Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Selection from the Top Shelf

Top Shelf Productions recently had a big sale -- I blogged about it at the time -- and so I bought a short stack of interesting-sounding things from them, and started reading them when the box arrived. I'm not done yet, but I thought I'd round up the ones I have read into one post, since they're short books that don't really rate their own free-standing review posts.

Jeremy Tinder, Cry Yourself to Sleep -- an anthropomorphic rabbit named Jim loses his job in a sandwich shop due to (choose one) rampant anti-furry racism or his own incompetence and lackadaisical attitude. His roommate Andy (a normal human) has his semi-autobiographical novel rejected. And their friend, a robot, wanders about and worries about himself.

It's odd and small, but it has a quirky charm -- it's the comics equivalent of an indy movie, with a bunch of young people who don't know what to do with their lives meeting and talking and running around in various permutations. (The three guys on the cover are the main characters, but there are a number of secondary characters -- and the plot is a bit more complicated, with more varied activity, than my thumbnail sketch might imply.)

Nicolas Mahler, Van Helsing's Night Off -- quirkily drawn versions of famous horror-movie icons (Frankenstein, the wolf man, the vampire, the mummy) engage in everyday life, as best they can.

This was a lot of fun -- Mahler's art is idiosyncratic and amusing, even before his characters do anything. And these wordless stories might read quickly, but they're very funny, in a sly way. It looks like this is the only work of Mahler (who's Austrian) to have made it to America, but I hope it's not the last.

Mawil, Beach Safari -- a frightened, anxious little rabbit-guy is thrown up onto an isolated beach by a storm, where he meets a group of teenage female surfers, and falls into a relationship with one of them.

It's a pleasant story on the surface, and probably deeply personally allegorical for the cartoonist underneath -- the rabbit feels like a personal-insert character. Mawil has a loose drawing style that's particularly good with water, and he manages to make his girls cute without giving them conventional faces at all. (I should also note that the redhead is topless on the cover, and throughout much of the book, for those of you for whom that would be a plus or a minus.)

All three of these books are still available cheaply from Top Shelf -- see the link up top -- but now the deal is that you have to buy one graphic novel at full price, and can then get up to five of the sale items at $3 apiece. It's a good deal on some good comics -- I haven't yet seen a Top Shelf comic that I didn't enjoy.

1 comment:

Adele said...

I like the look of the Van Helsing one.

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