbers game from Centerplate, and a Nettop PC from Old Town Computers, so get your team together now! Register your team now and get the full details.

• Check out Andy Runton boss Indy Island poster for this weekend's Heroes Con!!