Top Shelf Productions


super stud... er, i mean, super spy

May 18, 2007

Let's talk about Matt Kindt. Matt is a personal favorite of both Chris and myself, and we feel that he's yet to be recognized as the amazing cartoonist and storyteller he is. His forthcoming, full-color book Super Spy is simply stunning. It's a great read, and is highly recommended.

Here's more information about the Marvel Comic show, of which Matt is a part.

Four-time Eisner Nominee Matt Kindt is bringing the new interactive art show and book release party, Enigma Machine, to Subterranean Books on July 13th at 7 pm. Mirroring the mystery of last year’s successful show Dead Drop, Kindt is back with more art, more mystery and more clues. The show will feature over 1,000 panels of original art as well as new pieces designed specifically for the Subterranean space. But come prepared with paper and pencil and disguise because the exhibit is more than it seems. Hidden within the art and the exhibit and throughout the store are coded messages and hidden correspondences that will lead the careful observer to personal rewards.

In addition the art and paintings, the show will also premiere Matt’s new graphic novel Super Spy ”“ a 300 page full-color epic that interweaves the every-day lives of several spies during World War II. The show begins July 13 and will run for a month, with an opening party and book signing at 7pm on July 13th. The location of the show: Subterranean Books, 6275 Delmar, St. Louis, MO 63130

• Julia Wertz who does a funny comics zine called Fart Party has also edited a fun little mini-comic anthology called I Saw You.... It's a collection of "missed connection" ads from Craig's List and other papers, as interpreted by a plethora of cartoonists, including the likes of Peter S. Conrad, Joe Sayers, Elijah Brubaker, Shannon Wheeler, Greg Means, and many many more.

Brand new to me, is the work of Laura Park... this is gorgeous stuff. I love her art.

he original plan was to make two mini-comics versions, and hope to find a publisher, but it seems like she'll be able to maybe skip the second mini, and go straight to book form, as SF-based publisher Manic D. Press has expressed interest in publishing it already.

Julia tells me she's still looking for contributions, though. To learn more check out her Missed Connections blog.

Others, by Will Dinski, is a sweet little package.

Tomasz Kaczynski's 3-issue mini-comic series (Trans-Alaska, Trans-Siberia, and Trans-Atlantis) is an excellent treatise on modern philosophy, with existential inner-ramblings not unlike what often keeps me awake.

The cartooning and the read is truly excellent, but it's the blissfully cool series trade dress that caught my attention in the first place, near the end of APE, as i made my way on a quick trip around the convention floor.

He's also got a pretty damn cool blog, called Trans-Atlantis.

Lucha Noir is an artbook by Rafael Navarro, storyboard artist and comic creator (Sonambulo), and Keith Rainville's, editor of the zine From Parts Unknown.

I met Rafael waaay back in 1996, when we were table neighbors in the Small Press Ghetto at the San Diego ComiCon. I've seen him throughout the years, and said hello at this con or that, but to be honest, back when he was getting started with Sonambulo, i had ZERO idea what "lucha" was, as so while his comic was really beautifully drawn, i simply didn't get the concept.

At APE this, when i went asking for Rafael to do a drawing in my Kirby's Fourth World sketchbook, i bought Lucha Noir, which collects the collaborations between he and Keith Rainville in From Parts Unknown; ringside sketches from actual lucha wrestling matches, character designs, spot illustrations, book covers, and the like. Rafael's stunning animation chops (in the Bruce Timm school), are on fine display throughout, and now, armed with some context for this age-old Mexican tradition, i'm scouring Portland comic shops looking for the first Sonambulo trade paperback.

Lucha fans and animation junkies alike should love Lucha Noir. (Oh, and BIG props for such a cool title.)

• I tracked down a copy of Comics International #201, the first under new management and editor Mike Conroy. I listed my beefs with the previous incarnation of the mag [too many cut & pasted press releases, thin content, etc.] and i'm happy to report that the new mag is a marked improvement. There are noticeably more feature articles, interviews, and what have you; but what strikes me as a real strong new addition is their running of lots of sample art, and even more cool, pencil art and developmental sketches from current comics. There's a beautiful section of art by Alberto Dose with work for the Desperados book he's doing with Jeff Mariotte.

It also enjoyed the short feature on writer Jason Aaron, and his series called Scalped. Now i'm intrigued, and depending on final reviews, might seek out a trade paperback, if one ever appears.

Granted, it's not perfect; a lot of the smaller news items are uneven, and by today's instant-news-on-the-internet, already dated. Plus the reviews section is so heavily weighted towards spandex... but then again, i'm just an indy guy, of course i'll grouse about that.

In the end, there's enough solid, entertaining and informative content here in this new issue, that i'll keep reading. Kudos to Mike. Good work.

• Just read one of the new mini-comics by Nick Mullins, called Holiday Funeral. It's actually two strips thrown together in one book, but they aren't paired together without intent. In fact, read together the two parts in the book create a somber and affecting story. Nick has always been one of the more formalist-thinking cartoonists i've known, with his long-running Litmus Test, and with this book he's taken an enormous leap forward, by using this formalism at the service of a truly beautiful narrative. Wonderfully drawn in a 2-color pallet (black & blue) tackles the subject of death and dying, and how younger people are affected by it. About how those who are dying (in this case, a grandparent) are reaching out, and yet how oftentimes younger family members are unable to relate, or the tools to deal. At least in our culture, it seems like anyone under 30 or even 40 years old has a difficult time grappling with this situation, and in Holiday Funeral, Nick explores this with sublime elegance. Excellent. Nick's best work to date.

• And... what's up with this French book, Sept Psychopathes. (Which i believe means, Seven Psychopaths.) From the mammoth French publisher Delcourt, i occasionally receive a current catalog, and in this most recent, the plug for this book. The writer is Fabien Vehlmann (who i've never heard of) and art is by, quite possibly, my absolute favorite artist working in comics today, be it indy or mainstream, Sean Phillips. Now, Sean can make even a lame script sing and dance because of his skills, but fortunately for us, he's been working with some great talents like Ed "the Brube" Brubaker (on books like Sleeper and Criminal) and Robert Kirkman (Marvel Zombies).

Here it looks like he's drawn a story in the same vein as the classic war film, the Dirty Dozen. Here though it looks another standard WWII setting mixed with a fair dose of X-Files weirdness, as Churchill recruits a gang a crazy assassins to take out Hitler. Please please please, someone tell me that Dark Horse or Wildstorm or somebody will publish this here in the U.S. Please?

•Â Finally, check out this cover Aaron Renier did for Ariel Schrag's anthology Stuck In The Middle. I guess there's a launch party for this at Rocketship tonight!.