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Thursday, April 04, 2002

Now THAT was fast... this just came in from Chris Staros. (And incidentally, we chatted last night on the phone, and some months from now I'm going to write an introduction for something really really cool by Alan Moore that Chris's going to be publishing in the US. More details as I'm permitted to reveal them.)

(I don't think this is the most visited daily journal on the web, by the way. But, as I told Chris, there are about 36,000 of you a month regularly reading it. Which would scare the hell out of me if I stopped to think about it for too long.)

And the special goodie thing for people who mention they read about it here still applies....

TOP SHELF SAVED BY COMICS COMMUNITY IN RECORD 12 HOURS

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 (http://www.warrenellis.com
& http://forums.delphiforums.com/ellis & http://www.artbomb.net).

-- 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 (http://www.crossgen.com).

-- Rick Veitch and Matt Brady of comiccon.com's Splash and Newsarama
pages. Their amazing coverage, on-line discussions, and links for this
event spurred on an uncountable array of support from the industry
(http://www.comiccon.com).

-- 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
fan or two (including us), we've been getting a nice bit of support from
there as well (http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/journal.asp).

-- And no less amazing than that of the above, the collective efforts of
the crews at http://www.artbomb.net, http://www.sequentialtart.com,
http://www.comicbookresources.com, http://www.comicbookgalaxy.com,
http://www.icv2.com, http://www.grayhavenmagazine.com,
http://www.popimage.com, http://www.shotgunreviews.com, 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
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