Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

January 5, 2015

Top Shelf’s Brett Warnock Retiring From Comics To Pursue Other Business Opportunities


Brett Warnock, the longtime co-publisher at Top Shelf and a much-liked personality within the field, has announced via today's news that Top Shelf has been acquired by IDW that he will retire to pursue other interests. They've mentioned food and nature related blogging -- I'm not sure if this site is what they mean, but I'll happily drive attention to whatever it is when I get better information.

As I recall my Top Shelf history, Warnock used the Top Shelf name first in 1995 for the anthology, which he self-published from Portland after a personal financial windfall. He partnered up with an increasingly comics-focused Chris Staros after hashing out an arrangement at one of the late 1990s Small Press Expos. I believe the company traces its formal history to 1997. It seemed like a good partnership in terms of skill set, reach, shared ambition and personalities.

Warnock was believed to have worked mostly on the production and design end of things while Chris Staros was focused on editorial and marketing; like many small companies, I imagine these lines were blurred constantly. They were both a presence at shows, particularly in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Friendly and engaging and laid back, Warnock was always one of the most popular people in my peer group -- a not insiginficant element of Top Shelf's ability to recruit talent.

My impression is that he appeared at fewer shows as the company moved into the 2010s; the last show I can remember the both of us attending is the final Stumptown Comics Fest in Portland, where he hosted a pre-con reception for a wide swathe of comics professionals from town and out of town in his home.

I wish him the best of luck and most bountiful outcomes with all future endeavors.
posted 10:00 pm PST | Permalink

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