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Highwater Books was a small but influential independent comic book publisher based in Somerville, Massachusetts, noted for its arty editorial direction and production values under publisher Tom Devlin. Highwater began in 1997 and folded in November 2004 due to financial pressure.
- Marc Bell
- Mat Brinkman
- Greg Cook
- Megan Kelso
- James Kochalka
- Matt Madden
- John Porcellino
- Brian Ralph
- Ron Rege, Jr.
The press was also known for its ironically themed "Marvel Comics Benefit" anthology Coober Skeber, a prolific output of silkscreened posters and promotional materials, a loose association with Fort Thunder (where a number of Highwater artists resided) and Jordan Crane (publisher of NON), distribution of Jef Czekaj's Hypertruck (née R2D2 Is an Indie Rocker), and a few non-comic works of fiction, including a trio of books by Camden Joy.
List of publications
|1997||Coober Skeber #2||anthology||Marvel Benefit Issue|
|1998||Queen of the Black Black||Megan Kelso||0966536304/9780966536300||160 pages, 7 x 9-1/4, b/w, one 16-page color story|
|1998||Tiny Bubbles||James Kochalka||0966536312/9780966536317||192 pages, 8 x 8, b/w|
|1999||Cave-In||Brian Ralph||0966536339/9780966536331||144 pages, 5 x 6, changing ink color throughout|
|1999||Kissers||James Kochalka||0966536347/9780966536348||196 pages, 8 x 8, b/w, comes with CD of related love songs|
|1999||Perfect Example||John Porcellino||0966536355/9780966536355||144 pages, 6-1/4 x 9, purple and red on cream|
|2000||Odds Off||Matt Madden||0966536398/9780966536393||144 pages, 7-1/2 x 10, b/w|
|2000||Skibber Bee-Bye||Ron Regé Jr.||096653638X/9780966536386||256 pages, 6-1/4 x 6, b/w with 32-page three-color insert|
|2000||The Last Lonely Saturday||Jordan Crane||0967798906/9780967798905||80 pages, 4-1/8 x 6-3/8, two color|
|2000||This Day's Wait +||Dan Buck||0970085826/9780970085825||100 pages, 4x5-7/8, b/w|
|2001||Catch as Catch Can||Greg D. Cook||0966536363/9780966536362||120 pages, 6 x 9|
|2001||Camden Joy Box Set||Camden Joy||0970085869/9780970085863||Boxset of three prose books by Camden Joy (Pan; Hubcap Diamondstar Halo; and Palm Tree 13)|
|2001||Pan *||Camden Joy||0970085877/9780970085870||144 pages, 5-3/8 x 8, b/w|
|2001||Hubcap Diamondstar Halo *||Camden Joy||0970085893/9780970085894||72 pages, 5-3/8 x 8, b/w|
|2002||Fantastic Butterflies ++||James Kochalka||1891867180/9781891867187||168 pages, 8 x 8.2|
|2003||Teratoid Heights||Mat Brinkman||0966536320/9780966536324||176 pages, 5 x 6, b/w|
|2003||Shrimpy and Paul and Friends||Marc Bell||0966536371/9780966536379||176 pages, 5x7-1/2, b/w and color|
|2003||Climbing Out||Brian Ralph||0970085850/9780970085856||88 pages, 9 x 6.3|
|2003||Palm Tree 13 *||Camden Joy||0970085885/9780970085887||144 pages, 5-3/8 x 8, b/w|
|2003||Yeast Hoist: Does Music Make You Cry?||Ron Regé, Jr.||1932510001/9781932510003||64 pages, 6x8|
* Camden Joy's entries were prose
+ Dan Buck's entry was poetry
++ Co-published with Alternative Comics
Books distributed by Highwater Books
- Boys, Ron Regé, Jr.(a), Joan Reidy(w), 28 pages, 6" x 9", blue on pink
- Hypertruck VI, Jef Czekaj, 24 pages, 6-5/8" x 10-1/4", b/w
- Double Happiness, Jason Shiga, 72 pages, 6-5/8" x 9", b/w
- Stereoscomic, various, 256 pages, 6" x 9", b/w
- Col-Dee, Jordan Crane
- Epoxy, John Pham
- Fancy Froglin's Sexy Forest, James Kochalka
- Orchid, various
- Pamplemoussi, Genevieve Castree, w/ 12" vinyl record
- Peanut Butter and Jeremy's Best Book Ever!, James Kochalka
- The Imp #4, Dan Raeburn
- Where Hats Go, Kurt Wolfgang, 144 pages, 4" x 5.75", yeller and brown on cream
- Lost Valley: A trashy tale of excess, Megan Kelso(a), Daniel Snyder(w), 32 pages, b/w
Solicited books not published
- Maggots, Brian Chippendale, ISBN 0-9700858-3-4, 320 pages, 5" x 6", two color
- I Pity You, Philippe Dupuy and Charles Berberian, ISBN 9780970085818, 128 pages, 6" x 9", b/w
- Coober Skeber #3, various, ISBN 0-9700858-0-X, 128 pages, 10" x 12", two color
- Crum Bums, Brian Ralph, ISBN 0-9665363-7-1, 160 pages, 5" x 6", b/w
- SMB3, Ben Jones
Tom Spurgeon of The Comics Reporter:
Highwater Books wasn't just under-capitalized and took on a full slate of books; it was barely capitalized at all and promised books that would have been difficult for anyone to deliver. They published like a sole proprietorship in a small town that would only open its doors for business whenever and wherever its narcoleptic shopowner could stay awake long enough to flip the sign. When people put their heads together to figure out how best to work with Diamond distribution in the wake of the distributor fiascoes of the mid to late 1990s, Highwater made the interesting and unsurprising choice to walk away from Diamond altogether. Tom Devlin was always his own man. I loved Highwater as a backer of art as much as it is possible and healthy to feel affection for somebody else's business. . . . Devlin came at comics with values removed from the literary standards most noteworthy comics publishers had previously brought to bear. He didn't see the comics he wanted to publish as a corrective to or a rejection of years of largely terrible North American comic books. He saw comics . . .as a very specific kind of art book, a way of expressing ideas that didn't need to be complete statements and that could have as much value from the idiosyncrasy of vision, the first impression, as they could for the impact of a story or their cumulative narrative effect.
- Spurgeon, Tom. "Devlin Announces Demise of Highwater," The Comics Reporter (Nov. 17, 2004). Retrieved July 30, 2008.
- Spurgeon, Tom. "Highwater Books — An Appreciation," The Comics Reporter (Nov. 21, 2004). Retrieved July 30, 2008.
- Arnold, Andrew D. "The Complex Simplicity of John Porcellino," Time.com (Jul. 13, 2001).
- Dean, Michael. "Shrinking Alternatives: Is It Just Jeff Mason's Company or Is the Alternative Comic Book Format in Trouble?" The Comics Journal #263 (Oct. 14th, 2004)
- Koepke, Melora. "Bell's Ringing," Hour (Jan. 22nd, 2004).
- O'Neil, Tim. "Teratoid Heights: The comics of Mat Brinkman defy easy explanation.," PopCultureShock.
- Spurgeon, Tom. "Highwater Books — An Appreciation," The Comics Reporter (Nov. 21, 2004).