Official Press Release
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, *24x2*, is on sale now from Top Shelf)...--an inky poetic parable from young Slovenian prodigy Domen Fingar, and a Japan-flavored short from Belgian brush-master Stedho...--the brilliant wit and charm of notable webcomickers Jessica McLeodand 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 http://www.topshelfcomix.com/ts2.0 and updates Monday through Friday.