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:
• 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!)
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!
• Contribute to former Top Shelf intern, Hazel Newlevant's SADNESS ZINE!
"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: email@example.com
October 14, 2010 / More →
• Our own Leigh Walton made it out to Nate Powell's wedding reception this last weekend. Here's what he had to say, and a picture of Leigh and Nate. Congrats Nate!
"Really fun!... Nate's mom was THRILLED to see me... had great food & drinks, and did a little dancing. When Nate's buddy who was in charge of music had a hard drive failure, I sort of had to come to the rescue and play DJ with my phone, but everybody seemed happy (except the kids who kept asking to hear Eminem)!... Then he & Rachel went to Mexico for a week."
• Matt Kindt love going around... Matt Kindt is St. Louis' Best Cartoonist!
• Henry Chamberlain put together an amazing 24 Hour Comics Day to celebrate the annual event, with a mighty crew that included Jennifer Daydreamer, Henry Chamberlain, Randy Wood, Tom Dougherty, Eroyn Franklin, Stefan Gruber, David Lasky, Sean Robinson, among others.
• I sure do love Jack Black.
• Gorgeous animated short called "Indians." (From Cartoon Brew)...
"Colored pencils, cut-outs, and graphite pencil are eloquently blended in "Indians." The folk art mixed-media approach does a nice job of evoking warm autumnal feelings. It was made by Louise Cailliez at ESAAT, a French school in Roubaix." —Amid Amini
• I noticed something cool while flipping through the recent Diamond Previews, which was reinforced today at my LCS when i stumbled across the new issue of Wolverine (#2?)... long-time comics artist Jae Lee is banging out some incredible f*cking covers for Marvel these days! Now, i've been a fan of Lee's work going waaaay back to his run on Namor in the early 90s. But this recent series of covers are truly gorgeous. (Now that i'm paying attention, i'll be tracking these babies down. Wish i could have an art book of this stuff.)
October 2, 2010 / More →
APE is a mere two weeks ahead, and a nasty monster pile of, stuff, is trying to eat me alive. Yeesh. Constant Vigilance is indeed the price of my gig. Miscellaneous items to follow.
• Great news from François Vigneault!... a new series of Elfworld (fantasy anthology) comics is on the way, under his Family Style imprint!! Reinventing itself as a series of 36-page comics, the first new issue premiers at APE in just a couple weeks. I am stoked! Just check out this boss cover by Sammy Harkham.
• Diana Thung put up a new comic on her website. Cute! [BTW. You people who don't know Diana's work -- her first book, Captain Long Ears is out from Slave Labor. Savvy readers will get this book either from their local retailer or from SLG. Diana pretty much kicks ass. Her comics have chutzpah. Her style and world-building is a tasty mix of early L'Association and Miyazaki. Need i say more? That's French and Japanese influences on an Aussie.
September 23, 2010 / More →
pimping AX: Alternative Manga. This time in MPLS!
WHO: Open to the public
WHAT: Reception with Sean Michael Wilson, editor of AX: Alternative Manga (in stores this month from Top Shelf Productions)
IN CONNECTION WITH: The 10th annual "Schoolgirls and Mobilesuits: Culture and Creation in Manga and Anime" conference at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design
WHEN: Sunday, September 26 2010, 7-9 PM
WHERE: Grumpy's Bar & Grill - Downtown, 1111 Washington Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55415
CONTACT: Michael Drivas at Big Brain Comics, 612-338-4390
or Leigh Walton at Top Shelf Productions, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Also, folks, make sure to support one bitchin' cartoonist, Jed McGowan, and pre-order his new graphic novel Lone Pine, available NOW in Diamond Previews. Order code: SEP10 0742. This puppy comes courtesy of our fine friends at AdHouse Books. I've read it. It's awesome. But it now!
September 21, 2010 / More →
Steve is one of not only my very best friends in comics, he's also one of the most under-the-radar, yet best storytellers in the biz. If you haven't read his Bughouse trilogy then you're missing some truly great comics. And his new book El Vocho is outstanding. Please do yourself a favor and buy his books!
And now, as fate would have it, Steve is getting his due. First, listen in on Steve and Robin McConnell talk it up at the Inkstuds podcast. Fucking heady philosophical shit!
Then, get yer fill with part 1 of a career-spanning interview with Steve conducted by Rob Clough at The Comics Journal. The title is "Explaining Reality To Myself"... 'Nuff said!
September 14, 2010 / More →
I hope you people perusing our site are taking advantage of the incredible deals we have right now. So much good stuff for oh-so-little. And heads-up — the more you buy, the better the deal, as our shipping costs in general are growing all the time. So our flat-rate really works best when the dollar amount of your purchase goes up. Just sayin'.
• Max Estes's Autumn greeting.
• John Weeks writes in from Cambodia:
"It may not have been the smartest choice, but I've busted out with print copies of QuickDraw #6. Available at bookshops only in Cambodia (for now), in both Khmer and English versions. (Shipping is more expensive than printing!) I've been in Cambodia for 10 years and wanted to have something tangible to show for it, both for the expats and locals."
• Wow!... awesome interview with the great Alan Moore, at Bleeding Cool.
• There's been a Robert Boyd sighting! Believe it! And he's pimping James Kochalka's work, no less, in an essay calling out the "fine art" world ignoring comics as a legitimate medium. (Still.) Good to see Robert writing still at his blog The Great God Pan is Dead.
• Our pal Eric Skillman spearheaded one of the single coolest projects EVER for his job at Criterion. A batch of faux movie posters for the All Tomorrow's Parties music and film fest last weekend in Monticello, NY. So much great pieces, including work by Top Shelf alumni Wayne Shellabarger, Matt Kindt, Rob Goodin, and Scott Morse.
• And speaking of designer extraordinaire Eric Skillman, feast on this awesome post he made of his process for designing the cover for Daren White and Eddie Campbell's fine The Playwright. Choice work, Eric!
Take it away James: "It's my favorite time of year, when we get an opportunity to help spotlight a creator who is toiling in the underground making something wonderful," said Sime, "I consider whoever wins this award to be the comic industry's Miss America for the year, and it's my job to get their work out there to the comics press and reviewers. And I'm proud to say that often winning this award has helped these folks get noticed and published by some of the best publishers in the industry. So don't be shy... I know that many of you out there are hand-crafting some mini-comics brilliance, let us help share that work with the world!"
The Isotope Award for Excellence in Mini-Comics has helped bring attention to the likes of Joshua W. Cotter, 2004's winner who has just had a new printing of his brilliant SKYSCRAPERS OF THE MIDWEST from AdHouse Books, and 2006's winner Danica Novgorodoff who now has two amazing graphic novels out from First Second Books, including SLOW STORM and REFRESH, REFRESH. And the timing couldn't be more perfect, last year's winner Will Dinski was quickly scooped up by Top Shelf and his new original graphic novel FINGERPRINTS goes on sale this September 15th.
The five comic professionals who will serve as this year's Isotope Award judges include:
Jann Jones - Former Editor at DC Comics and Viz Media. The driving force behind some of the best all-ages comics of the 21st century, including BILLY BATSON & THE MAGIC OF SHAZAM and TINY TITANS.
Brett Warnock (HEY, THAT'S ME!) - Co-publisher and art director of Top Shelf Productions. Last year Brett secretly used his judging of the Isotope Award as an opportunity to scout new talent... and we don't mind if does it again this year!
Ed Luce - Author, artist of the brilliant WUVABLE OAF series. His "Scott Pilgrim of Gay Comics" is our absolute favorite self-published book right now. Read more about it atwww.wuvableoaf.com.
Kirsten Baldock - The Isotope's Special Projects Director. Kirsten is also a Librarian, bartender, and the author of the SMOKE AND GUNS graphic novel with Fabio Moon.
James Sime - Proprietor of Isotope - the comic book lounge in San Francisco.
To enter this competition, simply send five copies of your mini-comic to Isotope's address (326 Fell St. San Francisco, CA 94102) before the October 1st deadline. The award will be given out at the grand ceremony during APE AFTERMATH at the Isotope in conjunction with San Francisco's ALTERNATIVE PRESS EXPO. Because of the nature of this award, the winner will be contacted in advance and must be present at the Isotope at 9 PM on Saturday, October 16th for the award presentation ceremony.
For more information contact the Isotope at (415) 621-6543 or at email@example.com
• Whitney Matheson's Pop Candy collected some pics from Read Comics in Public Day. Good stuff... and Top Shelf is represented by James Kochalka's Johnny Boo and Jeffrey Brown's Undeleted Scenes.
• Here's a great little number edited by our old pal Kike Benlloch.
• Just read James Sturm's Market Day. Outstanding! James is nothing less than a master comics storyteller. If you like good comics, this is a must-read graphic novel. Trust me. If you can't find it at your local comics store, they suck. Ask them to stock it. If they won't, then head over to the D&Q website and buy it from the source. They even have a preview posted here for your edification! How nice is that?
• Finally, i received Lloyd (Troubletown) Dangle's newsletter, and it seems he's now in the "Visual Recording" business. I'll tell ya, kids, if anyone's qualified to do this, it's Lloyd. So ifs ya gots the need, he's the man ta call.
"My new thing is making real-time visuals for companies and organizations to aid in their planning, brainstorming, and decision making. It's called graphic recording.
"If you're interested, here's an article about graphic recording from Harvard Business Review.
"I'm looking for some client juju. If you are a facilitator, meeting planner, organizational guru, or someone who could benefit from visuals to aid your problem solving, I'm your man. And please think of me if you know somebody like that and can throw me a referral!"
Check out this sweet example he did for the Passion Fish Sustainable Seafood conference earlier this summer in San Diego.
August 30, 2010 / More →
Sorry for the long wait, true believers! (Don't sue me, Stan!) Just back from Minneapolis for the new indy comics show MIX. [Minneapolis Indie Expo.] Simply put, i had an amazing time. Big ups to organizers Sarah Morean and Andy Krueger for a very fine debut. They have a swell slideshow on their homepage (embedded below); which also has pictures of the book signing with Will Dinski, Aaron Renier, and Zak Sally at the astounding Big Brain Comics (run by the affable Michael Drivas).
There was a massive local comics contingent at this show, including: Will Dinski, Kevin Cannon, Tim Sievert, Vincent (King Mini) Stall, Lars Martinson, Tom Kaczynski, Sam Hiti, Zak Sally, Brett Von Schlosser, Tyler Page, Reynold Kissling and a bunch of the students i saw at MCAD as well. Special thanks to Barbara Schulz for bringing me to MCAD, and to Ursula Murray Husted... thanks for the ride! . People, i don't know if you're seeing a pattern here, but this is one helluva scene!
Also in from out of town were Aaron Renier, pimping his brand new (and incredible) book, The Unsinkable Walker Bean, Jeremy Tinder, comics legend John (King Cat) Porcellino and Noah Van Sciver. Nice to meet Noah! Jon (True Swamp) Lewis and Karen Sneider had a table. (I picked up Karen's Gags For Kids mini-comic, and i love it!) JP Coovert and some CCS kids were out. This place even had vegan donuts, courtesy of The Donut Cooperative!
Dylan (Sparkplug) Williams and BT Livermore made it out from Portland. I partied with boss Brian Heater from Daily Cross Hatch! Brian's got lots of coverage from MIX at the site, don't miss it! His recap is excellent.
Here's a couple pictures of Michael Drivas as we rode bikes across the mighty Mississippi River! I was riding one of their new Nice Ride 3-speed bikes. Pay with a credit card, and i rode ALL around the city, picking up and dropping off bikes all over, for about $5 a day. It's no wonder MPLS recent usurped Portland in the ongoing Best Bike Cities contest. What a super cool piece of city planning that works.
I also ate at some VERY good sustainable eateries all weekend. In uptown i had an unbelievable avocado sandwich at Tao Natural and Organic Foods Cafe. The next day i had a great burger at Common Roots Cafe. And then on the last night, i fabulous veggie sandwich at Brasa. All places had a good vibe too.
And finally, ultra-mega thanks to Sarah Morean and Will Dinski for making, hands-down, THE coolest signage Top Shelf has ever had. Feast your eyes, folks. (Note: these hand-made letters are at least 12" tall!)
• An important announcement from Jack Crack. (Adults ONLY!)
• Our friend Myla Goldberg has a spiffy new website. She's a terrific writer — in fact, let's let her tell you all about it:
"After years of dedicated Luddism, I have made a decisive step into the late-twentieth century with a spiffy new website, www.mylagoldberg.com, which tells you all about my soon-to-be-released novel, the old books, the upcoming tour, and other tidbits intended to be amusing.
"Not only that, but I now also have a public Facebook page, which I believe brings my technological savvy to roughly 2004. Visit me there at www.facebook.com/MylaGoldberg, where you can say that you 'like' it, and we can 'talk' to each other on the 'wall.'"
• The fine folks at Blank Slate sent me Mawil's newest English-language release, Sparky O'Hare: Master Electrician. This is some super fun comics, about a diminutive little rabbit who's very presence seems to fritz out any gadget he's near. And true to Mawil form, the girls in the office where Sparky works are entirely sexy and cute. Mawil is a cartoonist who is woefully under-appreciated in North America, so do your part, read his work, and spread the word. Also worth note is his Top Shelf book Beach Safari.
Oregon Cartoon Institute collaborated with filmmaker Karl Lind and Crumb scholars Patrick Rosenkranz and Charles Boucher to create this guide to R. Crumb's Oregon influences. We're calling this installment Carl Barks + Basil Wolverton = Genius R. Crumb.
July 31, 2010 / More →
Good Comics for Kids does James Kochalka at ComicCon.
July 29, 2010 / More →
ComicCon is now again in the review mirror. This year, for whatever reason, i was really zen the whole trip, after a depressing Thursday. (Staying mostly sober might have had something to do with this.) In any case, i had a great time.
We had a boatload of peeps at our booth. And it was hoppin' all weekend.
• James Kochalka made it back to ComicCon! Here are his fabulous American Elf strips from the show.
And with release of his SuperF*ckers collected edition, i thought this would be a great time to trot out the Super Awesome theme song video.
We're always in our clubhouse getting high
Everybody wishes we would die
Here we come
like a bomb
everybody run and hide!
Our dicks are stuck in the Playstation 3
Everybody wishes they could be
Here we come
like a bomb
Everybody f*ckin' run and hide!
• Henry Chamberlain posted two video blogs on Top Shelf at San Diego for CNN. (Thanks, Henry!)
• Talked with Emily Brundige, who turned me on to her terrific student short film, Pubertina.
Dig on their music vid for "On and On."
• Speaking of Jim Mahfood, here's some snaps i took at the live art party at Soda Bar, sponsored by Things From Another World and Nerd City, featuring the work of Jim, Scott Morse, Mike Huddleston, Ray Fawkes, King Gun, Jason Shawn Alexander, and some really cute talented girl they didn't list in the press kit.
• And finally, the last people standing in our neck of the woods on the floor, were the always delightful Mike & Janice of Fantagraphics.
July 20, 2010 / More →
The geeks are armoring up their stormtrooper costumes, and studio execs are praying for successful sneak-peak rollouts for their next bloated blockbusters. Hard to believe, but this will be this bartender's 16th ComicCon!! Oh, how the time flies. And moving right along...
• Max Estes sent this Summer greeting around. I really dig this.
• Drew Landry brought a tear to my eye with his plea to yet another fucking commission regarding the Gulf Spill. Spread this around folks. This guy is my new hero.
• Finally, before i continuing preparations for San Diego, here is a short piece by a Brazilian cartoonist named Rodrigodraw, who generously invited me as a guest to the comics and animation festival in late October he organizes called Animaserra, just outside of Rio de Janeiro. Besides all of this (organizing a show and writing and drawing comics), he is a university professor as well.
July 13, 2010 / More →
Buenos noches, mi amigos! This just in...
Steve Lafler, mastermind behind the mind-bending Bughouse Trilogy, will be right here in Portland this Thursday, signing copies of his swingin' new graphic novel El Vocho, at Reading Frenzy. The fiesta starts at 7:00. Steve lives in Oaxaca, Mexico, so his visits here are rare.
921 SW Oak St.
Portland OR 97205