Hey Bartender! pg. 6

February 15, 2012

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Verily, i am returned from a meeting of the minds, and the Top Shelf Summit at Chris' pad in Atlanta. Good times. Plans are afoot for the year and beyond.

• Nice. Jess Smart Smiley's nifty Valentine's Day card.

James Kochalka does Tumbler.

Jennifer Hayden has started a daily comic diary called Rushes, ala James Kochalka's long-running American Elf. Frankly, most diary comics are pretty weak, but Jennifer understands this medium in a way that too few cartoonists get. A fine addition to the genre of autobio comics.

She writes: "Rushes is my way of returning, for fifteen minutes every night, to a looser drawing style, and to view the 'rushes' of the 'inner' filming of my day."

• Long time friend Christine Norrie is doing a yoga comic, called New Yoga City! Sweet. I've been practicing for about 5 or 6 months myself, and i must say, it's been a sublime experience thus far. Christine does a wonderful job translating the experience into comics.

Kagan McLeod continues to astound, with another kick-ass video, Infinite Kung Fu—Master of the Flying Guillotine time lapse drawing. If you haven't seen or read Infinite Kung Fu yet, you're really missing out. This is one our most high-flying awesome action epic gargantuan books ever. [No, really…]

AX cover artist Akino Kondoh's smart, stylish little trailer for, i think (?), a new book. Maybe an art show?

Planète Manga ! du 11 février 2012 au 27 mai 2012 by centrepompidou

• Finally, here's some Fan Fiction from Dark Horse editor-whiz Scott Allie's kid. (Who happens to be in my kid's first-grade class.) No less than Korgi #4! Christian Slade, look out, dude!

February 9, 2012

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From a recent Book Brahmin column in Shelf Awareness, check out this cool drawn questionnaire from Nate Powell. (Large version via the link.)

• Eric Reynolds at Fantagraphics sent me the news about an upcoming show in Seattle at their store called Funny Valentines: A Tribute to Jack Davis… man, this sounds cool. If you live in or near the Emerald City, head on over.

• Finally, i have to chime in on the new Van Halen album, A Different Kind of Truth. I've listened to it three times now, and i'm digging it big time. I've heard some haters already who, frankly, i'd wager never liked Halen in the first place. Whatever.

This i know: Los Bros Eddie and Alex can still kick out the monster mammojams with anyone. Eddie's style has evolved without losing the signature sound that makes him a household name with any true rock guitar fan. And Alex, well… he is THE thunder god drummer-of-choice in my book.

Wolfgang, Eddie's son, does solid work on base, even though i do miss Michael Anthony's chops. Where Mr. Jack Daniels is really missed is his classic squeeze-your-balls, high-note vocal harmonies.

Which brings us to Diamond Dave. I'll be the first to admit a love/hate relationship with this guy, but no matter how you slice it, he's the best suited front man for Eddie of all time. David does a pretty damn good job here, and sounds terrific… except for occasionally struggling to hit some of the falsettos that were his calling card of yore. Overall, i'm impressed at how he's able to adapt his aging pipes to still keep it bluesy.

Now, unlike some, i liked the Van Hagar era and think Sammy was great with the boys, although i really considered them a whole different band altogether. That said, it's great to hear Dave again back where he belongs.

The sound of this record stylistically and tonally is probably closest to the Van Hagar record, FUCK (For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge), from way back, which is not a bad thing. Great production values and balance as a whole.

Van Halen. One of my favorite bands ever. Back from the grave!

Staff Pick: Pterodactyl Hunters in the Gilded City

February 5, 2012 / More →

This in the current new Diamond Previews, in comics shops now, and online.

Staff Pick: Pterodactyl Hunters in the Gilded City
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Item Code: FEB121159
SRP: $9.95
PREVIEWS Page #328
In Shops: 4/25/2012

"Brendan Leach spins a remarkably powerful fantasy short story in the dinosaur-infested urban sprawl of the early 20th-century. With no lengthy explanation of how and why there are still thunder lizards hunting humans in the New York City streets, Leach drops the reader square in the middle of a hunt. Adrenaline runs high while three men in a tiny hot air balloon basket fight an aerial battle against a predator that far outclasses them in speed, size, and maneuverability. Yet, it’s the aftermath that makes this such a subtle and intriguing read!

"Eamon and Declan are brothers by blood and by shared membership in a heroic profession. Yet Eamon’s the one up in the basket every night, while Declan remains in the watchtower. Declan’s young still, and he does understand rationally that he’s not ready — but the pterodactyls are nearing extinction. Eamon and the team are very good at their job, leaving Declan with little hope for his own shot at heroism. Worse, no matter who slays the final beast, the City will disband the Hunters and leave Declan and his brother without prospects or the safe legacy of his family’s traditional trade.

"A brilliant and totally immersive one-shot, this is a must read! But that’s not just my opinion. It was honored with a Xeric Grant and inclusion in 2011’s Best American Comics (AUG111091). This stand alone release was a long time coming and more than well-deserved."

~Sarah Martinez

There you have it folks! Sarah at Diamond would not let you down, so order a copy from your LCS (local comics shop) asap!

• Top Shelf alum Rick (Shuck Unmasked) Smith has been busy with his terrific cycling comic Kickstand, online and in print, and has launched a new Kickstand Club.

Check it!

February 1, 2012

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I had the rare opportunity to hang with my friend, and rising star, Emi Lenox recently. She's on fire. Here is a killer snapshot she took of 50 hand-drawn bookmarks that were made for people who pre-ordered Emitown Volume 2.

Also, make sure to head over to Floating World Comics tomorrow night, Thursday, February 2, 6:00-10:00 p.m. for the original art show featuring work by Emi and other rising comics star Tally Nourigat!

• The prolific Nate Powell will be touring in support of the First Second graphic novel The Silence of Our Friends (written by Jim Demonakos & Mark Long).

Fri 2/3: SEATTLE WA—Book Release Party & Artwork Exhibition @ Roq La Rue Gallery (2312 2nd Ave.), 6-8 pm. Food! Drinks! Books! Pages!

Sat 2/4: SEATTLE WA – Discussion & Signing @ Fantagraphics Books (1202 S. Vale St.), 6-8 pm. (Mark & Jim only)

Fri 2/10: SAN FRANCISCO CA – Discussion, Signing, & Art Exhibit @ Mission Comics And Art (3520 20th St.), 7-9 pm.

Sat 2/11: SAN FRANCISCO CA – Discussion & Signing @ SFPL Anza Branch (550 37th Ave.), 2:30-4 pm.

Sun 2/12: SAN FRANCISCO CA – Discussion & Signing @ Cartoon Art Museum (655 Mission St.), 1-3pm.

Mon 2/13: PETALUMA CA – Discussion & Signing @ Copperfield’s Books (140 Kentucky St.), 4-6pm.

Tue 2/14: LAFAYETTE CA – Discussion & Signing @ Lafayette Library (3491 Mount Diablo Blvd.), 7-8 pm.

Wed 2/22: WASHINGTON DC – Discussion & Signing @ Watha T. Daniel Shaw Library (1630 7th St. NW), 7-9pm. (Nate only)

Thur 2/23: TAKOMA PARK MD – Discussion & Signing @ Takoma Park Public Library (101 Philadelphia Ave.), 7-9pm. (Nate only)

Sat 2/25: WASHINGTON DC – Discussion & Signing @ Politics & Prose (50515 Connecticut Ave. NW), 1-3 pm. (Nate only)

Sat 2/25: SILVER SPRING MD – Discussion & Signing @ Wheaton Library (11701 Georgia Ave.), 4-6 pm. (Nate only)

• Finally... HOLY CRAP! Lord of the Rings freakin' LEGOS!! I can't believe how cool this is.

Wha?!... it's been ten days since i last posted... Yikes!

January 27, 2012 / More →

• Chris Staros will be at STAPLE! in Austin, TX March 3-4. Top Shelf is an offical sponsor this year, and Kagan McLeod will be with Top Shelf as an invited special guest of the show. Here's a boss ad designed by our own Chris Ross.

• Call for submissions! Slovenian comics juggernaut Stripburger is calling for contributions to their next big project. Take it away:
Forum Ljubljana, Institute for Art and Cultural Production, Metelkova 6, Si-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
tel. +386 1 2319662, fax. +386 1 4338074, burger@mail.ljudmila.org / stripburger.org

Comics of the theme of Work

Gather all, ye scurvy comic scribblers, scratchers and drawers!

This year's special edition of Stripburger is dedicated to work in all its forms. Yes, the W-word.

In these turbulent times we're witnessing changes to the paradigm of work. Once it used to be a part of a daily survival strategy, then a way of expressing oneself, nowadays we cannot distinguish it from leisure time anymore. How can we define work in the first place? Is it a rational guided process aimed at some tangible goal, or is it any human activity where new things are created? Is it only paid labour, remunerated by a wage or salary, what about voluntary work? Is it the work that made the human species, or is it the other way around, that we as humans tend to put significance into our creative activities and call that work? What about art? Is an artist creating or working? What's the difference between these two terms in his or her case?

Many questions can be asked about the nature of work in our contemporary society. Due to the fleeting nature of its definitions we've assembled a list of terms, clues and starting points, all somehow connected to the concept of work, which could serve as sources of inspiration for you, dear artists, when you try to tackle this heavy issue. We're expecting socially engaged comics, but also intimate meditations on the issue of work, status and rights of workers, on the artist as a worker, then humorous submissions as well, even mischievous are most welcome! Let them not be politically correct, PC is for pussies, we're expecting full-blooded comics that will become often quoted referential material in the future, or at least fun to read!

Work as:

  • means of survival
  • effort, toil
  • a characteristic human need
  • a necessary evil
  • joke, fun, goofing-off
  • »He who does not work, shall not eat as well!« - a Slovenian proverb
  • work as godly activity – »creatio ex nihilo«
  • work vs. Rest
  • waiting for work: Unemployment office
  • work vs. antiwork
  • working at home
  • manual vs. intellectual work
  • taboo of work/banned work
  • »a Sunday kind of work«
  • »precarious, temporary, part-time, seasonal work
  • workoholism
  • internship
  • strike/denial of work
  • legal vs. illegal work (moonlighting, etc)
  • voluntary work
  • trade unions
  • history of work
  • exploitation of workers: sweatshops, slavery, forced/compulsory work
  • gyms: working out
  • the division of work/labour
  • work and gender
  • work and age
  • work and sexuality (prostitutes and man-whores, etc)
  • work today vs. work in the past (manufactories, guilds, etc)
  • »Work less, create more!«
  • stigmatisation of the non-working
  • »gastarbeit« work: work by more or less temporary immigrant workers and
  • whatever it works for you

Please feel free to work on some other ideas.

A traveling exhibition is planned at the release of the anthology and also some other things like workshops …

Deadline for submissions: 31st May

book wil be size: 235x170 mm
So send the works no smaller then A4 format(21x29,7 cm)
print: black and white

Files should be:

  • lineart: at least 600 dpi resolution, 240 mm height
  • grayscale: at least 300 dpi resolution, 240 mm height

Stripburger / Forum Ljubljana, Metlekova 6, SI – 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia, Europe

american elf love...

January 17, 2012 / More →

Comics Alliance highlights James Kochalka's American Elf in a survey of autobio comics, here.

I love their assessment of James's work: "American Elf is the great granddaddy of diary webcomics, and one of the many reasons why James Kochalka is awesome enough to be the first ever Cartoonist Laureate. In four colorful panels, Kochalka captures the small moments of his daily life, from mundane moments with his two sons to his wife's miscarriage. There's a fearlessness to Kochalka's comic -- he'll include something as simple as cooking dinner or as personal as blowing up at his family."

Dear readers, let me just say to you — especially those of you unfamiliar with James' comics — this man is a national treasure. The fact that he's not more widely known is a fucking crime. His comics, ranging from his all-ages books like Johnny Boo, Dragon Puncher, Pinky & Stinky, and Monkey vs. Robot, to his strictly adult fare like SuperF*ckers, and finally to his sublime American Elf are literally PURE COMICS. (And how wicked cool is the name of every single title i just listed?) American Elf is truly a sublime experience... he captures the essence of the life of the middle class American like no other. No one else does comics remotely like James, and i'd wager that anyone would be able to find something within his broad range of themes and memes to like.

I don't make blatant pleas to buy Top Shelf comics too often. (Maybe i should?) But for the sake of all this is Right and True in this universe, go get yourself some Kochalka. You won't be disappointed.

January 6, 2012

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• Oh, that Kevin Cannon... check him out At Length. The Classics Illustrated Comics Project.

Complex Magazine's 25 Best Comics of 2011 list is out. Top Shelf has three, count 'em THREE books on it! We've got:
Nate Powell's Any Empire.
Kagan McLeod's Infinite Kung Fu.
Rob Venditti & Mike Huddleston's The Homeland Directive.

Eric Skillman drew this wicked cool piece of art to celebrate the new year. Also at his site he has a terrific breakdown of the work he did in 2011.

• Finally, this is so cool i just have to throw it out to the world... the endpaper artwork for Ed Piskor's forthcoming graphic novel Wizzywig.

Hidee Ho, happy campers!

December 27, 2011 / More →

I do hope y'all had a swell holiday!

Straggler Rob Ullman got this card in just in time for Christmas, but after i made my last Christmas post. Dang-diggity, the guy can really draw sexy!

December 23, 2011

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This is gonna be one hella long blogpost, kids. But i'll be disappearing here shortly for the weekend so wanted to bang this out before there's no turning back. Merry Christmas!!

• The holiday cards keep rolling in, so i'd better do my best to share the spirit. Here's just a smattering.
Dean Haspiel

Lizz Lunney

JH Williams


Gary Spencer Millidge

Stephen L'Heureux

Sam Henderson has a new comic, Free Ice Cream, available at Wow Cool!

• Another This Week in History is up at the Veeps blog.

• Jenny Jaeckel's self-published Siberiak is awesome. Check out her Tumblr site for excerpts from the book and ordering info. (Note the assists by my very good friend, Josue Menjivar!)

Tom Spurgeon talks with Peter Birkemoe from The Beguiling. (Who, along with Chris Butcher) run one of the very best comics shops in the world.

• Finally, Darren Hayes, i don't know who the heck you are, but you just made me weep. This is what my own mom taught me the holidays were all about. Thank you.

Long Live AdHouse Books!

December 19, 2011 / More →

Chris Pitzer walks us through his first nine years at the helm of his company AdHouse books. Damn, has it really been that long? Big ups to Chris, his awesome wife Lisa (who dutifully attends a great deal of the conventions Chris exhibits at), and of course the wonderful authors he's worked with over the years.

December 14, 2011

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Courtesy of James Kochalka, Merry Boo everyone!!

Listening to Inkstuds' Robin McConnell talk with Nate Powell as i write this. Nate talks Any Empire and his other new book (with Mark Long and Jim Demonakos), The Silence of Our Friends.

• Check out the new This Week in History over at the Veeps blog!

• Eric Skillman gets some love on The Electric Playground for his awesome Liar's Kiss.

And while we're on the subject, Eric's process blog for Branded To Kill and Tokyo Drifter is a designer's dream. Holy shit, any one of his in-progress/abandoned designs is print worthy.

• This trailer for Tom Scioli's forthcoming American Barbarian (AdHouse) is wicked cool!

• And by all means, please support Rich Tommaso to help get his book The Cavalier Mr. Thompson to press!

December 13, 2011

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Check this Wayne (Veeps) Shellabarger cover art for the forthcoming issue of Bay Guardian.

• And speaking of San Francisco, my old pal Steve (Bughouse) Lafler sent this bit o' news:
Mini Cartoonist-Palooza
Holiday Sale & Concert

Bay Area cartoonists Lloyd Dangle, Mats!?, Jeff Roysdon and Steve Lafler join together to bring cartoon art gift items to the Mercury Cafe in Hayes Valley on December 21 from 6-9 p.m. for a festive and convivial evening.
Lafler and Scott Hoover bring their band The Dick Nixon Experience into the Mercury, rounding out the evening's entertainment with some hard driving "Oaxacabilly" music.
The Mercury Cafe is located at 201 Octavia St., San Francisco.

December 10, 2011

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Eddie Campbell punks art spiegelman, sorta kinda...

• I finally read Craig Thompson's Hababi last week. Wow. Masterful comics storytelling, and unbelievably gorgeous. Powerful mojo. Big ups to you, Craig.

• Finally, not comics, but related in that, if the human race isn't around for much longer, then there's no one i can sell our comics too. I often comment on my big crush on author, journalist Naomi Klein. But more than anything, i respect her for her courage and her ability to communicate radical truths that need to be heard. These are 20 of the best minutes you could possibly spend, her talk titled Addicted to Risk, courtesy of the wonderful Ted Talks.

December 7, 2011

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Cheers to Nate Powell and his wife Rachel! They are now that proud parents of beautiful wee little Harper Powell, arrived on this world at 8:59 p.m. on the 5th of December. Nate writes: "She's healthy, well-adjusted, and ludicrously cute. I'll start her off on basic inking skills and then move to more advanced photoshop techniques soon..."

December 2, 2011

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Hey kids! Harvey Pekar's Cleveland is listed in the brand spankin' new issue of Diamond Previews — order code DEC111207 — and not only that, but Joyce Brabner has a giant-sized interview in there as well! You can read it right here.

I've said it before, and i stand firmly by it, but i think this is one of Harvey's best books ever, and the art by Joseph Remnant is outstanding. A perfectly complimentary pair!

• Meanwhile, check this!... Kevin O'Neill is selling his original artwork for LXG! Read more about it at Paul (The Man at the Crossroads) Gravett's blog.