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Highwater Books

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.[1]

Artists published

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

Year Title Cartoonists ISBN Notes
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

Solicited books not published


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.[2]