Will You Still Love Me If I Wet The Bed?

By Liz Prince
80 pages, black and white
Published by Top Shelf Productions

Some books grab you from the second you see the cover. Others take a page or two. And then there are the ones that just sneak up on you when you’re least expecting it, and that’s exactly what happened with me and Liz Prince’s Will You Still Love Me If I Wet The Bed?

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The Ticking

By Renée French
216 pages, black and white
Published by Top Shelf Productions

“Edison Steelhead was born on the kitchen floor.” It’s the sort of opening you hear for legends, and of epic stories. It’s how Renée French begins the narration of The Ticking, her new graphic novel that like its opening words may make you believe it’s going in one direction, even as it quietly slides into something entirely different.

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Surrogates #1

Written by Robert Venditti
Art by Brett Weldele
32 pages, color
Published by Top Shelf Productions

All right, I’ll admit it—when I first heard about Top Shelf Productions publishing The Surrogates I was a little skeptical. When I think of Top Shelf, after all, the first thing that leaps to mind isn’t a science-fiction action adventure mini-series. What I’d failed to take into account, though, is that Top Shelf’s publishing credos isn’t about genre so much as it’s about quality, and based on the first issue The Surrogates definitely fits the bill.

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Spiral-Bound (Top Secret Summer)

By Aaron Renier
184 pages, black and white
Published by Top Shelf Productions

The old adage of “You can’t judge a book by its cover” isn’t always 100% true. Covers can absolutely be misleading, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes, though, you look at a cover and you just feel like you know everything about the book. For me, that was definitely the case with Aaron Renier’s debut graphic novel Spiral-Bound (Top Secret Summer); seeing a humanoid elephant, dog, and rabbit falling into a sketched monster’s jaws, I just knew that this was going to be an inventive and exciting book, and that’s exactly what I got.

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Super F*ckers #1

By James Kochalka
32 pages, color
Published by Top Shelf Productions

James Kochalka is one of the modern kings of alternative comics; his books range from autobiographical (American Elf), to nature versus technology parables (Monkey vs Robot), to children’s stories (Pinky & Stinky), and anything else Kochalka can dream up. Now he’s tackling super-hero comics… and trust me, they’ve never looked quite like Super F*ckers.

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Owly: Just a Little Blue

By Andy Runton
128 pages, black and white
Published by Top Shelf Productions

Andy Runton’s Owly was one of my favorite books published last year; a rare example of a book that really was all ages, with something to offer anyone and everyone who read it. It was because of that I was so worried about his new book, Owly: Just a Little Blue. His debut was such a strong book that I couldn’t help but think to myself, “What if it just doesn’t live up to my high expectations?” Of course, the real question that I should have asked myself is, “Why did you even worry?”

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Mosquito

By Dan James
152 pages, red and white
Published by Top Shelf Productions

Horror is a tricky genre, one that I think the majority of people who attempt have yet to master. So much of horror is psychological, meant to stir the emotions of its audience into unease, fright, and absolute terror. Often, it’s hard to explain why something worked other than, “It just creeped me out.” Reading Dan James’s new comic Mosquito, it was somewhere around the halfway point that I realized my body was subconsciously tightening up more and more as I turned the pages. With horror, that’s a good thing.

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Carnet de Voyage

By Craig Thompson
224 pages, black and white
Published by Top Shelf Productions

People who have read my reviews for a while now will have figured out that I love well-told travel stories and journals. When I heard that Craig Thompson was releasing a journal of his recent trip through Europe and North Africa, well, I was ecstatic. I adored Blankets and I was trying not to get my hopes up too high—this would certainly be a different beast than his other books—but I was really expecting Carnet de Voyage to transport me to another world. And thankfully, that’s exactly what it did.

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Boy Trouble #5

Edited by Robert Kirby and David Kelly
80 pages, black and white
Published by Boy Trouble Books, distributed by Top Shelf Productions

It’s hard to believe it’s been four years since the last issue of Boy Trouble was published. A gay-themed anthology, Boy Trouble‘s previous issues had a nice mix of humor and drama between its covers, spotlighting creators whose works you might never see otherwise. In the time since then, the Internet has really come into its own, making it suddenly much easier to find specific genres and styles of comic creators’s works. In this new techno-savvy world, it’s understandable if someone then asks if a book like Boy Trouble is really necessary. After reading the high level of quality the editors have assembled, you quickly realize that the answer is a resounding yes.

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Gutsman Comics Vol. 1

By Erik Kriek
128 pages, black and white
Co-Published by Oog & Blik and Top Shelf Productions

In the past decade or so, one of the trends I’ve embraced the most is the importing and publishing of comic books from different countries. It’s something that’s obviously been going on for quite some time, but the rate in which they’ve arrived in the English-language markets is certainly on the rise. Of course, it helps when your comic doesn’t have any actual dialogue, like Erik Kriek’s Gutsman Comics. This is a book where you certainly don’t need to know Dutch to get the full meaning of Kriek’s hysterically funny relationship drama comic.

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