Hey Bartender! pg. 5

long time comin'...

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.

From iFanboy.

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.


March 29, 2012

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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.


March 23, 2012

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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.


March 16, 2012

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The great Nate Powell is drawing and coloring a forthcoming issue of Jeff Lemire's Sweet Tooth... and he's got a mini process blog on it over at Seemy Brother Dance.

• 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.


SuperF*ckers!

March 12, 2012 / More →


March 5, 2012

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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.


hey, i'm on a podcast!!

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.


February 17, 2012

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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.

Chris also had this recipe for fried smelt published in Saveur.

Dark Horse editor Diana Schutz's 'Manara Library' volumes are flat-out gorgeous. Nicely done, Diana!

• New art by Gregory Benton.


February 15, 2012

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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.

James Kochalka does Tumbler.

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.

She writes: "Rushes is my way of returning, for fifteen minutes every night, to a looser drawing style, and to view the 'rushes' of the 'inner' filming of my day."

• 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…]

AX cover artist Akino Kondoh's smart, stylish little trailer for, i think (?), a new book. Maybe an art show?

Planète Manga ! du 11 février 2012 au 27 mai 2012 by centrepompidou

• Finally, here's some Fan Fiction from Dark Horse editor-whiz Scott Allie's kid. (Who happens to be in my kid's first-grade class.) No less than Korgi #4! Christian Slade, look out, dude!



February 9, 2012

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From a recent Book Brahmin column in Shelf Awareness, check out this cool drawn questionnaire from Nate Powell. (Large version via the link.)

• 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.

Van Halen. One of my favorite bands ever. Back from the grave!


Staff Pick: Pterodactyl Hunters in the Gilded City

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
SRP: $9.95
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."

~Sarah Martinez

There you have it folks! Sarah at Diamond would not let you down, so order a copy from your LCS (local comics shop) asap!

• Top Shelf alum Rick (Shuck Unmasked) Smith has been busy with his terrific cycling comic Kickstand, online and in print, and has launched a new Kickstand Club.

Check it!


February 1, 2012

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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!
(https://www.facebook.com/events/328478533840350/)

Sat 2/4: SEATTLE WA – Discussion & Signing @ Fantagraphics Books (1202 S. Vale St.), 6-8 pm. (Mark & Jim only)
(http://www.fantagraphics.com/fantagraphics-bookstore-gallery-2.html)

Fri 2/10: SAN FRANCISCO CA – Discussion, Signing, & Art Exhibit @ Mission Comics And Art (3520 20th St.), 7-9 pm.
(https://www.facebook.com/events/323086007723659/)

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.
(http://cartoonart.org/)

Mon 2/13: PETALUMA CA – Discussion & Signing @ Copperfield’s Books (140 Kentucky St.), 4-6pm.
(https://www.facebook.com/events/285580794824716/)

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)
(https://www.facebook.com/events/146440758800848/)

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.


Wha?!... it's been ten days since i last posted... Yikes!

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, burger@mail.ljudmila.org / stripburger.org

WORKING TITLE!
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!

Work as:

  • 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
  • workoholism
  • internship
  • 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

TEHNICAL DETAILS:
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:
burger@mail.ljudmila.org
Stripburger / Forum Ljubljana, Metlekova 6, SI – 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia, Europe


american elf love...

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.


January 6, 2012

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BLUE!!

• Oh, that Kevin Cannon... check him out At Length. The Classics Illustrated Comics Project.

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.

Eric Skillman drew this wicked cool piece of art to celebrate the new year. Also at his site he has a terrific breakdown of the work he did in 2011.

• Finally, this is so cool i just have to throw it out to the world... the endpaper artwork for Ed Piskor's forthcoming graphic novel Wizzywig.