Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sparkplug Highlight: ZIRP #4 by Till D. Thomas

ZIRP #4 starts off where #3 ended: Elisabeth and Raoul relaxing together in a stunning penthouse, giggling and splashing in the pool. While all this is going down, Rizzo departs on a sea voyage to find Elisabeth and convince her to take him back. Will he overcome his fear of living in order to find his lady friend? 
More information is revealed about all the characters in this chapter - some of them grow on me, some of them repel me. I begin to favor Rizzo despite his personal weakness. And while I never trusted Raoul, it becomes obvious that he's a complete creep. We all have our faults, and I'm beginning to think that is what Zirp is all about - the human condition of failure and fluctuating self-worth. 
At the beginning of the book, it has a quote that spells it out for us readers: "A living dog is better off than a dead lion." (Ecclesiastes 9:4). While Raoul, the lion, is living in the lap of luxury, Rizzo, the dog, is struggling through humiliation and compromise, only to find the friend that abandoned him.
I can't foresee a cliche ending to this tale. Will Elisabeth choose either of them? I kind of hope not! But I'm excited to see where Till D. Thomas leads us in this Dramatic Love Affair type of tale. 

(28 interior pages, 6.75" x 8", B&W interior, color cover with French flaps, self-published) 

Zirp #4 can be purchased here!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

New Books In the Store! 2005, Long Legs, and I Cut My Hair!

Good morning all! Four new books were added to the store today! First: 2005: a Fragment of the Larger Work 4 by Sean Christensen! This book hits close to home when our protagonist gets bummed over some tunes that remind him of a past love. Sean's transitions in this comic are especially engaging.

Next up is Long Legs by Julianna Green! This book has some stunning visuals. It follows two friends as they search for a witch that is hurting the small critters around the village. Julianna Green's style is a real treat.

And finally, I Cut My Hair #1&#2, as well as #4 from Lisa Rosalie Eisenberg! Lisa has a real knack for autobio comics and you can see all the hard work she puts in. Whether it's just a thought for the day, or a thought towards life in general, you are sure to relate to Lisa as she moves through life.

Have a wonderful day and be sure to check out our rad new books!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

ATTN Retailers: deadline for Barrio Mothers, a FCBD anthology

Sparkplug, Teenage Dinosaur, Snakebomb and Floating World join forces again to bring you their 2014 Free Comic Book Anthology - BARRIO MOTHERS.

Eight Portland artists present new masterpieces guaranteed to take your face on a wild trip. These line wranglers have harvested the freshest comic jams for your hungry eyeballs. And best of all it's FREE!

Featuring all new comics by Josh Juresko, Sophie Franz, Karissa Sakumoto, Asher Craw, Wally Catton, and Andrew Scully.
Covers by Souther Salazar, Cameron Hawkey and Nick Norman.

32 pgs, b&w interior, fc cover
Mature Readers
FREE - (you just pay the shipping cost)

Ordering info:

Email: virginia@sparkplugcomicbooks.com
to place your order by April 25th to guarantee arrival by Saturday, May 3rd.


0-100 copies = $12.35, shipped in a flat rate priority box

Sparkplug Highlight: ZIRP #3 by Till D. Thomas

Featuring both beautifully stylized comic pages, as well as painted splash pages, ZIRP #3 is a delight to behold. The story opens with half-baked author Raoul as he lives his loser life, trying to read his own book. After becoming disgusted with it, he searches the internet for the book, and finds the ego boost he desires: babe librarian Elisabeth recommending his work on the library website. 
Meanwhile, Elisabeth is living with her dependent sick dog/partner and working. While Rizzo, the dog sits around and watches television all day, she seeks something better. The story follows these three characters as they are forced out of daily habits, whether it's a yearning for new love, a new lay, or the return to comfort. Everyone seeks what they need, but to what end? I'm excited to see where the story goes.
The transitions and style of this comic is what truly holds me as a reader. Simple shapes and environments fill the page but never seem sparse. Especially wonderful are the natural backgrounds - as depicted on the cover. The mountainous shapes and rippling water are expertly communicated with no extra fuss.
Look forward to a ZIRP 4 highlight soon!!

($7.00, 28 interior pages, 6.75" x 8", B&W interior, color cover, self-published)

Zirp #3 can be purchased here!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Sparkplug Highlight: Edison Steelhead's Lost Portfolio by Renee French

Renee French’s small but beautiful book Edison Steelhead’s Lost Portfolio: Exploratory Studies of Girls and Rabbits perhaps has many themes, but surely the most obvious is body horror. Each spread includes a soft, detailed charcoal rendering of a girl or a rabbit on the right, with a short, disjointed description on the left. Supposedly written by Edison Steelhead, these descriptions include the condition – whether it is medical, or something like “covered in flying insects” of the drawing, as well as where Edison drew it, what he consumed, as well as some small observations he made while drawing.
Are these girls and rabbits from the imagination of our unreliable narrator? Some of them seem to be drawn from life – or just from memory; because surely Edison Steelhead also suffers from some kind of illness. Many of his descriptions include the number of pills he took, headaches coming on, as well as avoiding the sun. His sad but kind affection towards a girl wearing a halo brace also develops over the course of the book; he is alone and obsessed with the grotesque. His self-pity occasionally seeps through the precise and mechanical wording.
Edison Steelhead, however, is not the star of this book. The girls and rabbits contained within are stunning. Whether wearing a freakish head covering, a neck brace, or having a fresh skin graft, all the subjects are brilliantly drawn. I find myself attracted to them, as Edison’s fetish begins to grow on me, and never to pity them. They appear used to their condition, natural, and strong. They are a category of being both the same as animal and human, but also wildly the Other. The divine shines brightly through the grotesque. (ed. - summary by Sera Stanton)

($9, 88 interior pgs, 4.5" x 5.5", color cover with one color interior, Sparkplug Books)

Edison Steelhead's Lost Portfolio is available here!

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Sparkplug Highlight: Other Worlds (a Gridlords anthology)

The second anthology from Portland comics-performance phenom Gridlords does not disappoint!  As implied by the title, the stories within mostly deal with other planets, alternate realities and strange universes. There is some great work in here, including stories from Theo Ellsworth,  Sean Christensen, Daria Tessler, Sophie Franz, Asher & Lillie Craw and Sparkplug-alumni Dunja Jankovic.  Check it out!

($10, 138 interior pages, 4.25" x 5.5", black and white, self-published)

Other Worlds is available here!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sparkplug Highlight: Whirlwind Wonderland by Rina Ayuyang

Diary and journal comics are addicting.  There is something magical about glimpsing into someone else's life and seeing what drives them, what worries them and what they daydream about.  This collection of stories by Rina Ayuyang is a perfect little dose of her life.  The stories cover growing up Filipino-American in Pittsburgh, the author's love of football, a trip to the Phillipines, conversations with her dad, commuting and much more.  Her eccentric, expansive and often nosy family is central in many of the stories.  The art is dense, colorful and cartoony. A wonderful little book, and a must-have for anyone who loves diary comics or just plain good comics.

"Ayuyang has a simple drawing style, but packs a lot into each page and panel. Her whimsical, cartoonish characters seeming to jostle for space with an abundance of thought and speech bubbles." - Michael Machosky, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

(128 interior pgs, 5.5" x 7.5", color cover with black and white with color interiors, Sparkplug Books and Tugboat Press)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sparkplug Highlight: The Shortest Interval by David King

The Shortest Interval is a bizarre, hilarious little jaunt through the Planck Epoch, filled with questionable "facts" and quirky personifications.  Visit the researchers working at Gash Mountain Lab on Beaver Island.  Let the squeal of Gravity's tires ring in your ears as he drives off, flipping you and your pals the bird.  Contemplate your (meaningless) place in an ever-emptying universe.  This book is hot and dense, just like its namesake.

(20 interior pgs, 5" x 5", two colors throughout, Sparkplug Books)

The Shortest Interval is available here!