Top Shelf Comics does not serialize any comic books, instead, they publish what have become known commonly as graphic novels. Graphic novels are, in principle, longer comic books capable of telling a more complex and longer story that can still be consumed in a single sitting for the most part. But one thing that Top Shelf has regularly come out with is small collections of short stories bound together in a single graphic novel. Like all short story collections, Top Shelf’s “Top Shelf on Parade” is hit and miss in its stories, but mostly are hits.
It’s interesting to read these stories and see some of the more obvious influences being so far away from the super-hero fantasy of mainstream comic book publishers like Marvel and DC Comics. Where a Spider-Man comic can be seen to be influenced by creators like Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the original creators, even to this day, Top Shelf on parade seems to hold creators like R. Crumb and Daniel Clowes in high esteem, both in writing and drawing style. But almost all of the short stories present are literary works, trying to maintain a level of intelligence and sophistication to the experience. But as a collection, it is difficult to judge how great each of these stories are. But they are all creative and all different from the usual comic books found on the shelves, encouraging the growing underground and indie comic book scene. And for less than ten dollars for almost one hundred pages of graphic novel is a great deal. Definitely worth the tiny investment.