Hey Bartender! pg. 10

January 11, 2011

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Oooh, neat! Dylan (Sparkplug) Williams and comics scholar Lisa Magnum are spreading the word about the comics class they're teaching (hopefully!) as part of the Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) Certificate Program. The enrollment is a couple shy of what they'd like to see, so snap to it, Portlanders... what are you waiting for?

• Oh, and make sure to check out our new Top Shelf Tribune, written by our own Leigh Walton and designed by long-time friend of Top Shelf, Carlos Hernandez Fisher. It's chock full of comics goodness.

the inimitable Todd Klein...

January 5, 2011 / More →

blogs about lettering for Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: 1969.

• Our friend, and fellow member of the International Comics Cognoscenti, John Weeks is making comics again! Check out his site Quick Draw!

Hermes Press is known for producing monographs on various illustrators, and Golden & Silver Age comics artists. They choose pretty damn good stuff to put out, and while their heart is in the right place, boy could they use an art director. Most of their releases have perfunctory design at best, and occasionally, just poor reproduction. Thankfully such is not the case with the recent John Buscema: Michelangelo of Comics. To the benefit of us all, the author of this book, Brian Peck, also designed it, and i'm happy to say this is one of the bitchinist classic comics art monographs to come out in a long while. I've long been a huge Buscema fan, and this books hits the mark from cover to cover. A perfect combination of content and form. Good on Mr. Peck, and good on Hermes Press for an exquisite publication. If you like vintage comics art, and just fine draftsmanship in general, this book comes highly recommended. I haven't seen it at any local comics shops, so order it direct from the publisher.

Regardez! La lumiere! C'est... C'est 2011!

January 3, 2011 / More →

I just received this delightful holiday greeting from the great Belgian cartoonist Jean Bourguignon. My French is suspect (at best), but i do believe the sentiment is well conveyed in the image alone. Merci beaucoup, Jean!

• Last night i finished watching the brilliant Bryan Fuller television series Wonderfalls. This guy is a friggin' genius. Not only in his ideas (obviously), but also in his ability to surround himself with a truly amazing staff of actors and writers. I'd previously seen the also heartfelt and uplifting series Pushing Daisies, so now i guess it's on to his earlier effort Dead Like Me. The idea that genuinely beautiful television like this, raging with love and humanity, is generally unceremoniously canceled in a mere handful of episodes, while absolute shit like two and a half men (not worthy of capitals OR italics!!) survives for years on end, makes me throw up a little in my mouth. What a f*cking travesty. If you like the offbeat — which Top Shelf fans usually do — and you haven't seen this delightful series, buy and watch it now, and you can thank me later.

Welcome to a brand new decade, friends.

January 1, 2011 / More →

• Kicking off Hey, Bartender in the new year is Akino Kondoh. (Check out her amazing art gracing the cover of AX volume 1.)


December 28, 2010 / More →

I'm spent from Christmas, folks, but it was entirely worth it. I think i might be in the minority, but i LOVE the holidays. That said, i could live without the holiday hangovers... such is the bartender's prerogative.

• Meanwhile, feast on this truly awesome editorial illustration (and rough drafts) Jeffrey Brown made for an article in Filter magazine titled "Televisionaries." I grew up with a lot of this stuff, though sad to say i missed Pee Wee's Playhouse and Fraggle Rock.

Thanks Jeffrey!

Merry Christmas (Eve), and/or any other holiday you choose to celebrate!

December 24, 2010 / More →

Courtesy of me mate Ben Saunders.

• And from another British pal, the wonderfully talented Lizz Lunney.

December 22, 2010

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As mentioned not too long ago, the great Jeffrey Brown will be part of a group exhibition in Chicago soon.

• And more fun stuff from the Center For Cartoon Studies. Art by CCS student Dakota McFadzean.

Ho Ho and one more Ho for good measure.

December 21, 2010 / More →

Here's a smattering of holiday art i'm getting in my in-box. I love all three of these guys and their work.

From Gregory Benton

From Dean Haspiel

From David Chelsea

And in case you missed it, Max Estes' art for our own holiday greetings.

really? has it been two weeks?...

December 16, 2010 / More →

Yikes! O.k. lots of fun stuff, so fasten your seatbelt....

• Hey, that's me!!

Doug Dorr interviewed me for his terrific Portland-centric blog called Portland Comics. I'm honored. Heck, look who i follow in the interviews! (The delightful Kelly Sue DeConnick and Sparkplug's Dylan Williams!)

Max Estes says hello!

• So does Jed McGowen.

• Nate Powell is one busy motherf*cker!! He recently sent in this bit of juicy info:

"Hey y'all! Just letting you know that I illustrated an awesome book called EDIBLE SECRETS: A Food Tour of Classified US History by Michael Hoerger & Mia Partlow, which Microcosm Publishing just released. I'll send one to each of you... it is perfect highbrow bathroom reading. Here's a copy of the cover and a link, if you wanna put it up on the blog section or anything... thanks!"

• I recently finished "mentoring" a student at the Center for Cartoon Studies named Pat Barrett. Just received an announcement for a new web comic he and two pals are doing, called Farmy Acres. It's an ambitious conceit, and worth a peek.

He writes:
"My buddies Dan McCool, Todd McArthur and I have started a new web comic. It's set on a farm in Kansas, 1962. Each of us draws a strip about one area of the farm. Our characters can move around from place to place, but we're stuck drawing the same location, which means story lines will wander from cartoonist to cartoonist. A new strip will be posted every Monday and Wednesday,"

• Jeffrey Brown's work will be showing at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago in January:

• Did i already run this Liar's Kiss poster? Sweet! (Coming in April.)

December 1, 2010

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the talented and fabulous Jeremy Eaton is having an online sale. His "cartoon jumbles" are some of the niftiest and loving tributes to our medium. Really wonderful stuff.

Here's what he has to say:
"I'm happy to announce this years Holiday Art Sale will run from Dec. 1 to Dec. 21, three full weeks during which time ALL of my original art available online will go for 60% off its listed price. If you come across a piece you are interested in, but aren't sure if it qualifies for the discount, simply let me know and I will verify that for you.

"Happy hunting! Enjoy the season!"

• Sean T. Collins and Matt Wiegle launch a dedicated Destructor website. Some of this originally ran in b&w on Top Shelf 2.0, but i'll be the first to say that the same material is given new life with Matt's gorgeous color palette. Great stuff!

• My (awesome) intern Rachael has a sweet movie blog. Check it out.

happy snappy holidays one and all...

November 28, 2010 / More →

I do love this period, after the food coma of Thanksgiving and before the crack of a New Year. Sure, crass consumerism is gross, but gimme the frosty mornings, the friends and family, the food, the decorations, the lights, and the spirit of giving. It's all too easy here in Portland, where we have, you know, seasons. I've spent Christmas in Arizona before, and while it has its own charms, i'll take a scarf & gloves over shorts & flip-flops any day.

In any case — before i cry tears of joy in my soy eggnog — and in the spirit of giving, let's turn our attention to our great amigo Steve Lafler, who is in midst of a Kickstarter campaign to get his sublime tome El Vocho into print, then into bookstores. This is the real deal, folks.

Eric Orchard showcased in Spectrum

November 18, 2010 / More →

That's pretty damn cool. I love Spectrum! Congrats Eric!

Huff Po says Lost Girls is not filmable. I'd wager the author would concur. And how about a big ol' Happy Birthday Alan Moore!

• Oh man, Brian Warmoth spotlights one of the best new comics talent in years and years, the great cartoonist and swell guy, Joseph Lambert. I think as soon as Joe gets a substantial collection of his work in print between two covers (and/or a feature-length graphic novel), the world can't help but notice. Until then, enjoy this choice selection. (Thanks to The Comics Reporter for the heads-up.)

• Here's Nate Powell's rad painting for the forthcoming Any Empire graphic novel!!

• Have you had "The Talk" with YOUR children?

oh man oh man oh man...

November 13, 2010 / More →

busy busy busy here at Top Shelf PDX Headquarters gearing up for our 2011 schedule. Dag-busted-darnit, i'm gonna try and get more bitchin' developmental art, covers, and whatnot up on this blog. Starting now!, with a couple kick-ass cover sketches for Kagan McLeod's forthcoming Infinite Kung-Fu collection. Feast on these!

• GREAT photo set of Paul & Anina's annual Halloween party. I had such a good time, as always. Big thanks to Paul & Anina!! BTW, my get-up was inspired by the background hip-hop dancer in the recurring SNL skit What's Up With That? (I'm not sure who they had taking snaps throughout the party. Sorry.)

• So i'm currently in the process of organizing / purging my url bookmarks. (Egads, what a mammoth project.) In any case, i'm stumbling across lots of cool shit. Case in point; how rad is this piece of art, the header for the Belgian comics shop(?) Het Besloten Land. The art is by Randall C.

• Wow, i'm not a fan of "motion comics," but Daniel Kramer did a sweet number with Dean Haspiel's Billy Dogma story "Sex Planet."

Billy Dogma in "Sex Planet" from Daniel J. Kramer on Vimeo.

Caryn Tate did this interview with the Nerdage blog over at The Oklahoman newspaper.

November 3, 2010

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Hi folks, i do hope everyone out there had a swell Halloween. I know i did. Things have been busy for this bartender, as we gear up for our 2011 publishing schedule. Lots of good stuff coming down the pike, so stay tuned on that front.

Top Shelf Five for Friday (from last week), courtesy Tom Spurgeon's Comics Reporter.

Big ups to everyone who chipped in!

• For everyone hounding me to join Facebook, claiming that one can set their own privacy standards? Suck on this.

"..affects tens of millions of Facebook app users, including people who set their profiles to Facebook's strictest privacy settings."

Steve Lafler's band, Dick Nixon Experience, rocked the house last July at the El Vocho launch party, at the Mercury Cafe in SF.

• Akino Kondoh's animation, Ladybirds' Requiem digest version has been selected for top25!
YouTube Play: Live from the Guggenheim. A Biennial of Creative Video.

You can also watch all 25 videos on the YouTube Play Channel.

Epic photo set of the Isotope: APE Aftermath Party. Pics by Dyami Serna. Have i mentioned how much i love that party? Oh, i have?...

• Cool stuff i scored at APE:

- Katy Wu's Tiger Bee. Wow! Absolutely lush and beautiful. Buy it!

- Movies R Fun!, by Josh Cooley. Outstanding ode to great moments in film. I LOVE this book! Buy it!

• Finally, here are some bitchin' covers and flap art for Jeffrey Brown's abandoned series Sulk. (Don't worry kids, he's got plenty of great comics up his sleeve still. Simmer down now!)

October 21, 2010

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Back from APE in beautiful San Francisco, yet another one come and gone. Great time as always. Stayed the first night in town with my old pal Wayne (Veeps) Shellabarger, geeking out on film, old comics, recently found sketchbooks, and talking too about the poster for our forthcoming Veeps movie. It's been too long crashing at Chez Wayne.

Got to spend time with another fine friend, Patrick Jodoin. We went out on Friday night and, as per usual, got a little tipsy. At the show, got to talk with lots of groovy folks: Deb Aoki, Renee French, Johnnie Arnold, Rich Koslowski, Scott Morse, Chris (AdHouse) Pitzer and his lovely wife Lisa, Dan (Slave Labor) Vado, Peggy (D&Q) Burns, Mike & Janice at the Fantagraphics booth, Tammy Stellanova, Josh Frankel, Robin (Inkstuds) McConnell, Jennifer de Guzman, François Vigneault, and gee, so many more.

Saturday night was, of course, my third or fourth guest bartending gig (The Top Shelf Happy Hour), for the APE Aftermath Party at Isotope Comics Lounge. And yet again, this bartender perhaps imbibed a little more than he should have... who am i to say? In any case, thanks to James, Kirsten (awesome margaritas!), Storm, Josh, and G.A. for yet another swell party.

As everyone now knows, the winner of this year's Istope Award for Excellence in Mini-comics (for which i was a nominating judge) was The Possum and the Pepper Spray, by Pete Hodapp. Congrats Pete!

I must point out a few other standouts from the competition. No time to comment, other than these are all cartoonists i recommend that you check out.

Author / Mini-comic submitted for the Isotope Award:
Peter S. Conrad / Attempted Not Known #11
Box Brown / Everything Dies #4
A.M. Babakitis & C.M. Clarkson / The Crystalline Man
Jason Jihanian / Danger Country #1
Neil Brideau / Write Now!
Corinne Mucha / My Every Single Thought
Josh Frankel / Water Column #3
Sophie Yanow / VSNQST (which can be read here, on Top Shelf 2.0)

• Moving right along, coming in the Spring the world will be pummeled by more of those Incredible Change-Bots, courtesy of Jeffrey Brown. To whet your appetite, dear readers, chew on this goodness. Cover art for Incredible Change-Bots Two. The one on the end is actually the cover for the third book in the series, Incredible Change-Bots: Two Point Something Something. F*ck Yes!

• I'm proofing the new edition of Alex Robinson's Tricked right now. Matt Kindt's new cover rocks. Here's a some sketch comps Matt did early on, and the final.

• Contribute to former Top Shelf intern, Hazel Newlevant's SADNESS ZINE!

Hazel writes:
"I've decided to edit an anthology of SADNESS, and I'm hoping for artistic contributions from some of the lovely creative people I know. Be it genuinely sad, hilariously sad, or both; comics, drawings, photos, poetry, stories –– however you prefer to express your inner angst!

"Format: 5.5 x 8.5, black & white, 200dpi or higher for images. I have a scanner and tablet, so if you don't, I can scan and edit stuff for you. Text submissions, you can format or hand-write yourself, or I'd be happy to format them for you.

"What you get: At least one free copy! I don't know how successful this will be, but if it pays for itself and I'm able to do multiple printings, I will try to give you more. Also, your name and website or business information, the title of the piece, and the URL of any website/blog which you'd like me to include in the zine credits.."

Deadline: December 1st. Send it to: hazel@newlevant.com