UPDATE 1/6/2015 11:15 AM PT: On The Beat, Chris Staros commented on how IDW Publishing’s acquisition of Top Shelf Productions will affect the latter company’s work with legendary comics writer Alan Moore. According to Staros, Moore is “okay with everything moving forward as is,” as long as Staros remains the creator’s point of contact.
“I had extensive talks with Alan — as well as our other creators — about the deal, and knowing that I would be his single point of contact for all current and future works to be published under the Top Shelf imprint, he’s okay with everything moving forward as is. For me, being that Alan was the reason I got into comics in the first place — as it was ‘V for Vendetta’ that gave me the epiphany, and showed me the potential of the medium of comics — to go from one of his greatest fans, to his publisher on ‘From Hell,’ ‘League,’ etc., has been the greatest honor of my life. So to continue this relationship, as well as our co-publishing partnership with our great friends at Knockabout in the UK, is something I cherish, and am extremely proud of.”
IDW Publishing announced this morning that it has acquired Top Shelf Productions, the Georgia-based publisher of such graphic novels as “From Hell,” “Blankets,” “Essex County Trilogy” and “March.” The terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed.
Top Shelf will become an imprint of IDW, with co-founder and publisher Chris Staros serving as editor-in-chief. It will remain headquartered in Marietta, Georgia.
“The acquisition of Top Shelf is a milestone for IDW,” IDW CEO and Publisher Ted Adam said in a statement. “We looked a very long time for a company that would complement our own publishing line-up, and in Top Shelf we found the ideal match. The addition of Top Shelf’s library further positions IDW’s leadership role among the top powerhouses in comics.”
Founded in 1997 by Staros and Brett Warnock, Top Shelf has published several of Alan Moore’s books, including “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” “From Hell,” “Voice of the Fire” and, in a particularly risky move, “Lost Girls.” The company has also been a longtime home to such creators as Craig Thompson, James Kochalka, Jeffrey Brown, Alex Robinson, Matt Kindt, Renee French and Jeff Lemire.
The publisher met with commercial and critical success in 2013 with the debut of “March,” a memoir of the Civil Rights Movement from the perspective of Rep. John Lewis, written by Lewis and Andrew Aydin, and illustrated by Nate Powell. “March: Book Two” will be released Jan. 20.
“Top Shelf and IDW complement each other perfectly,” Staros said in a statement. “We both started around the same time, and when I would watch IDW over the years, as a fellow publisher, I’d see them making smart move after smart move. Now I’m extremely excited to combine their talents and resources with Top Shelf’s award-winning literary approach to comics. And believe it or not, the idea to join forces hit us both at exactly the same time. Last year, as I was about to pitch Ted and Greg this ‘crazy’ idea, they approached me to suggest the same thing! How’s that for a good omen? Together, we’re going to be able to publish some incredible work. I’m really looking forward to this.”
According to the announcement, Warnock will retire from comics to “explore business opportunities through his newly launched food and nature blog.” The rest of the Top Shelf staff — Publicist and Marketing Director Leigh Walton, Lead Designer and Digital Director Chris Ross and Warehouse Manager Zac Boone — will remain.