Above: Photo by Jenni Girtman. Used with kind permission of Chris Staros.
Chris Staros, Editor in Chief at Top Shelf Productions (now part of the IDW empire) is now offering an after-hours/weekend consulting service to provide personalised career advice for comics creators and other budding industry professionals.
Chris will provide video consultations for your portfolio or project, along with his valuable insight into comics storytelling, presentation, marketing, publishing contracts, financial and business aspects, and more.
If you are looking for crucial advice on how to progress your career in comics, then you’ll find his advice invaluable. As someone who has benefited enormously from Chris’ advice over the past 25 years, I can honestly say there is no one better placed to provide mentoring for your comics career.
Over the years at Top Shelf, Chris has discovered and nurtured dozens of raw talents including the likes of Craig Thompson, Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, Robert Venditti, Jeffrey Brown and Andy Runton.
You can read the finer details of his service on Chris’ website here.
Chris and I go back a long way. At the start of 1996, during the early days of self-publishing Strangehaven, I sent a couple of review copies to Chris’ excellent Staros Report magazine. Almost immediately on receipt he called me and a twenty-five year business relationship and friendship began.
He was already acting as a US-based agent/warehouse/distributor for fellow Brit Eddie Campbell (at this time residing in Australia) and he offered the same service to me for Strangehaven. I knew Eddie well enough to know that if Eddie trusted Chris, then I certainly could.
This was before email or affordable international calling plans and I still have a three-inch box file packed full of our fax correspondence from those days. We first met when I showed up, unannounced, at the San Diego Comic Con in 1996. I had made a late decision to fly and Chris was already en route to California, so there was no way of contacting him. He was set up on a small table in the corner of the small press area, with a handful of titles from Eddie, me and his own Staros Report spread out in front of him. But meeting him was like discovering a lost brother.
Pretty soon Rob Walton of Ragmop fame had joined the troupe, and Chris created the umbrella of The Star House under which we all found shelter. And then at the end of 1997, Chris along with Brett Warnock (who was publishing small press comics as Primal Groove Press), founded a new publishing company, Top Shelf Productions. And the rest is history, you might say. Top Shelf grew to become a major player in independent comics, and has published creators including Alan Moore, Melinda Gebbie, Eddie Campbell, Ed Brubaker, Peter Kuper, James Kochalka, Alex Robinson, Liz Prince, Rep. John Lewis and George Takei among a great many others.
During all this time, Chris has frequently given me advice and support from across the Atlantic, not to mention chaperoning me on my trips to the San Diego Comic Con, and an SPX East Coast tour (along with Paul Grist). And then there were our road trips across the UK during Chris’ numerous annual visits to the UK for the Bristol Comic Festival, and subsequently, Thought Bubble.
In 2015 IDW acquired Top Shelf, but Top Shelf has remained a distinct imprint within IDW and continues to publish ground-breaking new graphic novels. While Brett moved on to a new business venture outside of comics, Chris has remained Editor-in-chief at Top Shelf.