News pg. 16

Top Shelf dives into digital comics: Two apps, books on every platform, and one incredible sale!

November 14, 2011 / More →

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Some of the bestselling graphic novels of recent years now fit in your pocket -- for just a few dollars each.

The comic book industry takes another significant step into the future today, as Top Shelf Productions offers its award-winning library of graphic novels for sale in digital form through two dedicated apps -- one for general readers and one for kids.

Additionally, this week Top Shelf expands the availability of its books across multiple digital platforms, for every device. As the publisher of critically acclaimed and popularly beloved books such as From Hell, Essex County, and Owly, Top Shelf breaks new ground as the first "indie" or "alternative" publisher to offer such a substantial catalog of digital graphic novels.

To celebrate, Top Shelf is offering five keystone graphic novels at radically reduced digital prices -- as low as 99 cents! -- for the next week. What's more, a newly remastered edition of Jeff Lemire's LOST DOGS makes its Top Shelf debut this week as a digital graphic novel.

The flagship of this launch is a pair of new apps, developed by industry leader Comixology, available now for Apple devices: Top Shelf Productions (featuring the full lineup of books) and Top Shelf Kids Club (focusing specifically on comics for all ages). They can be downloaded here:

Top Shelf Productions app

Top Shelf Kids Club App

At the same time, Top Shelf graphic novels are also now available through Comixology, Graphicly, Comics+ by iVerse, Apple iBooks, and Google Books. More titles will continue to roll out on every platform in the days to come, including the Nook and Kindle Fire devices, as well as the Diamond Digital program which partners with comic shops. New "buy digital" buttons now appear throughout, offering easy access to digital editions in every available format.

In the wake of this major expansion, anyone with a computer screen, smartphone, or tablet device can take home Top Shelf's award-winning and life-changing library of graphic novels. And with this week's sale prices, jumping in has never been easier -- five of the most popular Top Shelf graphic novels collectively cost less than $10.

Special launch week SALE PRICES - Top Shelf keystone books! Get all 5 for $9.95!

These prices apply in every digital store - try whichever you like!

In addition, the Top Shelf apps feature such contemporary classics as From Hell by Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell and Essex County by Jeff Lemire, new critical darlings like Infinite Kung Fu by Kagan McLeod and Lucille by Ludovic Debeurme, and stellar full-color kids' books like Incredible Change-Bots by Jeffrey Brown and Okie Dokie Donuts by Chris "Elio" Eliopoulos. All use Comixology's "Guided View" technology for a carefully curated panel-to-panel reading process on small screens, or full-page views on large screens. And, like all Top Shelf's digital comics, they are priced very affordably.

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It's an INFINITE KUNG FU / Wu-Tang Double Feature in Olympia!

November 13, 2011 / More →

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Kagan McLeod's super-groovulous Infinite Kung Fu tour rolls onward! This time, he's headed west, to Olympia, Washington. And check out what awaits those lucky fans on the Pacific:
--A Wu-Tang Double Feature presented by the Olympia Film Festival, featuring The Mystery of Chessboxing (1979) and Bastard Swordsman (1983), PLUS a q&a session with Kagan McLeod! That's Thursday, November 17 at 11:30pm at the Capitol Theater.
--A signing at the superb comic shop Danger Room Comics, 3-6pm on Saturday, November 19. This store and its customers have been huge supporters of Kagan's work for many years, and we're thrilled to be sending him over to celebrate the finished book. Pick up your very own copy of Infinite Kung Fu and get Kagan to sketch your favorite character inside!

Everybody in the area, mark your calendars now -- and everybody can enjoy the full glory of Kagan's flyer artwork!

Jennifer Hayden launches UNDERWIRE in Brooklyn Nov 12!

November 12, 2011 / More →

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Update: Due to inclement weather this event has been rescheduled to November 12!

One of the most entertaining new members of the Top Shelf family, "politically incorrect mother of two" Jennifer Hayden, is hosting a launch party for her new book Underwire -- and you're invited!

WHEN: Saturday, November 12, 8-11pm
WHERE: Bergen Street Comics (470 Bergen Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217)
WHAT: Buying books! Getting 'em signed! Meeting the author and her family! Hearing inappropriate anecdotes! Enjoying light refreshments! Most importantly, getting a little culture in your life...

Sometimes you just gotta pick yourself up by your brastraps.

Underwire collects the wise and witty stories of Jennifer Hayden, cartoonist and politically incorrect mother of two. She may not have all the answers, but she's not gonna let that stop her from enjoying the prime of her life -- her forties!

Jennifer says: "Let me deface a copy for you! And meet a couple of special guests: my husband, and my daughter Charlotte--the star of many of the stories in Underwire. She'll be drinking Shirley Temples, but there'll be plenty of beer and bubbly for the rest of us!"

For more details and to RSVP, you can visit the Underwire Launch Party Facebook invite. Hope to see you there!

INFINITE KUNG FU is one of the 10 Best Graphic Novels of 2011!

November 7, 2011 / More →

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Publishers Weekly today announced their list of the 10 Best Graphic Novels of 2011, and Kagan McLeod's Infinite Kung Fu landed a prime position!

This honor doubles down on PW's previous starred review of Infinite Kung Fu, which concluded: "The great strength of this graphic novel is its originality, but equally impressive are McLeod’s extraordinary illustrations and compelling narrative."

Infinite Kung Fu is available now wherever books are sold - including from your local comic shop, directly from Top Shelf, and digitally through iVerse, Comixology, Google Books, and iTunes.

Check out Johnny Boo's Halloween Party by James Kochalka!

October 30, 2011 / More →

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One of the best things about having a cartoonist for a dad: he can draw cool things for your school! Following last year's bean bag toss, Johnny Boo creator James Kochalka has a new Halloween adventure for his son Eli's school. Check it out!

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Nate Powell joins bestselling authors at the UN to benefit Darfur refugees!

October 25, 2011 / More →

Image for Nate Powell joins bestselling authors at the UN to benefit Darfur refugees!

Nate Powell, the multi-award-winning graphic novelist behind Swallow Me Whole and Any Empire, appeared last week at the United Nations with an all-star team of teen-fiction writers to raise funds for young refugees from Darfur. Powell joins R. L. Stine (Goosebumps, Fear Street), Ann M. Martin (The Baby-Sitters Club), and over a dozen other top authors in the new anthology What You Wish For, published by Putnam.

R. L. Stine, Nate Powell, and Ann M. Martin speaking at the UN.

Last Monday, nine of the book's contributors shared the stage with children's-book expert Leonard S. Marcus for a special presentation at the United Nations building in New York.

[more photos and information after the jump!]

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WIZZYWIG author Ed Piskor launches new webcomic at Boing Boing!

October 19, 2011 / More →

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One of the most exciting new additions to the Top Shelf family is Ed Piskor, whose open-source graphic novel WIZZYWIG (about the life and exploits of a serial hacker) will be published next year. So we're delighted to see that he's launching a new comic strip, called Brain Rot, over at the wonderful tech/culture blog Boing Boing!

Brain Rot is an ongoing exploration of pop culture, counterculture, and everything fun that's supposed to be bad for us. Head on over to the first strip and watch the archive for future installments -- it promises to be a wicked good time!

And to whet your appetite for Wizzywig, check out this interview with Ed at Under the Radar!

Thanks for our best NYCC ever!

October 17, 2011 / More →

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Just writing a quick note to let you know Top Shelf had our best ever weekend at New York Comic Con! Thanks to our heroic authors, booth staff, local retailers, and especially all the amazing New York fans who came out to support us, we set a new record for this show. Enjoy your new books, and we'll see you at the next show!

Top Shelf tackles New York Comic Con!

October 11, 2011 / More →

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The summer may be over, but convention season is still going strong... and this weekend is one of the biggest shows of the year! Yes, we're heading to the Javits Center in New York City for the 2011 New York Comic Con!

And look who's coming with us:
Jess Fink (Chester 5000) - SATURDAY ONLY
Kagan McLeod (Infinite Kung Fu)
Jennifer Hayden (Underwire)
Eric Skillman (Liar's Kiss)
Paul Tobin & Colleen Coover (Gingerbread Girl)
Jeff Lemire (Essex County, the upcoming The Underwater Welder) - for Jeff's schedule, see here.

All at the Top Shelf booth (#1833). Can't wait to see you there!

An army of critics agree: Nate Powell's ANY EMPIRE is stunning!

September 27, 2011 / More →

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As our huge new releases percolate out into the world, critical reviews continue to roll in -- and readers of all kinds are reporting that Nate Powell's Any Empire is blowing their minds!

Of course, after Nate's Eisner Award victory for Swallow Me Whole, expectations were high... but take a look at these responses:

"The most prodigiously talented graphic novelist of his [generation] ... Powell's exceptional visual-storytelling gift transforms a potentially obvious antiwar parable into a ravishingly beautiful, emotionally resonant, thoughtful, and provocative work of art." -- Booklist (starred review)

"Any Empire by Nate Powell is everything a graphic novel should be, and few are. Spare, to the point dialog, fluid and effortless visual storytelling devoid of pretensions, and a story with characters that stick with you. I very rarely read graphic novels because I usually can't get past the first few pages. but Any Empire drew me in from the start and didn't let up." -- Larry Hama, author of GI Joe comics since 1982

"Nate Powell's new graphic novel is a heartbreaker--a gently paced, not-particularly-realism-bound story about how kids' fantasy lives (and the cheap entertainment that fuels them) can shape their real lives, and ultimately ruin them. Great stuff." -- Douglas Wolk, ComicsAlliance

"At times poignant, at at others surreal, Any Empire is an engaging, never preachy work about childhood, centering on those secret currents that define our youthful rivalries and the games we play." -- MTV Geek

"Powell's understanding of the way his characters live -- constantly feeling a little insecure about their position among their own peer group -- and his ability to convey their daydreams work together to express a truth about a world where violence erupts organically from a culture of macho gamesmanship and cheap plastic guns." -- Noel Murray, The AV Club

"It's a book not so much about children, but about adults trying to figure out how they ended up they way they did and where it all began: the culmination of things that meant the most in a time when we felt things deepest, the effects of story on malleable minds." -- Hayley Campbell, The Comics Journal

"We've all experienced the world's endless cycle of innocence shattered, and Powell renders it all in lovely chiaroscuro... he crafts memorable and heartfelt characters that linger in the mind and scar the heart." -- Under the Radar

[The praise continues! Click below for more!]

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Top Shelf announces sequel to Ludovic Debeurme's LUCILLE!

September 24, 2011 / More →

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In this thoughtful interview with author Ludovic Debeurme, the Los Angeles Times breaks the news that Top Shelf Productions will be publishing the English translation of Renée, the stunning sequel to his acclaimed graphic novel Lucille!

Ludovic, who recently launched the French edition of Renée, had this to say about his new book: "I’ve moved from a minimalist image to a more busy style, similar to engraving, to capture the reader in frozen moments that can be felt as single images, like paintings... We find the main characters, as well as new ones, including Renée. This allowed me to update my story to make it closer to the questions on my mind at the time of writing this new book. The relationship between the body and the pain and anger of all these protagonists should, I hope, invite the reader to consider these concepts in a more universal way."

Lucille has already racked up high praise since its debut from Top Shelf:

"A coherent, compelling narrative... the love affair in Lucille burns bright, illuminating two lives." -- The AV Club

"A wonderful, satisfying experience to read and savour and easily one of the truly unmissable bande dessinée translations of the year." -- Paul Gravett, author of Graphic Novels: Stories to Change Your Life

"The type of story the graphic novel was meant for." -- Kelly Stephenson, Playback:STL

"A stunner... Lucille is definitely one of the most significant graphic novel releases of the year." -- Heidi MacDonald, The Beat

"A deserved prize winner at Angoulême. Debeurme has created characters of tremendous depth here." -- Jonathan Rigby, Page 45

We look forward to sharing Renée with you in late 2012!

A Big Thanks to Everyone Who Participated in the Top Shelf Web Sale!

September 24, 2011 / More →

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Hey Gang,

Just wanted to thank everyone for participating in the Top Shelf web sale. We got a bunch more orders than we anticipated, so the three of us have been working furiously to get them all out. There aren't tracking #s on these, via the US Postal Service, but we guarantee their delivery -- and all of them will be out in the mail by next week at the latest (with a bunch on the way already). Thanks for your patience here, and the Top Shelf books will be with you shortly.

Your friend thru comics,
Chris Staros

Top Shelf goes to Detroit Fanfare!

September 20, 2011 / More →

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For the first time ever, Top Shelf is headed to DETROIT!

Chris Staros will be there repping Top Shelf, and have a full line of graphic novels at the Detroit Fanfare this weekend (September 24-25).

See y'all at the show!

UNDERWIRE! DRAGON PUNCHER 2! It's a Small Press Xplosion of savings at SPX this weekend!

September 7, 2011 / More →

Image for UNDERWIRE! DRAGON PUNCHER 2! It's a Small Press Xplosion of savings at SPX this weekend!

We're thrilled to be heading to DC this weekend for the 2011 Small Press Expo - SPX! And boy, is it gonna be a great show. What's on tap:


Underwire (with Jennifer Hayden at our booth!)
Dragon Puncher 2: Dragon Puncher Island (with James Kochalka at our booth!)
Korgi 3: A Hollow Beginning by Christian Slade


Jennifer Hayden (Underwire)
James Kochalka (Superf*ckers, Johnny Boo)
Nate Powell (Any Empire)
Jess Fink (Chester 5000)
J.D. Arnold (BB Wolf)
Alex Robinson (celebrating the 10th anniversary of Box Office Poison)
Tony Consiglio (110 Percent)
with your pals Chris Staros & Leigh Walton!

Plus Craig Thompson will be a guest of the show, signing to benefit the CBLDF, and we'll have copies of the new Blankets hardcover for sale, ready for you to bring to him!


What's more, since SPX falls during our Massive $3 Sale this year, we're expanding the sale to books bought at the show -- get a whopping 25% off your entire SPX order if you buy at least two items!

See you at the Bethesda North Marriott this weekend!


August 31, 2011 / More →


The hits keep on coming! Not long after we launched LEAGUE 1969, the new deluxe editions of BLANKETS, LUCILLE, and THE HOMELAND DIRECTIVE, here come three more hotly anticipated Top Shelf books, available NOW!

See what the critics are already saying:

by Kagan McLeod
-- ISBN: 978-1-891830-83-9, Diamond code: MAY11-1197
-- 464-page flexi-cover graphic novel, 6.75" x 9.5"
-- $24.95 (US), Older teens (16+) and adults

Don't miss the awesome VIDEO TRAILER!

"All of that buzz and hype was completely on the money... It's like the best kung-fu movie you've ever seen, unimpaired by time or budget constraints, willing to take everything about kung-fu that everyone loves and throw it all together." -- Chad Nevett, Comic Book Resources

"Infinite Kung Fu is glorious and deranged in the way that all comics should be." — Warren Ellis, author of Transmetropolitan, Red, and Crooked Little Vein

"If Egon Schiele and Yim Wing Chun had a son together, he'd be called Kagan McLeod. Infinite Kung Fu is like a bitch-slap to your imagination. I am a BIG fan." — Geof Darrow, author & artist of Shaolin Cowboy and conceptual designer for The Matrix

"A book for fans of Bruce Lee movies, zombies, ancient Chinese mythology, and any other off-the-wall genre you can think of... Infinite Kung Fu brings a style that separates it from the rest and lifts comics out of the overly serious rut that the medium has been stuck in for nearly a decade." — Jason Sarafino, Complex

"The best elements of horror, Westerns, and of course, kung fu films are seamlessly interlaced to tell a highly imaginative tale. You couldn't sandblast the smile from my face as I read this." Ain't It Cool News


by Ray Friesen
-- ISBN: 978-1-60309-071-1, Diamond code: APR11-1165
-- 96-page full-color hardcover graphic novel, 6.5" x 8.5"
-- 9.95 (US), All ages

"Ray Friesen is a remarkable cartoonist. He makes the silly funny and the funny sublime. The world seems lighter after reading a Ray Friesen book." -- Jimmy Gownley, creator of Amelia Rules!

"Ray Friesen is a veritable fount of silliness, and his Pirate Penguin vs. Ninja Chicken is a good example of that... it's guaranteed to make your geeklets giggle." -- Jonathan Liu,

“The jokey asides and playfully sophisticated take on language are reminiscent of Walt Kelly’s Pogo... [a] manic blend of mayhem and adventure.” -- Ian Chipman, Booklist


by Chris "Elio" Eliopoulos
-- ISBN: 978-1-60309-068-1, Diamond code: APR11-1155
-- 48-page full-color hardcover graphic novel, 5" x 7.5"
-- $9.95 (US), All ages

"A mixture of Pablo Picasso and Cartoon Network... laden with eccentric charm." -- Eric Whitman, The Daily Blam!

"Elio consistently impresses me with his supercharged kid-friendly comics. His style is wholly distinct, and everything he does seems to explode with joy and pure fun." — John Martz, Drawn!

"2 scoops of silly, 5 cups of cute, and a bucket load of fun!" — Bob Boyle, creator of Nick Jr.'s Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! and author of Hugo and the Really, Really, Really Long String