Archive for the 'top shelf 2.0' 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


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.

ThunderCats are gooooo

Friday, May 16, 2008



American indie-comics publisher Top Shelf Productions launches today its new free digital comics initiative, playfully titled Top Shelf 2.0. Updated 5 days a week, the new program will showcase a huge variety of talent both old and new, introducing creators to new fans — and fans to new creators — with a constant stream of new stories.

Updates to the site, posted every weekday, will take many forms, ranging from one-page gags to short stories to chapters in an ongoing series. With each day’s new story, co-editors Brett Warnock and Leigh Walton will unveil another piece in a rolling assortment of previously featured artists and new debuts. As a special bonus for the site’s launch, the initial offering features ten stories by twelve creators, demonstrating the vast diversity of comics and cartoonists involved. According to the editors’ welcome message, “that’s just the tip of the iceberg!”

Among those currently or soon to be featured on Top Shelf 2.0 are:

  • the haunting avant-garde imagery of Bart Johnson and Ben Constantine…
  • the globe-spanning high-kicking funkadelic fury of Kagan McCloud, serializing his indie classic Infinite Kung Fu in preparation for the collected edition to be published by Top Shelf in 2009…
  • a stunning painted fable by John C. Ralston…
  • Jed McGowan working his color wizardry with a beautifully limited palette…
  • the freewheelin’ mythic imagination of the inimitable Bernie McGovern…
  • a pair of young artists whose energy and charm practically shines from every panel of their cartoony adventures: Chris “Elio” Eliopoulos and Michael DeForge…
  • the monumental TENTH 24-hour comic by the master of the form, David Chelsea (whose new book, 24×2, is on sale now from Top Shelf)…
  • an inky poetic parable from young Slovenian prodigy Domen Finžgar, and a Japan-flavored short from Belgian brush-master Stedho…
  • the brilliant wit and charm of notable webcomickers Jessica McLeod and Edward J Grug III…
  • the Ignatz-nominated architectural hijinks of Jeff Zwirek…
  • plus Aaron Navrady, Steve Lafler, Lizz Lunney, Sean T. Collins, Matt Wiegle, Matt Rota, Nik Daum, Will Dinski, Willow Dawson, Emily Block, and many more to be revealed as we keep rolling!

With its unique one-story-per-day format, Top Shelf 2.0 is a hybrid between a webcomics portal’s stable of ongoing strips and a print anthology’s stand-alone short stories. As Walton puts it, “We’re somewhere in between Keenspot and MOME.

Similarly, Walton’s web-savvy youth, combined with Warnock’s decade of experience editing the Eisner- and Harvey-Award-nominated anthology Top Shelf, makes for a killer curatorial combo.

Of course, the new program is no replacement for Top Shelf’s primary business: the print publication of critically-acclaimed and popularly treasured graphic novels. “People will never stop wanting books,” says Walton, “especially when the books are as lovingly crafted as ours (and those of other alt-comix publishers). Rather, Top Shelf 2.0 is like a little online spin-off of the big Top Shelf brand, like MTV2 or BBC Two. To a certain extent, we see Top Shelf 2.0 as a laboratory for new ideas and new creators — any webcomic that gets an outstanding response will naturally suggest that we consider it for print publication, but in the meantime we’re happy to give these creators and fans an opportunity to discover each other. Throughout the process, I should add, creators fully own their work — it’s an experiment for them as well as for us. We’re all excited to see where it goes!”

Top Shelf 2.0 is live at and updates Monday through Friday.



This particular cat has been clawing at the bag for some time, and I’m happy to finally be able to let it out.

Laura Hudson of PWCW has broken the story of the new project that Brett and I have been working on:

The most gratifying thing for me has been seeing the excitement that some of our (amazing, awesome, patient) cartoonists have been showing on their livejournals:

I’m so lucky to be a part of this.

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).


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