Top Shelf Productions



August 16, 2007

The new issue of Clutter magazine is out, and it has a beautiful 3-page feature spread on our good pal Bwana Spoons, of Grass Hut. Bwana's work is positively dreamy, and it's wonderful to see him finally starting to get the props he deserves. Whoo hoo!

• i received an excellent, unsolicited comic book in my po box a few weeks ago, called Into the Dust. It's issue #1 of a 12-issue, full-color series, and it's excellent. You can learn more at Into the Dust.

• I've been remiss as of late in updating this thing... and if there are any readers out there waiting with baited breath, my apologies. That said, there are countless blogs far superior to this one that update daily or close to.

• There's so many nifty comics and books i've picked up as late. I'm still catching up from some of the items i picked up at MoCCA, let alone San Diego. And now i'm leaving on Friday for TCAF (Toronto) where it's certain i'll be getting even more cool swag. As i've said before, i simply don't have time to write lengthy reviews. Needless to say, if you read it hear on Hey, Bartender, unless otherwise noted, it means i really dig it, and endorse seeking it out.

- The Art of Luca Tieri: a beautiful sketchbook by the self-titled Italian cartoonist, published by The Department of Art and Power. Gorgeous stuff in the now-ubiquitous "animated" style popularized in recent times by the likes of Bruce Timm. The content skews less towards men-in-tights though, and more towards indy culture. Great stuff.

- Everybody Takes a Turn, by Vincent (King Mini) Stall. Yet another superior "mini" comic, stock with a separate screenprinted case, this story is like a dreamy mushroom trip … a little hard to follow at times, but the ride is the important thing, not the destination. And like the rest of the known world, he has a killer new blog, always worth a peek.

Vincent's shit rocks the house. He's been promising a book for us since the 80s!... Vinnie?

- Injury, by Ted May. Hopefully but the first of many many more issues by one of today's most criminally underappreciated cartoonists of my generation. Ted May's work might not provide insightful observations on the human condition, and that's o.k. Because what he does provide is pure F.U.N. Published by Buenaventura Press.

I absolutely love Ted's comics, and cannot recommend them enough.

- Ratatouille: Little Golden Book. I still have yet to see this film (heck, i just in the last several weeks watched Cars for the first time... and Cfunk LOVES that one), but Scott Morse scored this for me from the Pixar studios, and it's a gem. Those folks at Pixar well and truly "get it." I'm not sure how many stores carry this little treasure, but i found it at Amazon.

Thanks, Scott!

- Multiple Warheads, by Brandon Graham. Holy good lord in heaven above, this is one stunning book. I'll be honest, Brandon's early work was, well... developmental. But this sucker … published by Oni Press … is outstanding. If i had to define it, i'd call it a cross between new kid (and Brandon's pal) Corey Lewis and old-school ink-stud Paul Pope. And like both mentioned cartoonists, where plot and story may be lacking, the shear vision and execution more than makes up for this. In a word, "WOW!"

Oh, and by the way, in researching this post, i just discovered that Oni has recently updated their website. Tres chic, oui!

- Amelia's Magazine #7. This British hipster/lifestyle publication rivals any and all of my favorite domestic mags (such as Flaunt, Mass Appeal, Swindle, Giant Robot, Beautiful Decay, Vapors, etc.). I can't tell you whether it's widely available here in the U.S., but i've been finding it at my local Barnes & Nobel.

(Hey, i'd buy it at a local independent bookseller, but truth be known, they in Portland simply don't have the wherewithal to carry it... a real bitch of mine these days. You always hear about the indies complaining about the chains, and yet i rarely see the indies stocking anything but the most common books on the market, instead of those offbeat rare oddities that readers will not find at the chains.)


Floating World Comics presents a rare and exclusive opportunity to view new work by the acclaimed and elusive artist Al Columbia. September’s first Thursday will see the debut of “THE LAND OF BROKEN HEARTS,” marking the first public exhibition and appearance by the enigmatic artist in over a decade. The exhibition will feature a large collection of limited edition prints, original artwork, handmade books, and other ephemera from his Orange Sunshine Company, much of it created especially for this show. The artist will also participate in an informal Q&A during the event.

"THE LAND OF BROKEN HEARTS" is a new series of illustrations that serves as a preview for a new collection of work that Columbia will release in 2008 from Seattle’s Fantagraphics Books. Floating World will have all of Columbia’s published works to date on hand at the event, including The Biologic Show, Blab!, Mome, and Zero Zero.

The opening night reception will be documented on film by Kevin Belli, a Boston filmmaker who has been creating the documentary "Whatever Happened to Al Columbia?" over the last four years.

Floating World Comics
20 NW 5th Ave #101, Portland, OR 97209
Store hours: Tuesday - Sunday 11-7pm

• And i'm off to Toronto for TCAF. Lordy i'm looking forward to this show. If it's half as much fun as the one two years ago, i'm in for a blast! I'm staying with my good buddy Gary Butler, the comics columnist (Blood in Four Colors) for the seminal horror magazine Rue Morgue.