“Brett Warnock really loves comics.” He is a co-publisher, with Chris Staros, and art director of literary graphic novel publisher Top Shelf. He grew up on Clarment/Byrne X-men, Wolfman/Perez Teen Titans, and Frank Miller's Daredevil. Brett went on to college in Eugene at the University of Oregon where he discovered the world of mail-order zines and mini-comics. He was influenced by anthologies like RAW, Blab!, No Zone, and Drawn and Quarterly. He went to become something of a student of the history of the medium, as well as the business of comics. He felt the rising mini-comics stars were largely being ignored by the previous generation of publishers. This was main impetus to launch the Top Shelf anthology. Topshelf went on to publish a series of hit books, such as Box Office Poison, Alan Moore’s From Hell, Essex County, Super Spy, Blankets, and Lost Girls. Top Shelf is known for the superior stories in well crafted books. Top shelf has produced over 250 books and is well known for its ability to discover and showcase the vanguard of the alternative comics’ scene.
And he can make a mean Margarita.
Doug Dorr: What projects are you working on currently?
I'm currently getting covers ready, and building specs (for printers bids) for our entire 2011 schedule.
DD: What is your Process when editing?
My role as "editor" is much more like a traffic manager. Chris Staros (my partner in Atlanta) does any story-editing that needs to be done. That said, we don't do too much fiddling with stories.
DD: What Comic/ Trade would you recommend?
From Hell. Blankets. Essex County. Alec: The Years Have Pants. Swallow Me Whole.
DD: What Comic/ Trade would you recommend to someone new to comics?
DD: With your experience in illustration and design, do you contribute to the look and feel of the books you publish/edit?
Yes, to the extent that i am the art director, all books need to meet my criteria for good design. If an author is willing and able to do all the design on the own, i'm more than happy to let them do so. (Less work for me!) But as often as not, i'll work with the author and an outside designer to find a common ground, and make the book really sing.
DD: What skill would you like to learn?
Ironically, while i started out in this business as the chief designer on staff, my own skills have atrophied pretty bad. I've never been good at Photoshop. So i'd really like to go back to school and bone up on Creative Suite (InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop), as well as video editing software. Oh, and i'd love to learn how to sail.
DD: What's the most important thing you've learned?
Be true to your instincts.
DD: What is your favorite genre of Comics?
I love almost all genres of comics. Most people know i'm an unabashed superhero fanboy.
DD: Do you have an Ipad? If so what do use it for the most.
DD: What is your favorite TV show/ movie?
Hmmm.. that's a tough one. Star Wars is my religion. (NO prequels, however.) I love certain directors. Kurosawa, Wes Anderson, Budd Boetticher, so many more. TV? Well, i don't have cable, so it's pretty much only tv on dvd. I like the failry recently trend of meta-storytelling in television. Sopranos started the form, and i love how it's essentially a novel length film. LOVED Deadwood, John From Cincinnati (unceremoniously canceled), Battlestar Galactica, X-Files, Twin Peaks, Northern Exposure, Arrested Development... the list goes on. I'm a pop-culture junkie. That said, my free time is so rare, that i don't catch as much as i otherwise would. I need time to take walks in the woods, after all.
DD: How does the Portland comics culture shapes your work?
Not at all. I'm stuck in my man-cave (basement of my house) all day, so i don't get out much.
DD: What was your first comic convention?
San Diego ComicCon 1991.
DD: What is your favorite part of comic conventions?
Seeing old friends, making new ones, and exploring cities.
DD: If you weren’t doing comics what would you do?
Probably still be tending bar.
DD: Do you have a favorite restaurant that you would recommend?
No. (I'd tell you, but i don't want to line to be any longer.)
DD: How long have you lived in Portland?
Born and raised. Spent the years 1985-1994 in Eugene, then came back.
DD: What is your favorite part of Portland?
DD: Where in Portland/ Oregon would you most like to visit?
Looking forward to getting back to Eastern Oregon. Enterprise, Wallowa, Joseph area.