CCI: Top Shelf Teases New Books, Animation, and Digital

Top Shelf Productions, one of the leading homes of independent graphic novel and book publishing, used their panel Saturday afternoon at Comic-Con International in San Diego to let their creators showcase books released during the past year and offer some sneak peeks at upcoming projects. Top Shelf's marketing coordinator Leigh Walton moderated a panel that included Director of Digital Publishing Chris Ross, Ed Piskor, , Nate Powell, and James Kochalka. "Underwater Welder" creator Jeff Lemire was scheduled to appear but could not attend.

The panel began with Chris Ross touting Top Shelf's growing digital catalog. Some of the titles available now or soon-to-be released digitally include "Double Barrel #1 and #2," which will be released the first Wednesday of every month, "American Elf 1999," "Retrofit-Fungus #1," "Monkey in the Basement," "Corrine Mucha," Tom Hart's "Daddy Lightning," Patt Kelley's "What am I Going to do Without You?," Rob Walton's "Ragmop," Nate Powell's "Sounds of Your Name," and "Lower Regions." "The Surrogates: Case Files" is also due out digitally by the end of the year.

Ross announced the digital titles will be available on a variety of platforms including comiXology, Apple iBooks, Google Play, Nook, iVerse Comics+, and Kobo, and can be read on your computer, iOS device, Android device, and a variety of e-readers. Starting now, Top Shelf's online has undergone a slight change: in addition to the preview and purchase buttons, there will now be a "Buy Digital" button which will then bring up a separate menu for digital product as well as different digital devices.

The panel was then turned over to the various writers to showcase their new books. Ed Piskor was first up with his new book "Wizzywig," which follows one character from the time he is a boy into adulthood to showcase the history of computer hacking, from payphones to modems to computers. Piskor developed his artistic side in the same way "American Splendor" artist Harvey Pekar did, "by drawing the same character in different settings over and over again."

Eddie Campbell spoke about two different projects. "The Lovely Horrible Stuff" is an illustrated history and commentary of all things money, currency, and finance. The book explores wverything from Ponzi schemes to stone money in island civilizations.

His other project, which is targeted for March 2013, is a 280-page "From Hell" companion with Alan Moore. "It will tell the story of 'From Hell' from a different angle," said Campbell. Unused sketches, photographs, and writings to and from Alan Moore will fill out the book.

Nate Powell mentioned in passing his work he did on Lemire's "Sweet Tooth" before moving on to his big project -- a collaboration with Andrew Aydin titled "March." The book tells the story of Congressman John Lewis during the Civil Rights Movement. "We are shooting for 2014 and working out the visuals."

Also due in 2014 from Powell is a "Percy Jackson" spinoff adaptation titled "The Lost Hero" from Disney/Hyperion.

In Lemire's absence, some artwork was shown from his new book "The Underwater Welder," which was available early on the con floor at the Top Shelf booth and will be available in stores in a few weeks. It is also available now digitally.

Up next, James Kochalka ("Johnny Boo") showcased his new book "Dragon Puncher 2: Dragon Puncher Island" which won the Eisner Award the night before for Best Publication for Early Readers . He then showed an episode of his new animated series based on his book "Superfuckers," which will premiere on YouTube's Cartoon Hangover channel with twelve episodes in late fall. "Remember when YouTube announced that they were going to be giving out like a million dollars to people to develop original content for their channels?" Kochalka asked the audience. "Well that money went to Felicia Day and myself!"

David Faustino ("Married with Children"), who was in the audience, is one of the series' voiceover talents, as is Kochalka himself, who plays a character named Shitstorm. It was a strange combination of adult content with extremely juvenile humor and tone. "Ladies and Gentlemen, your Eisner Award-winner for best children's book!" was shouted by someone on the panel as the episode finished.

Kochalka also plugged a new album titled "I am the Beast."

Chris Ross concluded the panel by mentioning a final book titled "Unearth-ing," which will be available in softcover, hardcover and a limited edition signed hardcover. "Unearth-ing" is a collection of quotes taken from Alan Moore spoken word events combined with photography and text. More details will follow from Top Shelf Productions at a later date.

Stay tuned to CBR News for more on Top Shelf's upcoming projects.

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