Ghosts, goblins and gardening: Norman Shurtliff’s ‘Skull Cat’ starts his job at ‘The Curious Castle’ next month

The new Top Shelf graphic novel kicks off a middle grade series by the creator.

Ghosts, vampires, goblins … they’re all in a day’s work for Skull Cat, the new garden-keeper at Le Dark Chateau, the local spooky castle.

Skull Cat and the Curious Castle is the first in a planned series by Norman Shurtliff and arrives in stores on Feb. 21. The thing I find interesting about it, besides the supernatural elements, is the fact that Skull Cat is a gardener — which makes sense given Shurtliff has a degree in horticulture. So come for the cute cat being chased by monsters, stay for the (hopefully plentiful) gardening tips.

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‘Funny Things’ tells the story of Charles Schulz — in comic strip form

Top Shelf will publish the graphic novel by Luca Debus and Francesco Matteuzzi next year.

Italian creators Luca Debus and Francesco Matteuzzi will bring their unique style to tell the story of a very American legend — Peanuts creator Charles Schulz. Top Shelf will release Funny Things: A Comic Strip Biography of Charles M. Schulz next year.

“While Schulz was working on his last strip, looking back on five decades of Peanuts characters and situations, he laughed and said: ‘I really drew some funny things,’” Matteuzzi said. “That phrase, Funny Things, stuck with me since I first read it: it’s both accurate and a huge understatement of what he accomplished. So simple, and yet so powerful, just like the strips he left us which we will cherish forever.”

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Smash Pages Q&A | Rich Koslowski on ‘F.A.R.M. System’

The creator of ‘Three Fingers’ and ‘The King’ returns with a new graphic novel from Top Shelf in November.

Rich Koslowski is best known by some as the creator of Three Fingers, The List and The King, three graphic novels released in the 2000s that showed off not only his creativity and wit, but also his skill as an artist. Others know him as the creator of The 3 Geeks, which later became Geeksville and was published by Image Comics. And still others likely know him from his long-running work at Archie Comics, where he has drawn or inked everyone from Jughead to Sonic the Hedgehog to the rock band KISS, among many others.

It’s been several years now since we’ve seen him write and draw an original graphic novel, but he’s back at Top Shelf with a new project, F.A.R.M. System, which arrives in stores Nov. 8. Like Three Fingers and The King, it’s a satire that mashes together the world of superheroes with baseball farm teams, as new heroes vie for spots in the Big Leagues.

Koslowski was kind enough to answer some questions about the project, his love of baseball and what else he has in the works.

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Rich Koslowski explores money, fame and super powers in ‘F.A.R.M. System’

The creator of ‘Three Fingers’ returns with a new graphic novel from Top Shelf this November.

It’s been more than a decade since Top Shelf released a triple threat of creative graphic novels from Rich Koslowski — Three Fingers, the faux “behind the scenes” mockumentary about the world of animation and a certain iconic mouse; The King, about an Elvis impersonator who just may have been more than that; and BB Wolf and the Three LP’s, with writer J.D. Arnold, which mixed the tale of the Three Little Pigs with a blues aesthetic.

Since then, he’s certainly kept himself busy with other work for various publishers, including Archie Comics, but this November he’ll return to Top Shelf for F.A.R.M. System, a new graphic novel that combines baseball’s minor league set-up with superheroes.

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Exclusive preview: Balazs Lorinczi’s ‘Doughnuts and Doom’

A struggling witch and a failing musician face curses and love in the new graphic novel, coming from Top Shelf in September.

Courtesy of Top Shelf Productions, we’re pleased to present an exclusive preview of Doughnuts and Doom, the upcoming graphic novel by Hungarian-Scottish cartoonist Balazs Lorinczi.

Described as a “quirky, magical, queer teen romance,” the graphic novel is a love story featuring a struggling witch and a failing musician. Here’s the description:

Margot is a stressed-out witch trying to get her potions business off the ground. Elena is a struggling rock musician whose band is going nowhere. Neither one of them is having a good day when they first meet at the local doughnut shop. Their exchange quickly escalates from words to literal sparks flying as Margot loses her cool. Turns out, accidentally cursing that infuriatingly cute girl at the doughnut shop isn’t a great way to start a relationship. As they work together to disperse this curse, will their initial animosity flare up in their faces or blossom into something sweeter? 

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Exclusive Preview | ‘The Bend of Luck’

Check out a preview of the new graphic novel by Peter and Maria Hoey, which Top Shelf will release on Aug. 2.

If you’re looking for an exclusive preview of Peter and Maria Hoey‘s next graphic novel, then you are in luck. Courtesy of Top Shelf Productions, we’re pleased to present a look at The Bend of Luck by the brother and sister duo, which arrives in stores Aug. 2.

The siblings have been writing and drawing comics for 20+ years now, having started their careers in Blab! Magazine in the late 1990s. They launched their self-published comic book series, Coin-Op, in 2008; Top Shelf released a collection of their work back in 2018. The Bend of Luck is their second full-length graphic novel, following Animal Stories, which came out earlier this year. Their illustration and advertising work has appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Time and many other publications.

You can find more information on The Bend of Luck, as well as some preview pages, below.

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Slugfest | The Massive-verse expands with ‘The Dead Lucky’

A round-up of comics publishing news from Image, Marvel, Top Shelf and more.

Slugfest is a roundup of cool announcements about projects coming to a shelf near you from comics creators, publishers and more. Hit the links for more information.

The Massive-verse — that’s the collection of titles headed up by Kyle Higgins that include Radiant Black, Inferno Girl Red and Rogue Sun, among others — will expand in August with a new title, The Dead Lucky.

Melissa Flores, French Carlomagno, Mattia Iacono and Becca Carey are the creative team for the new title.

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Mail Call | ‘TerrorWar’ debuts from Saladin Ahmed + Dave Acosta

Check out recent news and updates from Saladin Ahmed, Top Shelf, IDW, James Tynion IV, Kyle Higgins and more.

Mail Call is a roundup of cool things we’ve received in our mailboxes recently from comics creators, publishers and more. Hit the links for more information.

Saladin Ahmed posted the first pages of TerrorWar this week, the comic he first announced when he launched the paid version of his Substack newsletter. Drawn by Dave Acosta and Jay Leisten, the comic is about a city where people’s worst fears have come to life somehow, and the terrorfighters who face them with really big guns.

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New graphic novel will cover NY State Senator Julia Salazar’s first year in office

The 27-year-old democratic socialist was the youngest woman ever elected to New York’s state senate.

Following in the (large) footprints left by March and They Called Us Enemy, Top Shelf will publish Radical: My Year with a Socialist Senator by Sofia Warren next year.

The graphic novel will chronicle Warren’s time with Julia Salazar, the 27-year-old democratic socialist who became the youngest woman to ever be elected to New York’s state senate in 2018. Warren was embedded with Salazar’s staff during her first year in office.

“So much of this experience was a surprise to me,” said Warren, “that for their entire first legislative session, Julia and her staff let me be in the room; that ‘the room’ was just as often a food court, or a senior center, or a march in the middle of a blizzard; that they were as open with me about their frustrations as they were about their victories; and that I — an introverted, cynical millennial living through the Trump presidency — could leave the experience so motivated and inspired. I hope that readers leave this book feeling the same.”

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Mail Call | Tynion offers first ‘Blue Book’ for free

Check out news and updates from Marvel, Dark Horse, Top Shelf, Image Comics and more.

Mail Call is a roundup of cool things we’ve received in our mailboxes recently from comics publishers, creators and more. Hit the links for more information.

James Tynion IV was one of the first creators out of the gate with his plans for his premium Substack newsletter subscription, announcing a new comic called Blue Book with artist Michael Avon Oeming that he planned to share with paid subscribers.

But even if you aren’t a paid subscriber, you can still check out the first one, which he posted for free a couple days ago.

Blue Book is a passion project for myself and Michael Avon Oeming,” Tynion wrote. “We share a lifelong fascination with UFOs and a lifelong frustration with how those stories have been adapted into other media. There is a strangeness in the original accounts of UFO sightings that usually gets swept aside, but Michael and I want to lean into the strangeness. These are human stories of ordinary people who brush against the unknown and must grapple with what they see there. There is a deeper truth, whether you believe in the accounts or not, that lies in the many ways people tell these stories.”

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Top Shelf will publish Peter and Maria Hoey’s ‘Animal Stories’

Top Shelf will release the six-story collection in December.

Top Shelf Comix has announced a new graphic novel by Peter and Maria Hoey, creators of Coin-Op Comics.

Animal Stories will collect six stories by the siblings that explore “the mysterious relationships between humans and other animals.”

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Smash Pages Q&A: Kim Dwinell on ‘The Science of Surfing’

The creator of ‘The Surfside Girls’ graphic novels focuses on the science of the ocean in her new nonfiction graphic novel from Top Shelf.

Kim Dwinell made a splash with her comics debut, The Surfside Girls, and its sequel. The two fictional mystery books were about a pair of friends, Sam and Jade, who explored the natural world and the historical past of their fictional seaside town.

Dwinell’s new book is The Science of Surfing: A Surfside Girls Guide to the Ocean, which is a nonfiction book, but it feels very much like her other books. Some of this is simply because the book is narrated by the two main characters of the series, but it goes beyond the style of the book. Dwinell has from the beginning been interested in building a fictional world that is a character in its own right, but in finding ways to present a very tactile world to readers.

This new book is a nonfiction book that is just as masterfully told as her comics debut was. The book is out this month, and we spoke recently about how science is more than math, finding joy in nature and crafting a field guide to the Southern California coast for surfers.

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