A Look at Top Shelf's Summer Books

Official Press Release


by Rich Koslowski

From the award-winning creator of THREE FINGERS, comes an all-new pop-culture adventure/mystery. THE KING is an offbeat tale of one very enigmatic Elvis impersonator that's taking the Vegas strip, and the world, by storm. Shrouded in mystery with the shining gold helmet that covers his face, his performances are mesmerizing, and many fans are starting to believe that he really is Elvis. Through a series of thought-provoking interviews and investigative reporting, a journalist makes it his personal mission to find out who THE KING really is. And along the way he discovers a lot more than he bargained for.

-- $19.95, 7 1/4" x 10.5", 208 pgs, 2-Color Graphic Novel, ISBN 1-891830-65-1


by Alex Robinson

From the Eisner award-winning creator of BOX OFFICE POISON (voted by Wizard magazine as the best indy graphic novel of all time), comes the highly anticipated original graphic novel, TRICKED. Four years in development and clocking in at 320-pages, Alex Robinson, "the master of true-to-life relationship drama" (Library Journal), has created another tour de force. TRICKED follows the lives of six people -- a reclusive rock legend, a heartbroken waitress, a counterfeiter, an obsessive crank, a lost daughter, and a backstabbing lover -- whose lives are unconnected until an act of violence brings them spiraling in on each other. Combining intriguing characters with a story structure that is both complex and innovative, TRICKED is not to be missed!

-- $19.95 (US), 320 pages, 6 1/2" x 9 5/8", Graphic Novel, ISBN 1-891830-73-2

The New Edition of: BOX OFFICE POISON

by Alex Robinson

Sporting a brand new cover, the award-winning and long-out-of-print BOX OFFICE POISON is back! This 608-page epic story of Sherman, Dorothy, Ed, Stephen, Jane, and Mr. Flavor is a true comics masterpiece. Alex Robinson's completely natural and inspiring knack for dialogue makes this story of dreary jobs, comic books, love, sex, messy apartments, girlfriends (and the lack thereof), undisclosed pasts, and crusty old professionals one of the most delightful and whimsical graphic novels to hit the stands in years. Publishers Weekly calls it "A convincing, absorbing and satisfying fictional portrait of post-college life in New York City." The Daily Targum says that "Box Office Poison is to the comic book culture as Almost Famous is to that of rock and roll." And Julio Diaz of Ink19 says, "Robinson breathes life into his characters rarely seen in any medium. As it stands, Box Office Poison is one of the most engrossing and rewarding pieces of literature -- graphic or otherwise -- that I've had the privilege to read."

-- $29.95 (US), 608 pages, 6 1/2" x 9 5/8, Graphic Novel, ISBN 1-



by Aaron Renier

With an ensemble cast straight from a box of Animal Crackers, this delightful tale of ambition, morality, and self-discovery is the first major work by extraordinary newcomer Aaron Renier. Drawn in a decidedly beautiful fashion, reminiscent of Richard Scary and Lewis Trondheim, Renier has given us a fully-realized and compellingly adventurous narrative, at once both achingly naive and profoundly worldly. This tightly crafted, two-color graphic novel is the real deal, and will charm your socks off. A remarkable debut.

-- $14.95 (US), Two-Color Interiors, 144 pages, 9 3/4" x 7 1/2", Graphic Novel, ISBN 1-891830-50-3


by Rob Venditti and Brett Weldele

The year is 2054, and life has been reduced to a data feed. The fusing of virtual reality and cybernetics has ushered in the era of the surrogate, a new technology that lets users interact with the world without ever leaving their homes. It's a perfect world, and it's up to Detectives Harvey Greer and Pete Ford of the Metro Police Department to keep it that way. But to do so they'll need to stop a techno-terrorist bent on returning society to a time when people lived their lives instead of merely experiencing them. Welcome to The Surrogates, a daring, five-issue, full-color miniseries coming this July from Top Shelf Productions.

-- $2.95, 32 pages, 6 5/8" x 10 3/16", Full-Color 5-issue comic-book miniseries

Extra information on The Surrogates:

In the tradition of William Gibson and Philip K. Dick, The Surrogates is more than just an action story with sci-fi trappings. Applying familiar tropes in unfamiliar ways, The Surrogates is about progress and whether there exists a tipping point at which technological advancement will stop enhancing and start hindering our lives. It is also a commentary on identity, the Western obsession with physical appearance, and the growing trend to use science as a means of providing consumers with beauty on demand.

The Surrogates also represents a number of firsts. For writer Robert Venditti, the miniseries will be his first published work. For Top Shelf, the award-winning literary publisher best known for such seminal graphic novels as From Hell, Blankets, and Owly, this will be their first foray into mainstream comics, as well as their first in-house book. Venditti began working for Top Shelf on April 3rd, 2002, during the "twelve-hour miracle," when he helped pack the thousand orders that came in that day, and since then he's become the publisher's first permanent staffer. Also an aspiring comics writer, Venditti gave the script for The Surrogates to Chris Staros and asked his advice on marketing it to more mainstream publishers. After reading it, however, Staros and co-publisher Brett Warnock were so impressed that they did one better: having long been on the lookout for a mainstream project worthy of bearing the Top Shelf logo, they decided to keep The Surrogates for themselves.

To fulfill the art duties, Top Shelf turned to up-and-coming artist/colorist Brett Weldele. Staros and Weldele first met during a portfolio review at Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD), where Staros recognized the talent in the studying artist's work. Since then, Weldele has worked on such high-profile projects as The Last Straw Man and The Clockmaker for Image, and Julius for Oni Press. Now Weldele has come full circle, producing work for Top Shelf that is both innovative and edgy, combining the best of mainstream and indy influences. Augmenting the visuals is the unifying design concept of the graphic design firm Bissel & Titus, who deliver supplemental articles, mock advertisements, and product brochures so authentic you'll think surrogates are already available at an authorized dealer near you. The result is a fully realized creative endeavor, one that immerses the reader in a time and place not far from, and yet so much unlike, our own. Featuring young talent, inventive storytelling, and a subtextual narrative driven by characters all too human, The Surrogates is mainstream comics the way they ought to be.


Edited by Peter Kuper and Ryan Inzana

From attacks on Sponge Bob, to fake newscasters, to nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, to tax cuts for the rich, Neo Cons are everywhere! As the Bush administration rewrites the constitution, the artists of World War 3 draw the line and demonstrate that a picture is worth a thousand WMDs. For a quarter century, World War 3 has been on the cutting edge of political comix, and this 25th anniversary edition continues with a line up of today's sharpest talents, including: Spain, Joe Sacco, David Rees, Steve Brodner, Barry Blitt, Eric Drooker, Sabrina Jones, Ryan Inzana, Seth Tobocman, Peter Kuper, and a wraparound cover by Sue Coe. World War 3 is the antidote to complacency. Distributed by Top Shelf.

-- $5.00 (US), 64 pages, 8" x 10.5", Color covers, B&W Interiors, Saddle Stitched, Anthology

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