SDCC ’17: Top Shelf Panel Announces Final Volume Of League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Volume 4 ‘The Tempest’

by Hannah Means Shannon


Hosted by Leigh Walton, the IDW Publishing & Top Shelf Focus On Graphic Novels and Specialty Books, consisted of panelists Campbell Whyte, Jim McCann, Janet Lee, Dave Calver, and more.
IDW book distribution switched to Penguin Randomhouse in April, and it’s opened up a lot of new channels for the company. It means it’s easier to find Top Shelf and IDW books and gives the publisher more data about how their books are selling, Walton said.
Campbell Whyte talked about Home Time, giving the audience an idea of a “well worn structure” of fantasy, but placed over an “Australian context”, looking at cultural loss in the Perth area. Whyte composed both the writing and the illustration, following a different style each chapter. Some of the styles are aesthetic references to famous fantasy works, including The Wizard of Oz, Sailor Moon, and more.
The “germ” of the idea happened around the time when the last Harry Potter book came out for Whyte. Living in San Francisco, living in an art collective, everyone was waiting for the books they’d ordered. And everyone was enamored of it when it arrived. Thinking about why that series appealed to him and others, he wanted to address fantasy for his “people, history, and culture”, including things that don’t make it into school teaching in Australia. The first copies of Home Time anywhere in the world will be available at SDCC, Walton said.
Talking about upcoming book, Sh*t My President Said, by Shannon Wheeler, Walton reminded the audience that Trump spent many years as a B-list celebrity making his name by fighting with other B-list celebrities, and his tweeting is related to this. Wheeler scrolled through 30,000 tweets, gathering a selection that give an idea of the mentality of the man. The book arrives in shops in a couple weeks, but also here at the show, where Wheeler can sign it for you.
Jim McCann and Janet Lee spoke about Return of the Dapper Men and Lee explained her process of making comics by decoupage. The books that follow in the series will also be in this style. McCann has known Lee for almost 25 years, and he knew her as a gallery artist in Nashville and having seen some of her very different pieces one year around Christmas, he was enamored of some “dapper men” he saw, some steam punk elements, and more. He went home and wrote a narrative connecting the images. Later he asked if she might be willing to work on a graphic novel, which she had never done before.
In the story, one of stopped time, main characters meet up with an invading Dapper Man who can speak, unlike his fellows, and begin to learn about time. It’s also a story of “choice and destiny”, McCann said. It was an Eisner Award-winning book when it was first released, and was out of print for a time, but Top Shelf have picked it up and also will allow McCann and Lee to finish the story in a trilogy. Time of the Dapper Men will be out “in the near future” since it’s “under construction now”. Return of the Dapper Men will also be re-published in a deluxe edition.
Janet Lee is providing two exclusive show prints at her booth at the show, as well, limited to 40 each. Lee and McCann will be signing at the Top Shelf booth and also at Lee’s table in Artists Alley.
Another book available now from IDW is Red Range from Joe R. Lansdale and Sam Glanzman. It’s a supernatural take on the Wild West, and racial vengeance. It’s a violent tale, and one certainly about “comeuppance”. Sadly, Sam Glanzman has passed away, but his work lives on.
Coming up soon from IDW and Top Shelf we have the following:
Cinegeek, which is a very different book from previously published by the company, is a breakdown of movies and pop culture with plenty of humor. Vampire evolution, interesting facts of the Lord of The Rings, all the people James Bond has killed, all find their home in the book that’s being brought to the USA from an originally French book.
Spooky is a goth fairytale with “luscious art” introduces you to her world and fairy tale friends and neighbors. It arrives in August 2017. Written in a “young voice”, it nevertheless reaches for all audiences.
William Gibson’s Archangel, his first ever graphic novel, will arrive in September. The story of an alternate reality, exactly like our history, except it’s 1945 WWII is still raging. Forces from 2016 want to use a “splitter” to enter 1945 and shape the future to their own ends. Gibson’s next two novels are also set in this universe.
Calamity Jane is over 300 pages and tells the story of “America’s first wonder woman”. It’s an easy, fun read, that delivers a lot of history and back story on this historical figure.
Sax Rohmer’s Dope has been adapted and illustrated by Trina Robbins, and as a book she created originally in the 80’s, the story is coming to a new edition.
Behind You is a story that was discovered by Joe Hill and brought to IDW from an online version. Illustrations are “one panel horror movies”. IDW needed a way to turn them into static images, and the creator found a way to freeze the action scene of the gifs with captions on opposite pages. Each of them is about those moments alone when you wonder if you are actually alone.
Izar Lunacek and Nejc Juren created Animal Noir that will be coming out this autumn. Lunacek said African animals are the focus, setting up their society based on their ecosystem. In this case lions are politicians, and have the problem of no longer being able to hunt. All of society is precarious from moving away from a hunting culture.
Top Shelf’s book Roots tells the story of a young woman visiting Ireland to explore her family roots, but is also a memoir that the creator, Tara O’Connor planned to develop during her own journey.
Bottled, by Chris Gooch, is a disturbing story about a young woman leveraging an old high school friend’s success to move her own stagnant life forward. It feels “cinematic” according to Walton and is a “freakier version of Adrian Tomine”.
Crumb will be a collection of Robert Crumb’s work newly being brought to the USA. There was a curated installation of his work at the Museum of Paris, and they created a book running from his earliest to most current work as a retrospective. That book is now being brought to the USA. It will be arriving in October 2017.
Two books in a new series called “Little Books of Knowledge” created in France, are Tattoos and Heavy Metal. These graphic novel approaches to “rich history” are written and drawn by fans of the subject.
The Limbo Lounge by Dave Calver takes place in Hell, where people are transformed into forms that will humiliate them. They dig their way into the Limbo Lounge to entertain themselves. It’s a mix of those who have died and are in Limbo and “oddballs from Hell”, the story also features a nun who has been using her powers of prayer to cause people to die who she felt deserved it.
The main villainess is a beauty contest contestant, and is quite nasty. She had her main competition killed and is in Hell, too, as the main source of evil. He created this book with Craig Yoe and has been working on it for 5 or 6 years. The book will be released on Halloween, 2017.
Pearl Jam: Do The Evolution, is a large volume that is based on the song and music video by the band. The video was originally animated, was nominated for awards, and Todd McFarlane workd on it. IDW have teamed up to the make a book about the making of that music video including animation cells. They hope to release the book in October 2017.
SuperToykoland is coming up from Top Shelf is about a man who flies to meet a cute girl in Japan but ends up falling in love with the country and learning from Japanese cartoonists. It’s also told in a hybrid art style.
I Am Number One by Rian Hughes collects the cartoonist and designers work and is coming out in November 2017.
One surprise announcement is that Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill will be teaming up for League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol 4 called The Tempest, a six issue series in full color, and drawn from pop culture throughout time and space. This will be their “retirement project”, their last in comics, according to Top Shelf.
Today, the New York Times will be revealing more info.

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