Top Shelf saved by Comics Community

Thu, April 4th, 2002 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Jonah Weiland, Founder/Former Owner

Top Shelf's Chris Staros released the following today. We congratualte Top Shelf on their success and congratulate the entirety of on-line fandom for their support.

Dear Comics Fans,

What a difference a day makes. On Tuesday morning at 8:00AM, April 3rd,

Top Shelf was effectively put out of business, and on Tuesday evening by

8:00PM, April 3rd, Top Shelf was remarkably back in business. There are

not words suitable to express how honored and thankful we are that

within 12 hours this amazing comics community took it upon itself to

bring us back to life. And in this case, it might also be said that the

power of the internet was fully realized.

On Tuesday, after we made the announcement of our book trade distributor

filing for Chapter 11 (and the subsequent fatal impact that this had on

our own operation), we received over 200 phone orders and 850 on-line

and email orders to boot. This staggering 1000 orders has not only made

us operational again (and put several thousand copies of our graphic

novels into circulation), but has also reaffirmed to us that the comics

industry is back, revitalized, and ready to take on the world. We're

even estimating that over 100,000 people received the news or were

personally involved in the discussion of this on-line event on that day.

With this overwhelming support, combined with the (now contradictory)

fact that Top Shelf has always prided itself that every order would ship

out the very next day, we ask for your patience in letting us get all of

these graphic novels, comics, and CDs to you. We hope to have everything

shipped out within the next few weeks. In the meantime, if all this

activity has made you curious about our books, we would encourage you to

ask for them at your local retailer, so that everyone along the chain,

retailers and distributors alike, can also benefit from this spur of

interest. And while this interest in diversity is at the forefront of

everyone's mind, we encourage you to continue in the exploration and

discussion of comics from all the publishers doing quality work these

days: DC Comics, Marvel, Dark Horse, Image, CrossGen, Viz,

Fantagraphics, Slave Labor, Oni Press, NBM, Drawn & Quarterly, Cartoon

Books, Alternative Comics, Highwater Books, the publishers we represent

(like Eddie Campbell Comics, etc.), and all the rest (that we apologize

for not having the space to mention by name today).

If we've learned anything over these last seven years - and witnessed it

absolutely this week - we're all in this together. And the growth and

development of this amazing medium is in the most capable hands

possible: the fans of this industry.

We'd also like to take a moment to give a special thank you to a few

extraordinary people and organizations:

-- Warren Ellis and the Warren Ellis Forum. We've always known that the

Warren Ellis Forum was a formidable entity, dedicated to the discussion

and support of quality comics all over the industry, but their

mobilization in this instance was unprecedented. We can't absolutely

determine what percentage of all the orders were from this distinguished

group, but our estimation is that it was significant. We cannot thank

Warren or the supporters of his forum enough (

& &

-- CrossGen Comics. Mark Alessi and the CrossGen staff collectively

bought $5,000.00 worth of graphic novels and will donate them to the

public library system. This completely novel and generous gesture not

only helped to keep us going (in a big way), but also promises to expose

hundreds of people and libraries to what comics can bring to the world

of art and literature. This stunned us, and is a testament to CrossGen's

contribution to our industry (

-- Rick Veitch and Matt Brady of's Spash and Newsarama

pages. Their amazing coverage, on-line discussions, and links for this

event spurred on an uncountable array of support from the industry


-- Neil Gaiman. Neil took it upon himself to discuss our situation

within his daily on-line journal, which just happens to be the most

visited daily journal on the web. And since he's been known to have a

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fan or two (including us), we've been getting a nice bit of support from

there as well (

-- And no less amazing than that of the above, the collective efforts of

the crews at,,,,,,,, etc., whom all

rallied their subscribers, who in turn proudly stated that they had come

from one of these very active sites.

-- And lastly, but never least, the comics retailing and distributing

community. They are the front line of our industry, and behind the

scenes they have always been the ones that have kept the independent

publisher alive. The show of support from this community has not only

been amazing on this particular day, but has ALWAYS been there from the

first moment we entered the business. They have been the group that has

supported us the most.

Again, we want to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts -- we

could not have done it without you. Top Shelp will continue to try and

put out the best books possible, and we look forward to not only

thanking each an every one of you personally at the Cons this summer,

but also being able to now make some rather cool announcements in the

coming weeks that should be fun and beneficial for the entire industry

as well.

On behalf of Brett Warnock and myself…

Truly, your friend thru comics,

Chris Staros

Top Shelf Productions

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