Top Shelf Productions


channel surfing jewel

August 9, 2007

Holy god, a couple nights ago i was surfing through cable tv for some background noise laying out Jeff Lemire's new book, when i stumbled across some young blond woman on PBS, on-stage playing guitar and singing up a storm. I was instantly impressed with this girl's pipes. And her song-writing as well. So i jumped online to find out who this was, and lo and behold it's Jewel.

I suppose that shows my age, maybe? I'd heard this name for years, naive and without a clue who it was. In fact, my presumption was that this was more likely than not just another poseur, hand-created by some slimy producer. But no, whether you like her or not, Jewel is the real deal. The last few songs of her set were with a small orchestra, her singing a cappella, and i literally had shivers running down my spine. Wow. Wow. Wow.

A quick search reveals that the television program was called Soundstage, and this episode was Jewel From the Rialto Square Theatre.

Newsarama has a short interview with Nikki Cook … tres fabu artist of the Brian Wood-penned, forthcoming graphic novel, Dogs Day End.

Whoo hoo!

• We finally have some new comics up on our website, and they are awesome. In a more realistic manner we have the fine stylings and deep subject matter of Gabriel Frizzera, with the story "Heavy Metal Heart." Then on the opposite end of the spectrum stylistically, yet no less incredible, are some surreal comics in the art-brut school by Bart (Aardbart) Johnson.

Bart Johnson:

• Here's a pic of me sandwiched by my two of oldest pals in comics, Garret Izumi and Steve Lafler. We were out for cocktails that night (me…drinking mango mojitos), followed up by some activity out behind, well... never mind. (Photo by Garret!)

• Some cool books i picked up at San Diego. (Who knows when i'll have the time to read 'em... but even at a glance they look sweet.)

- Chance in Hell, by Gilbert Hernandez (Fantagraphics)

- Percy Gloom, by Cathy Malkasian (Fantagraphics)

  • Mean, by Steven Weissman, reprinting his earliest awesome self-published comic books (Fantagraphics) This is one of very very few comics, where the sheer delightful energy of Ribs!' self-published floppies are so damn cool, i'll keep both the original comics as well as the trade paperback collecting them.
  • Scrap Mettle, an art book about Scott Morse, designed by Chris Pitzer. Thanks, Scott! (Image) Wow! What an amazing collection of work by Mr Morse. Pen & ink, color work, washes, etc.

- Kent Williams, a stunning monograph, gifted to me…thanks Johnnie! (ASFA) Brilliant. The guy is a master.

  • Comic Art #9, edited by Todd Hignite, designed by Jonathan Bennett (Buenaventura) This deluxe magazine is so good that it rivals Craig Yoe's seminal ARF! Chock full of high-carb comics calories, with fabulous contributors, contents, and a seriously lush design sensibility... kudos to Mr Hignite and Mr Bennett, and thanks to Mr Buenaventura for publishing it.
  • Pulphope, by Paul Pope and Chris Pitzer (AdHouse) I picked this baby up at Floating World here in Portland. Two words come to mind. Eye. Candy. This is a real gem, and the world is a much better place with this book now in print. Get one while you can.

- The Ride Home, by Joey Weiser (AdHouse) A wonderful story, drawn with aplomb.

- Fleet Street Scandal, by Kevin Dart and Chris Turnham (self-published) Easily some of the most exciting new talent for me in years. While they each have very unique styles and concerns, they are at the same time very compatible as a team. I love the mix of sweet design skills and luscious chops. These are two to watch out for.

Kevin Dart:

Chris Turnham: