Comics Alternative, Episode 161: A Publisher Spotlight on Top Shelf Productions

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Marvel at the Naked Spine!

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Can it be true? Are the Two Guys with PhDs Talking about Comics actually doing yet another publisher spotlight? Are they gluttons for punishment? Are their eyeballs going to fall out from all of the reading? Maybe so, but if their orbs do drop out of their heads, they’ll do so while gazing at some of the great books coming out of Top Shelf Productions. In this episode, you’ll hear Andy and Derek talking about the publisher’s summer and fall releases, including:

Before they get into the titles themselves, Derek shares a brief interview he conducted with Chris Staros, the publisher of Top Shelf. They talk about the origins of Top Shelf, the authors who have helped define their line, and their recent acquisition by IDW Publishing. Then, it’s on to the books! The guys begin with a discussion of Eddie Campbell’s Bacchus Omnibus, Vol. 1. This is the first of two behemoth books collecting all of Campbell’s Bacchus stories, complete with the titular god of wine and revelry, Joe Theseus, Hermes, the Stygian Leech, and the guys’ favorite, the Eyeball Kid. After that, Derek and Andy revisit a comic that they first discussed almost two years ago, Chris Sheridan’s Motorcycle Samurai. Back in January of 2014, they looked at the first two issues of the digital series, but this time they focus on the first completed narrative arc. The guys point out some of TopSelfLogothe differences between the two versions, digital and hardcopy, while at the same time highlighting many of he strengths in Sheridan’s storytelling. The next book they cover, Julian Hanshaw’s Tim Ginger, turns out to be one of their favorite books of the year. Both Andy and Derek point out the ambitiousness of this narrative, both thematically and visually, especially given the book’s compressed format. Indeed, Andy wonders if perhaps there was too much that Hanshaw was attempting to take on. Jennifer Hayden’s The Story of My Tits is where they go after that. This is an autobiographic tale of the author’s bout with breast cancer. But the book is much more than a personal cancer narrative. It is also Hayden’s account of her important life relationships, both with her loved ones and with her breasts as they relate to self-image. Next, the Two Guys turn to a completely different kind of book, Troy Little’s adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Like the original, this is a wild ride, and Little’s composition brings out the surreal and even frightening quality of Thompson’s narrative. The guys note that Little does what Ralph Steadman does in his illustrations for the 1972 book, without being derivative in any way, and that this is a more approachable version that Terry Gilliam’s 1998 film. Finally, the guys wrap up with a book that is not yet out but will soon be, Ray Fawkes and Vince Locke’s Junction True. This is a disturbing science fiction tale that doesn’t seem that unrealistic at all. In fact, its thematic focus on body enhancement and media exhibitionism is not too far from the culture in which we currently reside. One could even read Junction True metaphorically as a cautionary tale…or one of contemporary gothic horror.

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More To Come SDCC 2013 Special: Friday

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Live from San Diego Comic-Con, it’s More To Come! Interviews fresh from the convention floor from Heidi MacDonald, the Eisner-nominated blogger of ComicsBeat.com, Calvin Reid, Senior News Editor of Publishers Weekly, with new episodes daily during the con!

In today’s episode, Heidi and Calvin interview David Steinberger, CEO and co-founder of digital comics giant Comixology; veteran Marvel and DC comics creator Tony Isabella; Chris Staros, the publisher of Top Shelf; Andy Grossberg of the webcomics aggregator Comics Rocket and Carr D’Angelo and Susan Avallone of Los Angeles’s Earth 2 comics stores about their in-store “Non Con” event for customers and staffers who can’t attend Comic-Con.

Stay tuned tomorrow, there will be More To Come!

 

Catch up with our in depth San Diego Comic Con coverage, comics news, reviews and previous podcasts at PublishersWeekly.com/Comics

Subscribe to More To Come on iTunes

Comic Book Outsiders Episode 41

In this episode we start with some news and reviews, talking over some recent comics and the end of one of our favourite shows, BattleStar Galactica. It’s a spoiler free review as I hadn’t seen it at the time.

Our main feature is an interview with Chris Staros the Publisher of Top Shelf Productions, and until recently the President of the Comic Book Legal Defence Fund. We talk about some of the great graphic novels Top Shelf have put out in the past, what he has coming up this year including the third graphic novel in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series – Century, his convention schedule, working for the CBLDF, and working with Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie on Lost Girls.

Finally, one episode late, we finish off with our first Book Club selection – The Winter King. Scott and Steve talk in depth about the story, the characters, the mythology and history of the book and how the author Bernard Cornwell weaves fact and fiction together. We have feedback from members of our forum and at the end of our discussion an audio review from Heath Holland, a friend and co-host of Geek Brunch. We also announce what our next selection will be for the Book Club.

This episode is a big one, but we’ll be back next week as usual with another one.