Archive for the 'top shelf' Category

The Best Little Comics Scene in Australia

The irrepressible Jessica McLeod and Edward J Grug III (who have contributed a ton of great stories to Top Shelf 2.0) sent over the most amazing care package last week. Check this out!

Grug & Jess haul

One of the buttons (with the Bad Yeti on it) is missing because my girlfriend already nabbed it for herself! But otherwise, they say, this is everything they have in print! So go yell at them via Livejournal (Jess and Grug) and or possibly this online store URL make them sell you these amazing comics!

The fine wares include:
Bad Yeti by Jess
Yeti Party by Jess
A Big Fish in a Little Pond by David Garrett & Grug
The Bug That Inherited a Spooky Mansion and the Crazy Stuff That Happened in It!: A Choose Your Own Adventure Comic by Grug
Crushes Forever by Grug
Henry & Gil vs. the Infinity Engine #1 by Grant Watson & Grug
Henry & Gil vs. the Infinity Engine #2 by Grant Watson & Grug
The Indefatigable Miss Manners by Jess
Intrepid by Grug
Love Puppets #1 by Jess & Grug
Love Puppets #2 by Jess & Grug
Mungo Bean by Jess
Plague by Grug
Two-Fer: Osborn & Reynard / Mr. Churchill by Grug

Thanks, guys! You’re the best! And an easy lock for Most Adorable Soon-to-be-Married Comics Couple in Australia!

Art by Ainsley Seago

Nate Powell’s SWALLOW ME WHOLE nominated for LA Times Book Prize!

Well, this is one of the most exciting press releases I’ve had the opportunity to write.

swallow-me-whole

NATE POWELL’S SWALLOW ME WHOLE NOMINATED FOR LA TIMES BOOK PRIZE
–First graphic novel since 1992’s MAUS to make the list–

Top Shelf Productions is bursting with pride to announce that Nate Powell’s graphic novel Swallow Me Whole has been nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize!

Swallow Me Whole is one of five official finalists in the category of Young Adult Fiction, making it the first graphic novel to be nominated for this prize, in any category, since Art Spiegelman’s Maus won the Fiction category in 1992! “I’m honored just to be considered,” says Powell, “and feel dizzy having my book even placed in the same sentence as Maus.”

Although Swallow Me Whole was not created exclusively for young adult readers, it is fundamentally a story about the dark, quiet corners of adolescence. The book follows two teenage stepsiblings, Ruth and Perry, through the ups and downs of school, family, and suburban restlessness — all complicated by the insect armies, swirling visions, and haunting voices that no one else can perceive.

“To be a young person is to be surrounded at all times by frightening transition and the terror of losing touch with a safe and familiar world,” says Powell. “Sometimes the only salvation from that terror is in what a teenager can create for themselves.”

Full press release, with more juicy quotes and a special mail-order deal, over at the Top Shelf site.

smw-pg1041I actually never realized it until just now, but Swallow Me Whole reminds me of a book from my youth, Neal Shusterman’s 1992 YA novel The Eyes of Kid Midas, which I discovered around age 10. Midas started out incredibly familiar — not just presenting a realistic world that resembled my own life, but incorporating fantastical ideas and events that felt exactly right. Yes, that’s what I would do if I found a pair of sunglasses that made my wishes come true. Since I spent so much of my youth thinking about the fantastical, it was actually a more accurate portrayal of my world than a straight-up realistic novel would have been.

And then it got creepy. And then it got terrifying. It completely messed with my head. And I loved it. It’s still somewhere in my head to this day. “You know, Josh, the worst part is that I don’t even get into trouble for it.”

Swallow Me Whole is more challenging than Kid Midas… but it’s also more real. I love thinking about what it might do for young people. It might screw them up, in the good way. It might even help them put themselves together.

small world after all

Well, the initial announcement of our Ax news seems to have everybody excited (which is really gratifying — thanks, guys). I’m still playing catch-up myself! This is an earlier announcement than we normally do, so the questions are pouring in before even we know exactly what’s going to be in the book.

But one thing’s for sure — in the course of my research I was not expecting to see this on the cover of Ax #36 (2003-12-31):

Archer Prewitt’s Sof’ Boy? Adrian Tomine?! Jason?!? How deep does this rabbit hole go?

mark your calendars now!

Our pals at San Francisco’s ISOTOPE Comic Lounge whipped up this flyer for our annual post-APE jam (including probably the most wholesome-looking photo of Brett I’ve ever seen):

teasing!



Guess who’s coming back to Top Shelf 2.0 soon…

Choose your destiny!


Today’s Top Shelf 2.0 story is new material from Kagan McLeod — a sort of “bonus chapter” never before seen in the original self-published Infinite Kung Fu comic book. Kagan has been going through and “remastering” the whole series, often re-inking whole pages, in preparation for the release of the complete IKF graphic novel from Top Shelf next year. Today’s is an example of an all-new scene that he’s added to improve the flow of the story and lay the groundwork for the whole plot. In the coming weeks and months, we’ll continue to serialize the book with regular web updates, just as we did with Matt Kindt’s Eisner-nominated Super Spy.

Traduttore, traditore

Dan Walsh, who runs the Garfield Minus Garfield site, has chipped in to my previous entry to correct some misconceptions about the new GMG book. On August 2 he created a FAQ for the site, including:

Q. How did you come up with the idea for Garfield Minus Garfield?
A. I wasn’t the first person to come up with the premise for Garfield Minus Garfield but I think it’s fair to say I did champion and popularise it. The idea had been floating around on message boards for a couple years before I started posting them.
As far I know, I was the first person to create a site devoted to it.
I’ve said this to every interviewer who has asked me but it’s rarely published. And it’s pretty much impossible to find who did it first, believe me, I’ve tried.

“I didn’t invent this” doesn’t make for good copy, it’s true. For a publicist trying to sell a new Garfield book to suburban housewives, it makes sense to play down that angle. But exploring the issue does lead to a fascinating debate about the future of content creation and the growing pains as traditional business practices clash with new ways of interacting with art. Some of which I tried to address in the original post.

In any case, I did unfairly tar Walsh with the same brush that I attacked the endlessly-irritating Cheezburger guys with, which I gladly retract.

On some level I really get where he’s coming from. I’ve daydreamed from time to time about writing a serious analysis of /b/ and why it’s important in far more ways than anyone’s articulated so far. It’s interesting — in the process of recommending John Darnielle’s brilliant book Master of Reality to a friend, I said:

Given the nature of metal’s core demographic appeal (young, working class, outsider, etc), it’s frustratingly rare to find articulate writers who genuinely “get” the genre. I identify closely with Darnielle; I think we both discovered that appeal despite being outside that demographic, which leads to a delicate balancing act between wanting to serve as ambassadors to the outside world, encouraging the sophistication of a relatively infantile artform, and trying not to patronize the existing fanbase. As somebody who has repeatedly found myself fascinated with various forms of “low” culture, I think about this kind of thing a lot.

There’s always that dance when you discover something cool and edgy and feel like it deserves more exposure. There’s a temptation to serve as curator or even translator, sanding off the rough edges or repackaging it in a way that helps new people understand it — without taking credit for something that isn’t yours or destroying what made it great in the first place. Like any task, it can be done well or poorly. It’s something that every publisher does, but it seems especially central to Top Shelf’s mission: treading that boundary between artsy and populist.

For instance, though I had no role whatsoever in its creation, I’m pleased to say that Cave Adventure is the most “mainstream” thing I’ve ever seen Michael Deforge do, and for that reason my favorite. I’m happy that he’s able to use his insane imagination to tell a coherent and hilarious story, and I think it actually fits in really well with Top Shelf’s aesthetic. I’m looking forward to more involved editorial relationships in the future (when I find the time — ha); when it’s done right, everybody wins.

Is Eddie Campbell the lost Hernandez brother?

From a sequential-art Q&A on Powells.com for his book The Fate of the Artist

Thought for the day: Is Eddie Campbell the lost Hernandez brother?

He’s a visual genius. His stories are kind of messy, relentlessly idiosyncratic, a bit hard to follow, simultaneously both personal and arch, and flavored with magical realism. His work rewards a lifetime of reading, and could have been produced by no one but its creator. I’m so glad ALEC and BACCHUS are coming back in these new editions so everyone can visit Eddie’s world anew.

Heard of this guy Alan Moore?

The new issue of Entertainment Weekly just hit the stands. It looks like THIS:

And inside is the FIRST-EVER look at THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN (VOL. III): CENTURY (published by Top Shelf in 2009)!

Here’s a tiny version — for a better look, you gotta buy the mag!

Too Cool to be so pretty

The advance copies of Alex Robinson’s Too Cool to be Forgotten have arrived from the printer, and boy do they look good!

If you’re going to MoCCA this weekend, don’t fail to pick one up from him/us. Well, not me, as I’ll still be here in Portland. But the Top Shelf table!

Anyway, check out that design job by (Eisner nominee) Matt Kindt.


Leigh Walton talks comics and maybe other arts. (RSS)
He also works for the very excellent publisher Top Shelf Productions (which does not necessarily endorse the views and opinions, etc, herein).

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Header by me. Contains an interpolation of the final panel from All-Star Superman #1 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. Speaking of which.

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