News pg. 13

Rep. John Lewis and Top Shelf Productions Sign Historic Publishing Agreement

February 7, 2011 / More →

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PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 7, 2011

Atlanta, GA – Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Top Shelf Productions have signed a publishing agreement. Top Shelf Productions has agreed to publish the graphic novel March, coauthored by Rep. John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, tentatively scheduled for release in 2012.

“I am very pleased to be participating in this effort,” said Congressman John Lewis. “This is something I really wanted to do some years ago and there is no better time to do it than now. It is not just a story of struggle; it is a story of involvement. It shows the ups, the downs, the ins and the outs of a movement.

“It is my hope,” said Congressman Lewis, “that this work will be meaningful and helpful to future generations to give many people here in America and around the world the urge, the desire, to seek, to build, their own world, their own future.”

A meditation in the modern age on the distance traveled, both as a nation and as a people, since the days of Jim Crow and segregation, March tells the first hand account of John Lewis’ lifelong struggle for civil and human rights.

The publishing agreement is an historic first, both for the U.S. Congress and graphic novel publishing as a whole, marking the first time a sitting Member of Congress has authored a graphic novel. Top Shelf Productions is the first and only graphic novel publisher to be certified by the House Committee on Standards.

“As a proud resident of Georgia, and a long-time fan of the honorable Congressman,” adds publisher Chris Staros, “this is truly a deep honor. To bring, not only his life’s story, but that of the Civil Rights Movement to the comics medium is truly exciting. This will make this historical and timeless message accessible to an entirely new generation of readers.”

An artist has yet to be named for the project though candidates are being actively considered.

***

JOHN LEWIS is Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District Representative and an American icon widely known for his role in the Civil Rights Movement.

As a student at American Baptist Theological Seminary in 1959, John Lewis organized sit-in demonstrations at segregated lunch counters in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1961, he volunteered to participate in the Freedom Rides, which challenged segregation at interstate bus terminals across the South. He was beaten severely by angry mobs and arrested by police for challenging the injustice of Jim Crow segregation in the South.

From 1963 to 1966, Lewis was Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). As Chairman, John Lewis became a nationally recognized leader. Lewis was dubbed one of the Big Six leaders of the Civil Rights Movement and at the age of 23, he was an architect of and a keynote speaker at the historic March on Washington in August 1963.

In 1964, John Lewis coordinated SNCC efforts to organize voter registration drives and community action programs during the Mississippi Freedom Summer. The following year, Lewis helped spearhead one of the most seminal moments of the Civil Rights Movement. Hosea Williams, another notable Civil Rights leader, and John Lewis led over 600 peaceful, orderly protestors across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965. They intended to march from Selma to Montgomery to demonstrate the need for voting rights in the state. The marchers were attacked by Alabama state troopers in a brutal confrontation that became known as "Bloody Sunday." News broadcasts and photographs revealing the senseless cruelty of the segregated South helped hasten the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Despite more than 40 arrests, physical attacks and serious injuries, John Lewis remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence. After leaving SNCC in 1966, he continued his commitment to the Civil Rights Movement as Associate Director of the Field Foundation and his participation in the Southern Regional Council's voter registration programs. Lewis went on to become the Director of the Voter Education Project (VEP). In 1977, John Lewis was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to direct more than 250,000 volunteers of ACTION, the federal volunteer agency.

In 1981, he was elected to the Atlanta City Council. He was elected to Congress in November 1986 and has served as U.S. Representative of Georgia's Fifth Congressional District since then.

ANDREW AYDIN, an Atlanta native, currently serves in Rep. John Lewis’ Washington, D.C. office handling Telecommunications and Technology policy as well as New Media. Previously, Andrew served as Communications Director and Press Secretary during Rep. Lewis’ 2008 and 2010 re-election campaigns. Andrew is a graduate of the Lovett School in Atlanta and Trinity College in Hartford, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree at Georgetown University.

TOP SHELF PRODUCTIONS is the literary graphic novel and comics publisher best known for its ability to discover and showcase the vanguard of the comics scene. Founded by Co-Publisher Brett Warnock in 1995, and partnered by Co-Publisher Chris Staros in 1997, Top Shelf has produced over two hundred graphic novels and comics that have helped to revitalize interest in comics as a literary art form. Most notably, Alan Moore’s FROM HELL, LOST GIRLS, and THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN; Craig Thompson’s BLANKETS; Andy Runton's OWLY; Robert Venditti & Brett Weldele’s THE SURROGATES, Jeff Lemire’s ESSEX COUNTY, and Jeffrey Brown's CLUMSY & UNLIKELY, all of which have garnered critical accolades from the likes of Time Magazine, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, People Magazine, Publishers Weekly, The New Yorker, and the New York Times Book Review.

IN PHOTO (FROM LEFT TO RIGHT):
Chris Staros, Congressman John Lewis & Andrew Aydin


James Kochalka named Vermont's Cartoonist Laureate!

February 2, 2011 / More →

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Recently we received the truly wonderful news that James Kochalka will be named the Cartoonist Laureate of the state of Vermont! That makes him the first Cartoonist Laureate in the continental US, and nearly first in the entire country (second only to Chad Carpenter of Alaska).

James will serve a term of two years, beginning on March 10 with a day-long celebration in cities across Vermont! Stay tuned for details on those events and more. For now, check out the official announcement from Vermont's Center for Cartoon Studies.

James, of course, is the author of several dozen comics & graphic novels, including the Monkey vs. Robot series, SuperF*ckers, the all-ages series Johnny Boo and Dragon Puncher, and his magnum opus, the daily diary strip American Elf. He's a brilliant cartoonist, a relentless creator, a certified rock star, and an inspiration to us all. For more on James, visit his web site AmericanElf.com, or check out this great profile from Top Shelf pal and CCS librarian Jen Vaughn. And to peruse the amazing Kochalka works available in our online catalog, click here!

Congratulations to James and to the state of Vermont - you folks are lucky to have him!


Jeffrey Brown goes to town discussing INCREDIBLE CHANGE-BOTS TWO!

January 26, 2011 / More →

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Did you love Jeffrey Brown's Incredible Change-Bots? Hungry for more robot-on-robot action and absurdity? Well, head on over to Comic Book Resources, where Alex Dueben sat down with Jeffrey for an interview exploring the history of the Change-Bots, what fans can expect in the new volume, how his perspective on the characters has changed over time, and how these goofy 'bots fit into the rest of his comics career. (Hint: more closely than you might think!)

Incredible Change-Bots Two is a hilarious, nostalgic tribute to Saturday morning action cartoons - and to Incredible Change-Bots One. It hits stores in March, so pre-order now!


Jeff Lemire & Sara Quin talk ESSEX COUNTY for Canada Reads!

January 25, 2011 / More →

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The time is fast approaching for the great Canada Reads book battle! The competition (featuring Essex County as the first ever graphic novel selection) will determine the essential Canadian novel of the decade, and airs February 7, 8 and 9 on CBC Radio One.

In preparation, Canada Reads is celebrating Jeff Lemire Week! You can watch Essex County's celebrity champion, indie rocker Sara Quin, in a video testifying to her love of the book, as well as an essay from Jeff explaining the genesis of Essex County and his feelings about revisiting that world. Also don't miss Jeff's appearance on The Next Chapter, a 15-minute radio discussion with great insights into his creative process.

And there's more to come! Stay tuned to Canada Reads and let's cheer Jeff, Sara, and Essex County in the competition!

Read More →


Coover & Tobin's GINGERBREAD GIRL launches today on Top Shelf 2.0!

January 21, 2011 / More →

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You may know Colleen Coover & Paul Tobin from the fabulous talking-monkey adventure Banana Sunday, the adorably erotic Small Favors, or the wonderful work they've done with Marvel superheroes. But here's your chance to get in on the ground floor of the newest project by this dynamic duo!

Today, we're launching a brand-new graphic novel by Paul & Colleen, online, for free, on our webcomics site Top Shelf 2.0! It's called Gingerbread Girl, and we'll run a new mini-chapter every Monday and Friday for the next several months, culminating in the book's release as a beautiful hardcover this spring! Can't beat that with a stick.

But hey, you ask, what's it about? Gingerbread Girl is the story of one adorable and bewildering girl, Annah Billips, and the exasperated attempts by everyone around (boyfriends, girlfriends, neighbors, bystanders, passing animals) to figure out what makes her tick. That's all we can tell you - for more, you'll just have to read the story!


INCREDIBLE CHANGE-BOTS invade ComicsAlliance!

January 20, 2011 / More →

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The fun folks at ComicsAlliance have joined the party of anticipation for Jeffrey Brown's Incredible Change-Bots Two! Today they present an exclusive comic starring two Fantasticons, Dozer and Tredz, as they ponder the big questions of life... or the robotic equivalent. Click here to read the strip, only at ComicsAlliance!

Incredible Change-Bots Two can be pre-ordered now at your favorite retailer, and will transform its way onto shelves in March.


New York Times loves WORLD WAR 3!

January 19, 2011 / More →

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We've been proud to distribute the political-comics anthology World War 3 Illustrated for some years now... so we're pleased to see that the New York Times digs it as well!

There's an exhibit called "Graphic Radicals: 30 Years of World War 3 Illustrated" currently on display at Manhattan's Exit Art gallery, and the Times is full of praise for the show, calling it "the real thing, a fully fleshed-out picture" and applauding both the powerful content and the "excitingly orchestrated" presentation.

If you're in New York, check out the exhibit now through February 5, and if you've never checked out WW3I, take a look at all the issues we've got in stock: there's some amazing work in there.


BB WOLF is a Great Graphic Novel for Teens!

January 14, 2011 / More →

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Howlin' good news! BB Wolf and the 3 LPs, the historical/musical/allegorical graphic novel by J.D. Arnold and Rich Koslowski, has officially been declared a 2011 Great Graphic Novel for Teens by YALSA, the young-adult division of the American Library Association.

BB Wolf is a story of racial injustice, murder, revenge, and the blues, set in the 1920s Mississippi Delta and inspired by a classic fairy tale. The book is also available bundled with a soundtrack album of blues music supposedly written and performed by "B.B. Wolf" himself (really authors Rich & Johnnie with their musician friends), alongside modern rock covers of those "lost" classics.

The final GGNT list was announced last weekend at the ALA's Midwinter Meeting in San Diego. BB Wolf joins plenty of other fine books for teens, including Sweet Tooth by the wonderful Jeff Lemire (of Essex County fame)!

Previously BB Wolf had been named one of USA Today's "books to watch" at Comic-Con 2010, and awarded a place on the Maverick Graphic Novel List from the Texas Library Association.

Congratulations to Johnnie, Rich, and all the GGNT honorees!


Our full 2011 line-up! The Top Shelf Kids Club! And the 2011 Top Shelf Tribune!

January 10, 2011 / More →

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The new year has arrived! Here at Top Shelf, we have a wonderful year planned -- and after much preparation, we're finally ready to announce our complete 2011 lineup!

COMIC BOOK HEAVEN IN 2011!

What's coming from Top Shelf this year? It's a wide assortment that includes new books from your favorite Top Shelf authors (including Alan Moore, Jeffrey Brown, Robert Venditti, and Nate Powell), amazing new authors from all over the world (including Ludovic Debeurme, Jessica Fink, Jennifer Hayden, Kagan McLeod, and Eric Skillman), and a huge number of all-ages books to celebrate the official launch of the Top Shelf Kids Club!

EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!

In fact, we're so proud and excited about these books, we decided to share some of the fun with you as well! That's why we've whipped up a special treat: the 2011 Top Shelf Tribune. So, not only is our complete 2011 line of books available for browsing and pre-order in our web catalog, but all year long we'll be giving away the tongue-in-cheek Tribune at conventions and through your local comic shop! It's packed with news, jokes, charts, facts, teaser images, and more, all about the Top Shelf books & authors coming out this year. And the whole thing is up on our web site as well, for you to enjoy and share with your friends! The 2011 Top Shelf Tribune: Real Books. Fake News.

NO GROWN-UPS ALLOWED! WELL, MAYBE IF YOU BEHAVE YOURSELVES...

For years, some of our greatest books have been graphic novels for all ages: Owly, Korgi, Johnny Boo, and more. In 2011, we're taking the plunge and expanding that line in a big way, with the official launch of the TOP SHELF KIDS CLUB! Our Free Comic Book Day book will kick things off in May (featuring Owly, Korgi, Johnny Boo, and all-new Okie Dokie Donuts, Pirate Penguin vs. Ninja Chicken, and Upside Down: A Vampire’s Tale), followed by an amazing EIGHT new releases for kids! You can meet them all on page 3 of the Top Shelf Tribune, or visit them online in the Top Shelf Kids Club section of our web catalog!


Top Shelf invades your museum!

January 7, 2011 / More →

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Fans in Chicago and New York are in luck this month, as two exhibits open featuring multiple Top Shelf artists!

First of all, tonight marks the opening reception for "New Chicago Comics" at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, featuring Jeffrey Brown and Lilli Carré as well as Anders Nilsen and Paul Hornschemeier.

And starting next week, the "Comics Stripped" exhibit at New York's Museum of Sex features work from Jess Fink (Chester 5000) and Colleen Coover (Small Favors), among many other famous erotic cartoonists. Keep an eye out for Chester 5000 this spring and the collected Small Favors sometime next year... plus a brand-new book from Colleen with Paul Tobin, Gingerbread Girl, coming this spring!


Todd Klein spills psychedelic secrets of LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN: 1969!

January 4, 2011 / More →

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The whole League of Extraordinary Gentlemen team -- Alan Moore, Kevin O'Neill, Ben Dimagmaliw, and Todd Klein -- have been working hard to get the next mind-blowing League graphic novel ready... And they're starting to close in on the home stretch!

Now, letterer & designer Todd Klein shows off quite a few brand-new teaser images (and script excerpts!) in one of his always-enjoyable "behind the scenes" blog entries. What does a complete Alan Moore script look like all piled up? How carefully does Kevin O'Neill plan his page layouts? How do four guys scattered across the world collaborate seamlessly on the greatest metafictional post-Victorian action-adventure comic book in human history? Most importantly, how do you draw an acid trip!? The answers await you!


Dive deep into the mind of THE PLAYWRIGHT with Daren White!

January 2, 2011 / More →

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Tom Spurgeon's famous Holiday Interview series at The Comics Reporter has become a wonderful year-end tradition, offering rich conversations with all manner of significant figures in the world of comics. This time around, CR offers a great interview with Daren White, author of The Playwright.

You'll learn about the roots of that book, the creative process of making a book about the creative process, Daren's collaborations with Eddie Campbell on The Playwright and other projects, his experience editing the DeeVee anthology, and much more.

Check out the interview here, and if you haven't read The Playwright yet, do yourself a favor and pick it up!


Seasons Greetings from the INCREDIBLE CHANGE-BOTS!

January 1, 2011 / More →

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Happy new year! You know, around here we have a saying: Christmas ain't over 'till you throw out the tree! To help celebrate the holiday season, Jeffrey Brown and his Incredible Change-Bots present a special holiday comic strip over at Comic Book Resources. Check it out here, and ask your favorite comic shop to pre-order Incredible Change-Bots Two, recently announced for release in March!


Happy Holidays from Top Shelf!

December 29, 2010 / More →

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Hey friends,

We're honored and proud to have made it through another year here at Top Shelf -- publishing these books is a dream come true for all of us, and it's all thanks to your support.

Now, as we're wrapping up a great 2010 and preparing for a truly exciting 2011, we want to say "thank you" and wish you all a very happy holiday season!

All the best,

Chris, Brett, Rob, Leigh & the Top Shelf family

(and dig this lovely piece of winter beauty from longtime Top Shelf pal Max Estes!)


BB WOLF & THE 3 LPs is a Texas Maverick!

December 8, 2010 / More →

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The folks at America's largest state library system, the Texas Library Association, have named BB WOLF & THE 3 LPs to their 2011 Maverick Graphic Novel Reading List! The book, written by J.D. Arnold with art by Rich Koslowski, is a thrilling story of race, revenge, and Delta blues that adapts a classic fairytale to Jim Crow-era Misssissippi.

The Texas Maverick list is the first (and so far, only) recommended reading list dedicated to graphic novels issued by a state association. It's designed to spotlight great comics for grades 6-12 in a variety of styles and subjects. BB WOLF is specifically recommended for the oldest age group, "Young Adult / Adult."

We note with pride that Super Spy author Matt Kindt is on the list as well, with his newest book 3 Story.

Thanks to everyone on the Maverick committee and congratulations to all the honorees!