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ESSEX COUNTY by Jeff Lemire is one of Canada Reads' top 5 novels of the decade!

November 24, 2010 / More →

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The CBC's Canada Reads, a nationwide book club program in which 5 books compete (each championed by a Canadian celebrity) to be named the #1 book of the year, has officially announced the final 5. Jeff Lemire's phenomenal Essex County has made the cut, becoming not simply the first Top Shelf book, but the first graphic novel ever, to be in Canada Reads! This year, the Canada Reads program bears the theme "the essential Canadian novels of the past decade," so the honor is even more prestigious.

The celebrity champion of Essex County has also been announced: indie rocker Sara Quin, one-half of the award-winning band Tegan and Sara! Along with Sara's spirited defense of the book in the Canada Reads broadcasts, we can expect plenty of attention on author Jeff Lemire, ranging from this Q&A to a variety of podcasts, interviews, and more.

The selection of Essex County for this program is a huge honor for Jeff Lemire, Top Shelf Productions, and the comics industry at large. It poses an opportunity for an entire country to discover the power of Jeff's work, and to debate its values against four other excellent books. Our deepest congratulations to Jeff and the other finalists!

Canada Reads has encouraged everyone to spend the winter reading all 5 books, with various programming allowing readers to get to know the finalists better, all building up to the official competition in February 2011. Happy reading, and may the best book win!


Review round-up: Boing Boing & Time on TONOHARU 2 and more!

November 11, 2010 / More →

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While we're still glowing from the Essex County news, there are plenty of other accolades burbling around lately. Here are some noteworthy recent reviews:

Mark Frauenfelder at Boing Boing, who thought Tonoharu Part One was "stunningly good," got an early look at Tonoharu Part Two, which just landed in stores yesterday -- and has an exclusive look inside to share with you all!

Douglas Wolk at Time's Techland blog has another delicious preview of Tonoharu Part Two, of a moment that manages to be both tender and painfully awkward at the same time. And of course everything's rendered in Lars' incredible visual style. Check it out here!

Meanwhile the good folks at FA: The Comiczine have fantastic things to say about Eddie Campbell's Alec: The Years Have Pants. "Throughout, Campbell’s apparently unflinchingly honest about himself, detailing his conviviality, his eccentricities and his parsimony, and in time he begins to draw up a picture of not only himself, but his family too. You feel that you know these people, though the medium of words, and those loose, scratchy pen-and-ink drawings." Reviewer Peter Campbell concludes: "There aren’t many comics that are both comprehensive and essential, but this is one of them... Every home should have a copy."

Will Dinski's recent Hollywood head-trip Fingerprints gets a great write-up from MNartists.org, which dubs it "a biting, perceptive satire on the seedy side of Hollywood." An interview with Will is nicely interwoven into the article -- discover the thought process that spawned the book, Will's thoughts on bringing it to Top Shelf, and more!

It's also great to see the outstanding mini-comics of Joseph Lambert get some praise in The Comics Journal. One of the stories praised by reviewer Rich Kreiner, "Fall," is available right here on Top Shelf 2.0. See why he says it "reminds in coloring and content of those glorious Sunday excursions Frank King chronicled for Walt and Skeezix in the autumn countryside."


Jeff Lemire's ESSEX COUNTY one of the 10 Best Canadian Novels of the Decade!

November 10, 2010 / More →

Image for Jeff Lemire's ESSEX COUNTY one of the 10 Best Canadian Novels of the Decade!

Thanks to the votes of huge numbers of readers, the CBC's prestigious Canada Reads program has placed Jeff Lemire's three-part graphic novel Essex County on the short list of 10 Essential Canadian Novels of the Decade!

The decision now falls to a panel of judges, who will select the final list of 5 novels for an epic multimedia elimination tournament on the CBC. The list of 5 will be announced on November 24.

Many thanks go out to the army of Jeff Lemire fans who helped land him in the top 10. This is a great honor for Top Shelf and Jeff -- now let's hope Essex County becomes the first graphic novel to become a Canada Reads finalist!


ESSEX COUNTY named one of Canada Reads' Top 40 Essential Canadian Novels of the Decade!

October 28, 2010 / More →

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Now we need your help to push it over the top!

Jeff Lemire's Essex County trilogy, now collected into a single beautiful volume, is more than just a great graphic novel. It's a love letter to the farms of Essex County where Jeff grew up, to the wider province of Ontario in both its urban and rural communities, and to the nation of Canada as a whole -- its wintry cold and human warmth, its love of hockey, and its rich history.

That's why it's been named one of the 40 novels honored by the CBC's prestigious Canada Reads program -- i.e. the Top 40 Essential Canadian Novels of the Decade! And that's not all: you can head to the Canada Reads web site, now through November 7, and vote for your pick for the final Top 10 list! Anyone with a web browser is eligible to vote, so head over there, check out all the great nominees, and make your voices heard!


Fantastic video interviews with Eddie Campbell and Nate Powell!

October 25, 2010 / More →

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Award-winning graphic novelists Eddie Campbell (The Playwright, Alec) and Nate Powell (Swallow Me Whole) have each been featured recently in relaxed, intelligent interviews that penetrate deep into the craft of making comics. There are plenty of great insights here from two artists from very different backgrounds, and both are well worth your time -- for anyone who loves comics but especially for comic creators.

In a newly-released video interview from last year's trip to Italy, Eddie Campbell talks to Alfredo Goffredi about how technology changes illustration, why he makes comics about everyday life, why he's never satisfied, why he considers himself a writer who writes with pictures, and why sometimes you have to smash alarm clocks with your children for the sake of Art.

Then, Nate Powell speaks with The Economist's Will Wilkinson for BloggingHeads.tv in a no-holds-barred discussion of graphic novels. They cover Nate's work, his growth as an artist, writer, and self-publisher, his experiences in the comics community and his perspective on the current state of the art.

You can view both interviews embedded below, by clicking Read More!

Read More →


San Francisco here we come: It's APE time!

October 14, 2010 / More →

Image for San Francisco here we come: It's APE time!

Top Shelf heads to San Francisco this weekend (October 16-17) for APE, the Alternative Press Expo!

Come by and meet:
Renee French, author of The Ticking and Micrographica, who's got a new book H Day from Picturebox!
Rich Koslowski (who drew the APE poster art), famed for Three Fingers (now in a new edition!), The King, and BB Wolf & the 3 LPs!
JD Arnold, writer of BB Wolf & the 3 LPs with art by Rich. Also a Northern California comic retailer himself, at Comicopolis in Santa Cruz!

And we'll also have all our great recent releases like Will Dinski’s Fingerprints, the underground Japanese comics anthology Ax, and Alan Moore’s Dodgem Logic magazine (including the new issue #5)!

Some of our Top Shelf 2.0 pals will be around as well, including Jed Alexander!

See you by the Bay!


Top Shelf heads to NYCC with Akino Kondoh and more!

October 6, 2010 / More →

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New York, here we come! This weekend (October 8-10) is the New York Comic Con, and Top Shelf Productions will be exhibiting in style. Don't miss our first ever appearance with the world-renowed Akino Kondoh, contributor and cover artist for Ax: A Collection of Alternative Manga! Grab copies of the brand-new Dodgem Logic #5, the latest issue of Alan Moore's wild underground magazine! Plus appearances by Top Shelf stars JD Arnold & Rich Koslowski (BB Wolf & the 3 LPs), Jeff Lemire (Essex County), and Robert Venditti (The Surrogates)! Come out and see us this weekend!


Dodgem Logic #5 Arrives!

October 5, 2010 / More →

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Hey Gang, Just so you know, Alan Moore's Dodgem Logic #5 has just arrived, and is now available (along with issues #1-#4). All the best, Chris


All Top Shelf Sale Orders Are In The Mail!

September 25, 2010 / More →

Hey Gang, Thanks to everyone for participating in the big sale. Just so you know, as of today, Monday October 4th, all the orders have shipped out. Whew! That was a ton of work, but work we were very grateful for! All the best, and see you at the New York Comic-Con this weekend. -- Chris Staros


TONOHARU rave-reviewed on Boing Boing!

August 27, 2010 / More →

Image for TONOHARU rave-reviewed on Boing Boing!

Geek renaissance man and weird-culture hero Mark Frauenfelder recently read Lars Martinson's Tonoharu: Part One - and loved it! In his review on Boing Boing today, Mark writes: "Tonoharu is a story of isolation, frustration, and mystery, with just the right amount of black humor to keep it from being depressing ... the overall effect is stunning. I can't recommend Tonoharu highly enough."

Tonoharu: Part One, Lars' Xeric-winning graphic novel, is the story of a young American college grad who heads to Japan to teach English. In a starred review, Booklist called it "a fully realized, engaging tale of international alienation. You can grab your copy of Part One below - and pre-order Part Two, which ships in November!


Top Shelf at the Baltimore Comic-Con

August 23, 2010 / More →

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Hey Gang, I'll be at the Baltimore Comic-Con all this weekend -- with all our new releases: THE PLAYWRIGHT by Daren White & Eddie Campbell, AX (VOL 1) Edited by Sean Michael Wilson, FINGERPRINTS by Will Dinski, BB WOLF & THE 3 LP'S by J.D. Arnold & Rich Koslowski, MOVING PICTURES by Kathryn & Stuart Immonen, UNDELETED SCENES by Jeffrey Brown, all four issues of Alan Moore's DODGEM LOGIC, and lots more. Come see me there! -- Chris Staros


USA Today's Pop Candy loves AX!

August 13, 2010 / More →

Image for USA Today's Pop Candy loves AX!

The irrepressible Whitney Matheson of USA Today's Pop Candy grabbed a copy of Ax: Alternative Manga at the San Diego Comic-Con... and sounds like she dug what she saw, because she's named it one of her favorite finds of the show!

"This brilliantly curated, 400-page collection highlights the best experimental Japanese comics I've ever seen," Whitney writes. "The art is mesmerizing and surreal, and the stories are unlike what you see in mainstream American work."

You can read more about Ax (and check our review archive) here!


IT HAPPENED AT COMIC-CON: Kathryn & Stuart Immonen talk MOVING PICTURES and more!

August 5, 2010 / More →

Image for IT HAPPENED AT COMIC-CON: Kathryn & Stuart Immonen talk MOVING PICTURES and more!

One of the most exciting things about San Diego Comic-Con this year was that comic-book power couple Kathryn & Stuart Immonen were joining us at the Top Shelf booth for the first time - and what a blast that turned out to be! The Immonens are not only great comic creators but great company.

A whole room full of fans got to find that out for themselves, as Word Balloon host John Siuntres presided over a chatty spotlight panel dedicated to Kathryn & Stuart's work. John and the Immonens pulled out all the stops for a wide-ranging conversation spanning their 20+ year career -- from their self-publishing days, to Stuart's long-lost adaptation of Lawnmower Man (!), to their beloved superhero work at DC and Marvel, to their acclaimed new book with Top Shelf, Moving Pictures. There are also hints about their next project, Russian Olive to Red King, and much more!

You can listen to the entire conversation here at Word Balloon!


IT HAPPENED AT COMIC-CON: Ax and the "Manga for Grown-Ups" Panel

August 4, 2010 / More →

Image for IT HAPPENED AT COMIC-CON: Ax and the "Manga for Grown-Ups" Panel

Wow, where to begin? San Diego's Comic-Con International 2010 has come and gone, and as always it was a wild ride. One of the most anticipated parts of the show was the debut of AX: A Collection of Alternative Manga edited by Sean Michael Wilson, a book that's going to change a lot of people's preconceptions about what Japanese comics can be. [See for yourself! Publishers Weekly recently followed up their starred review with a 6-page preview!]

At San Diego, we launched Ax in grand style, with Sean flying out from Japan to join us in San Diego and debut the book! He not only signed hundreds of copies, but also joined manga scholar Ryan Holmberg and Top Shelf's Leigh Walton for a spotlight panel on "Manga for Grown-Ups: Gekiga, Garo, Ax, and the Alternative Manga Revolution."

Couldn't make it to the panel? Not to worry! Carlo Santos at Anime News Network has a splendid write-up of the presentation, and the good folks at The Comics Journal filmed the entire thing and has now posted their video footage online. You gotta see this, not least for Sean's fantastic Scottish accent!

Big thanks to everybody involved. Click [Read more] for the three-part video!

Read More →


August is TOP SHELF MONTH at Things From Another World!

August 2, 2010 / More →

Image for August is TOP SHELF MONTH at Things From Another World!

Portland-based Things From Another World (TFAW) is one of the biggest comic retailers in the country, with several physical storefronts and a huge online presence. We're delighted to announce that TFAW.com is holding a TOP SHELF MONTH event for the entire month of August, including author interviews, interior previews of books, and more -- plus a hefty 20% discount on every Top Shelf book!

To kick the festivities off, Top Shelf PR guy Leigh Walton headed down to TFAW HQ for a video interview and conversation with the lovely Elisabeth F! Check out the conversation on YouTube in two parts: Top Shelf Leigh Walton interview part 1, part 2. And stay tuned to the TFAW Blog for all kinds of Top Shelf stuff, throughout the month of August!