Alphabetical Index of IDW / Top Shelf

Monster on the Hill

It’s 1867, and every English town has its monster. While the townsfolk pretend to be scared when it comes down from the hill, it’s really part of a shared excitement, everyone doing their jobs and playing their parts. Except for Stoker-on-Avon, whose monster is depressed and mopey. He doesn’t attack the town, and the leaders want something better to improve morale and avoid the “enormous sighs and groans” that are all they get out of the pathetic beast. They send […]

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My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Books 1 and 2

I never would have thought I’d be reading, let alone recommending, a My Little Pony comic. (Thanks, review copies.) I’ve never seen the show, but these stories are fun and entertaining. I occasionally wonder about how horses, with their hooves, manage to do everything we see, but as long as I can suspend my disbelief, I enjoy the character interactions and humor. Both volumes are written by Katie Cook, with book 1 art by Andy Price and book 2 art […]

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Polly and Her Pals 1933

Polly and Her Pals 1933 reprints that year’s worth of the daily comic strip often described as surreal. Without the Sundays, you won’t see cartoonist Cliff Sterrett’s most imaginative layouts, but the characters and situations are still funny, if not as artistically accomplished in the smaller space. It’s in the Library of American Comics Essentials format, which means the book is short and wide, the shape of a comic strip, with each day’s entry getting a full page. The series […]

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The Comic Book History of Comics

It’s been an astounding year for non-fiction comics, with such exceptional works as Economix, Science Tales, and Dirt Candy (also drawn by Dunlavey) released — and I haven’t even mentioned memoir! Probably the most fun of any such book — as well as the most self-referential in subject matter — is The Comic Book History of Comics by Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey. It’s an incredibly dense book, with packed panels and wide-ranging coverage. It begins with the credited […]

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Underwire

Jennifer Hayden‘s autobiographical slice-of-life comics fall into a well-known genre, but her position — as the middle-aged mother of two — provides a viewpoint we don’t often see expressed in comics from such a position of knowledge. Underwire began as a webcomic, and this Top Shelf collection includes 22 of those stories, plus 17 new pages. She tells tales about her family, influenced by sitcom structure. How can you not enjoy cartoons by someone who compares being middle-aged to “like […]

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Love and Capes: Wake Up Where You Are

The third Love and Capes collection reprints the five-issue Ever After miniseries and the 2010 Free Comic Book Day issue (aka #13), but that’s not the important thing. What’s important is that, in Wake Up Where You Are, Abby and Mark are now married. This book covers them starting their life together — after a world-spanning Hawaiian honeymoon. You see, Mark is the Crusader, a superhero, and Abby knows his secret — and enjoys some of the perks, like having […]

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Chester 5000 XYV

This is the kind of book that makes me ecstatic to read comics. Just the fact that it — a wordless porn comic about a Victorian woman and her robot lover — exists is a wonder. That Chester 5000 XYV turns out to be quite accomplished in its art is even more pleasant. (Note: this is an adults-only book with explicit illustrations.) Although story isn’t the point, the premise is simple enough: a scientist’s wife is indefatigable in bed. Since […]

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Polly and Her Pals

This extraordinary volume, first in a series, is impressive in both content and sheer size. It’s the same shape as the traditional newspaper comic page from its original era, making it humongous by current standards. At 12″ x 16″, you’ll need a table or other flat surface to enjoy it, and it’s a wonderful feeling to be totally taken in by the color pages filling your entire field of vision and beyond. Polly and Her Pals is a strip revered […]

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