Exactly ten years separate the two catalogues in this picture. In 1998 I received a little yellow envelope in the mail after sending Chris Staros a polite email. it listed all the books Top Shelf had published at that time : 24 pages of them. The second book I got at my favorite comics store, and it counts no less than 255 pages, full of reviews, extracts and a complete history of Top Shelf Publishing, from The Staros Report up to Corey Barba’s Yam (and beyond).
Leafing through the Seasonal Sampler, I was completely awe-struck by the number of really good books Top Shelf has published so far — and by how much money I had already spent buying them. It would seem that every other book on my shelves bears the proud olive logo. And there is so much good stuff among them : James Kochalka, Box Office Poison by Alex Robinson, Craig Thompson‘s Blankets (of course), anything by Matt Kindt and more recently Andy Runton‘s Owly, Tim Sievert‘s That Salty Air, Lars Martinson‘s Tonoharu and Jeff Lemire‘s Essex County trilogy.
It would seem that over the years, a special kind of comic has developed – the Top Shelf comic, with a particular, immediately recognizable style and a profound and meaningful story. But Top Shelf has also proven to be one of the few comics publishers who have really developed an all round catalogue, from children’s books (like Owly or Corgi) over autobiography to what can only be described as graphic literature for a mature audience (Lost Girls or From Hell).
Here’s to Top Shelf, for many, many more years !