It’s a common enough story: Company A makes the best darn little widgets and builds up a reputation. Along comes Company B who buys out Company A and sucks the soul out of what it bought. That is a fate that Top Shelf Productions, a leading publisher of indepenent graphic novels and comics, has avoided. So, it’s wonderful news from Top Shelf that they have entered into a deal with genuine kindred spirits that they’re excited about that should actually enhance the company. The deal is with new media entrepreneur John S. Johnson and independent film producer Anthony Bregman’s company, Likely Story. They have bought a 33 % interest in Top Shelf Productions.
The deal seems as fair as one could hope for. Co-founders Chris Staros and Brett Warnock get to keep a controlling interest and Johnson and Bergman provide their substantial resources to take things to the next level. What makes things appear promising is the impressive line up of movies that Bergman has produced over his career which include Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Lovely & Amazing and Sense & Sensibility. Currently, his production company, Likely Story, have two films premiering at Sundance: Please Give, starring Catherine Keener and The Extra Man, starring Kevin Kline.
Johnson and Bergman will have a first-look option on all new Top Shelf publications for possible film and TV development. Could this inhibit seeking out more experimental comics that may not transfer all that well to other media? And what are the particulars of the first-look option?
The first Top Shelf book to benefit from this new arrangement is Too Cool To Be Forgotten by Alex Robinson which is considered to be his best work yet. About a dad who must come to terms with his bad habits, namely smoking, the story transports him back in time as a teenager with a unique chance to get things right. As for Top Shelf, it looks like they have the most unique chance of all to continue to get things right.
You can read the full press release over at the Top Shelf Productions Web site.