May 21, 2010 / More →
If you can get cultural institutions as far apart as MTV and NPR to agree on something, it seems fair to say you've got something special on your hands. And they're both raving about The Top Shelf Swedish Invasion!
Recently the NPR home page sported this enthusiastic review by Glen Weldon of Kolbeinn Karlsson's The Troll King, by far the most wild and creative of our Swedish Invasion graphic novels. In Weldon's opinion, the book "throbs with a sort of primal, allusive, pre-verbal power," which makes it "uncannily beautiful yet defiantly unpretty." Despite the diversity of different segments that make up The Troll King, Kolbeinn's passion and creativity make the whole thing feel unified, he argues. "Karlsson's ability to tap into the mysterious and willful emotional logic of dreams ensures that everything about The Troll King feels at once unexpected and inevitable."
And now MTV's Rick Marshall follows that with a fond look at all four graphic novels in the Swedish Invasion! He has especially high praise for The 120 Days of Simon by Simon Gärdenfors, whose cartoony art is "a perfect fit for the story, taking the edge off some stories and making the whole thing seem more like a crazy adventure and less like a confessional." He also particularly liked Mats Jonsson's Hey Princess, "a great coming-of-age story that should resonate with any indie-minded readers familiar with mid-'90s culture."
Find out more about the whole wave of Swedish goodness below.
May 17, 2010 / More →
The praise continues to roll in for our upcoming book Ax (vol 1): A Collection of Alternative Manga!
Deb Aoki, the official manga guide over at About.com, got an early look and declares: "Ax goes out on a limb where most manga creators dare not go, with an undeniable energy that crackles from almost every page... it will blow your mind."
Meanwhile David Brothers at Comics Alliance has just posted his thoughts, emphasizing the vast diversity on display in the book: "Within Ax's four hundred pages are over thirty stories that explode everything you might have thought about what manga is."
Ax is currently available for pre-order below or in your local comic shop, for a July release. Don't miss it!
May 16, 2010 / More →
As graphic novels continue to find new readers, bookstores and libraries continue to launch new graphic novel collections, and they often need guidance on where to start -- which is where sites like Graphic Novel Reporter come in. They just published a "core list" of graphic novel recommendations broken down into 10 must-haves, 25 next steps, and 100 more solid picks.
Top Shelf is well represented, of course -- Craig Thompson's Blankets is one of the 10 essentials, and the following 25 include Jeff Lemire's Essex County and Kevin Cannon's Far Arden. Other picks on the GNR list include Alec: The Years Have Pants by Eddie Campbell, From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill, Lost Girls by Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie, both Surrogates graphic novels by Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele, and Too Cool to Be Forgotten by Alex Robinson! Whew!
Of course, we'd argue for the inclusion of a few more -- at a minimum, to leave out indie superstars Jeffrey Brown and James Kochalka seems strange, and Nate Powell's Eisner-winning Swallow Me Whole is a must -- but in general it's a solid list, filled with great books. A great place to start for casual fans and newcomers, as well as institutional buyers.
May 12, 2010 / More →
The good folks over at Time's Techland blog have posted an exclusive preview of one of the brilliant interrogation scenes from Moving Pictures, the brand-new graphic novel from Kathryn & Stuart Immonen which debuted at TCAF last weekend.
In this scene, curator Ila Gardner and Nazi officer Rolf Hauptmann exchange some tense words about the unbearable situations they've been forced into, in a dialogue thick with multiple meanings. It's a powerful experience to watch these two passionate figures struggle against the dehumanizing effects of 20th-century war, in very different ways. Check out the preview here, and click below for more details on Moving Pictures, coming soon to a store near you!
May 11, 2010 / More →
Scott Green, the anime/manga master over at nerd superblog Ain't It Cool News, is pretty excited about our upcoming release of Ax: A Collection of Alternative Manga. How excited? Well, his latest column is a 6,000-word preview-review of the book, with analyses of every artist, every story, all wrapped up in a fast-paced tour of the history of Japanese comics! You gotta check it out.
His opinion? "Top Shelf's release of Ax is a giant leap forward for manga available in English... I got chills reading it."
Hey, it's only natural to feel a few shivers when you're riding the cutting edge! Slice off your piece of the future -- pre-order Ax today!
May 6, 2010 / More →
Ontario, you're in luck! Not only are you home to rising superstar Jeff Lemire and the setting for his award-winning opus Essex County, you're also the home of the fantastically talented Kathryn & Stuart Immonen, and for the debut of their graphic novel Moving Pictures this weekend at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF)!
Come by the Top Shelf booth both Saturday and Sunday to:
- meet Kathryn & Stuart Immonen and smuggle out a brand-new copy of Moving Pictures, hot off the presses and ready to blow minds!
- congratulate Jeff Lemire on the release of the first Sweet Tooth book, and get him to sign your Essex County!
- get your super secret mission briefing from Matt Kindt and snag his latest, Super Spy (vol. 2): The Lost Dossiers!
We'll see you there, Toronto!
May 5, 2010 / More →
The Swedish Invasion continues to sweep across the internet!
First, Whitney Matheson of USA Today called out Hey Princess on her beloved Pop Candy blog, declaring Mats Jonsson "the Swedish Jeffrey Brown: very confessional and upfront about his everyday (and sexual) misadventures. Funny, relatable, honest. What's not to love?"
Then, Mark Frauenfelder reviewed The 120 Days of Simon at Boing Boing, calling it "incredibly entertaining" (and triggering a comment-thread controversy about Simon's sketchier exploits!).
If you haven't checked out these amazing autobiographies yet, now's the time!
April 26, 2010 / More →
Jeffrey Brown is crossing the border! In celebration of his new graphic novel Undeleted Scenes, Jeffrey will be appearing at Toronto's North York Central Library tonight (April 26) to discuss "the unique challenges of creating soul-bearing autobiography in comics, his development as a cartoonist and storyteller, and blurring the line between fact and fiction." The event is totally FREE and open to the public, so check it out!
It's all part of the city-wide buildup to the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF), May 8-9, which should be a blast. See you there, Toronto!
April 23, 2010 / More →
You probably know that Portland, Oregon is a hotbed of comic-book activity -- but did you know that two years in a row, the mayor has officially declared April to be Comics Month in Portland?
Well, the pinnacle of that month is upon us, with the annual Stumptown Comics Fest hitting Portland this weekend! Top Shelf will be there in style, of course, with Portland-based crew Brett Warnock and Leigh Walton supporting a crew of great cartoonists including Brett Weldele (The Surrogates), Bwana Spoons (Welcome to Forest Island), Liz Prince (Delayed Replays, Will You Still Love Me If I Wet the Bed?) at her own booth, and Craig Thompson (Blankets) as a featured guest of the show!
Stumptown is renowned as one of the friendliest of all comic shows, so come on out and say hello!
April 22, 2010 / More →
Jeffrey Brown's hilarious robot spoof Incredible Change-Bots has plenty of fans -- most recently, Rick Marshall at MTV's Splash Page, who just posted an "Adapt This!" column arguing for an animated series starring those bumbling 'bots. "Incredible Change-Bots manages to find the perfect balance between nostalgia and self-aware fun," he writes. So, will we ever Balls the golf cart brought to life on screen? Only time will tell, but in the meantime check out this awesome animated short, and stay tuned for the Change-Bots sequel coming in November!
Meanwhile, Comic Book Resources celebrates the release of Matt Kindt's Super Spy (vol. 2): The Lost Dossiers by interviewing the man himself! Click here to read his thoughts on The Lost Dossiers ("a giant spy activity book for adults"), book design ("I'm a firm believer in the medium being the message"), and more... including his plan to conquer every comics publisher in the industry! Hey, we're happy to share him -- there's plenty of Kindt quality to go around!
April 20, 2010 / More →
Manga scholar Ryan Holmberg has been a big help with our upcoming book Ax: A Collection of Alternative Manga -- he wrote the artist biographies printed in the back of the book. He's also the curator of an excellent new exhibit at New York's Center for Book Arts, called "Garo Manga: The First Decade, 1964-1973," showcasing the early years of legendary underground magazine Garo (an ancestor of Ax)!
The exhibit runs through June 26, but tomorrow night (Wednesday, April 21) Ryan is holding an artist talk with contemporary underground manga-ka Akino Kondoh! Ms. Kondoh is internationally known as a gallery artist, illustrator, and animator, but she'll also be prominently featured in our Ax book -- contributing two stories and the gorgeous cover!
Anybody in the New York area should check this out, 6:30pm at the Center for Book Arts. And stay tuned for more details on Ax, coming to you this summer!
April 15, 2010 / More →
Hey Chi-town friends, the Top Shelf Swedish Invasion is coming to you! Starting Friday and all weekend long, the new Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) takes over the lakeside McCormick Center in downtown Chicago, and we'll be there in full force!
Come out and meet:
- Indie comics superstar Jeffrey Brown, signing his vast array of graphic novels and debuting his awesome new book Undeleted Scenes!
- Super secret spymaster Matt Kindt, debuting Super Spy (vol. 2): The Lost Dossiers, a book filled with more gadgets and cool tricks than Batman's utility belt!
- Swedish Invader #1: Mats Jonsson, author of the hilariously painful hipster memoir Hey Princess!
- Swedish Invader #2: Simon Gärdenfors, author of the wild travelogue The 120 Days of Simon, a true story of sex, drugs, and hip-hop!
- Swedish Invader #3: Kolbeinn Karlsson, author of the surrealist fever dream The Troll King, full of magical biology and neo-traditional folklore!
- And the phenomenal Nate Powell, author of the Eisner-Award-winning tale of adolescent schizophrenia, Swallow Me Whole!
And don't forget to swing by the Nerd City / Top Shelf Swedish Invasion party, Saturday, April 17, at the Double Door in Wicker Park!
April 15, 2010 / More →
Available now for pre-order at your favorite comic shop are two totally different (and totally excellent) graphic novels from Top Shelf! The mature-readers heavyweight this month is The Playwright from writer Daren White and artist Eddie Campbell, a gorgeous fully-painted romantic comedy about the sex life of a celibate middle-aged man -- it's a witty blend of cynicism and sweetness, from the award-winning artist of Alec and From Hell.
Also featured is the hilarious fourth adventure in the infectiously goofy Johnny Boo series by James Kochalka, Johnny Boo and the Mean Little Boy. In their latest episode, Johnny Boo and Squiggle meet a new friend who loves to play games -- but as you can guess, some of his games aren't very nice! Our heroes learn a few lessons about making friends, getting revenge, and changing your pants.
Place your orders now for these two beautiful, hardcover books... June'll be here before we know it!
April 13, 2010 / More →
The Swedish Invasion is officially a hit! Top Shelf packed heavy for the MoCCA Festival this past weekend in New York, knowing that we'd be joined by over half a dozen Swedish guests and debuting tons of new books... and still we sold out of almost every book we brought!
The three hot Swedish debuts (Hey Princess, The Troll King, and 120 Days of Simon) were definitely among the star books of the show. Check out this photo of authors Mats Jonsson, Kolbeinn Karlsson, and Simon Gärdenfors signing copies, and click here to see it full-size.
Thanks to all our Swedish friends, the hard-working MoCCA staff and volunteers, and most importantly the fans who came out to our Swedish Invasion pre-party at Rocketship and to the Festival!
Now the Invasion rolls on... to Chicago for C2E2 this weekend! Good thing we've got a whole new shipment of books on the way...
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April 9, 2010 / More →
The SWEDISH INVASION begins TONIGHT at ROCKETSHIP COMICS & continues all MoCCA weekend, April 10TH-11TH!
Come meet and party with Simon Gärdenfors (THE 120 DAYS OF SIMON), Mats Jonsson (HEY PRINCESS), Kolbeinn Karlsson (THE TROLL KING), Niklas Asker (SECOND THOUGHTS), Fredrik Strömberg (SWEDISH COMICS HISTORY), as well as Chris Staros, Leigh Walton, Johannes Klenell, and many of the contributors to the Swedish Anthology FROM THE SHADOW OF THE NORTHERN LIGHTS at:
THE ROCKETSHIP SWEDISH INVASION PARTY
FRI, APRIL 9TH, 8:00PM
@ 208 SMITH ST, BROOKLYN, NY
And join us this weekend for:
THE MoCCA ARTS FESTIVAL
SAT & SUN, APRIL 10TH & 11TH
@ THE 69TH REGIMENT ARMORY
68 LEXINGTON AVENUE (BETWEEN 25TH & 26TH)
(Next weekend we're heading to CHICAGO for C2E2, the CHICAGO COMIC & ENTERTAINMENT EXPO (FRI - SUN, APR 16TH-18TH) -- don't miss the Nerd City/Top Shelf Swedish Invasion Party on SAT APR 17TH at the famed Chicago nightclub, the Double Door.)
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