Top Shelf has announced a multi-project deal with comic scribe Alan Moore, which will include both new and previously published material. The first release in the deal will be a Cobweb story to be published in Top Shelf: Asks the Big Questions in April 2003. This story is the one DC declined to publish in the ABC/Wildstorm anthology Tomorrow Stories in 2000. Although DC declined to comment on the reasons for its decision at the time (and continued to do so when we asked this week), the story reportedly concerns the Church of Scientology, which has a history of extreme litigiousness when it comes to negative press reports. The Church sued DC sister company Time Inc. for libel for an article that Time published in 1992, asking for $415 million in damages. Although the case was eventually thrown out, Time spent millions in its defense. Also due in April 2003 is a litho portrait of Moore by artist Jose Villarrubia.
Two projects by Moore and Villarrubia are due next summer. The Mirror of Love is a history of same-sex love in epic poem form that Top Shelf will publish in a hardcover edition with illustrations by Villarrubia. Each of the forty stanzas will appear on a left-hand page facing a full-page illustration. The 120-page book will be rounded out with an essay, index of characters and places, a selection of classic poems quoted in the text, and a bibliography. The Mirror of Love was originally published in England in 1988 by Moore's Mad Love Publishing. At that time the poem was published as an 8-page story illustrated by Steve Bissette and Rick Veitch. None of the Villarrubia art has been previously published.
Also due next summer is Voice of the Fire, a hardcover collection of 13 Moore-Villarrubia stories about different characters that lived in the same region of England over the course of 5000 years. These stories were originally published in a UK edition by Victor Gollancz. The new Top Shelf edition will feature new Villarrubia cover art and an intro by Neil Gaiman.
And last but not least (and scheduled only 'to follow' the other books), Top Shelf plans a 240-page Lost Girls graphic novel in limited and regular hardcover editions. This story by Moore and artist Melinda Gebbie has been in the works for over a decade. The first 56 pages of this work first appeared in Taboo #5 in 1991 and in Lost Girls #1 and #2 from Kitchen Sink in 1995-96. The Top Shelf edition will include not only 184 new pages of story, but extra design and background pages as well. The story of Lost Girls revisits characters from Victorian fiction (like Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen). It features the three female protagonists from Wonderland, Oz, and Neverland, who meet as grown women in a mysterious hotel in 1913 England, and 'embark on a journey through an erotic fantasy world of their own conjuring.'