Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Elijah on video

Maybe Dylan can give me some pointers on posting youtube stuff on this blog. Every time I try I fail. I was interviewed after a reading I did at the Portland public Library.
(okay, the video is up. Thanks Dylan)

Sparkplug at SPX this weekend!

This weekend we will be premiering Reich #5 by Elijah Brubaker at the upcoming Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland. Also, copies are now available to buy online, but may not go out till after SPX. You can order them at the sparkplug website.

The night before SPX, we'll be co-sponsoring the SPX-plosion event at Atomic Books, a free event on Friday, October 3, 7PM - 10PM. Atomic's address is: 3620 Falls Rd in Baltimore, Maryland. Man-about-town Austin English will be reading at the event.

We will have tables at the Small Press Expo, as usual. It is this weekend, Saturday & Sunday October 4th & 5th. We'll probably have too many comics for the tables. Lots of new minis and books and new T-shirts as well. Sparkplug artists and friends will be on a number of panels. I'll be on a panel on small-press publishing on Sunday at 12:30pm with Randy Chang (Bodega Distribution), Alvin Buenaventura (Buenaventura Press) and Leon Avelino (Secret Acres), moderated by Rob Clough.

At the Sparkplug booth:
Dylan Williams: 11am-2pm 5pm-7pm
Shannon O'Leary: 2pm-6pm
Austin English: 1pm-3pm, 5pm-7pm
Jonas Madden-Connor 12pm-2pm 5pm-7pm
Trevor Alixopulos: 1pm-3pm
Chris Wright 3pm-4pm

Sunday Open 12-6pm

Dylan Williams 2pm-6pm (panel from 12:30-1:30)
Austin 1pm-4pm (panel from 4:30-5:30)
Shannon O'Leary 12pm-3pm
Jonas Madden-Connor 12pm-3pm
Trevor Alixopulos: 1pm-3pm
Chris Wright 3pm-4pm

The Ignatz awards recognizing outstanding achievement in comics and cartooning will be presented during SPX.
Sparkplug is up for six Ignatzs in total:
Inkweed – Chris Wright – Best Anthology or Collection
Windy Corner – Austin English - Best Anthology or Collection

Hot Breath of War – Trevor Alixopulos – Outstanding Graphic Novel
The Urn – Chris Wright, Inkweed – Outstanding Story
Austin English – Windy Corner #2 – Promising New Talent

Reich – Elijah Brubaker – Outstanding Series

Thursday, September 25, 2008

shutting down comics

So, I just heard that Minx isn't going to be publishing and as of last month neither is Virgin comics. There seems to be a lot of this going around in mid-level new-mainstream books. It is really interesting to me. Since these days arty and personal comics seems to be selling better than ever. I'm trying not to be smarmy since I know people who depend on these sort of things but it is important to note that doing things just because "that is what is selling" or "that is what people want" doesn't guarantee any kind of business success. So, why not just do comics that we like doing. It is funny because the Minx story on Comics Reporter ends with this thing about how it was an imprint run by real people and that speculation about what could have been done doesn't do anyone any good. As if learning from mistakes weren't important and what Minx represented to the rest of us wasn't important. Well, there you go.

Anyway have any take on this? I haven't read around on it yet.

Jesse Reklaw tour diary begins!

Jesse Reklaw's new project is a tour diary has started. Jesse's auto bio skills are on full display. Great reading and great drawing. Take a look and bookmark!

Hellen Jo and Jin & Jam #1 in San Francisco

This weekend Hellen Jo will be the featured artist at the
Apature Comics and Zine Expo in San Francisco.
KSW's space180 Gallery, 12noon - 5pm
180 Capp Street @ 17th Street, 3rd floor

She will have a preview copy of her new Sparkplug book Jin & Jam #1 with her, so go by and take a look.

Hellen's website: http://helllllen.org/

Dunja Jankovic!

Dunja just got nominated for an Ignatz for outstanding comic! Sparkplug is a big fan of her stuff. We'll be carrying her books at SPX. AND she has work going up next week at a local Portland comic store Floating World as part of On the Margins: New Comix From Croatia and Serbia.
Well worth coming to Portland for.

Dunja's website is:

Monday, September 22, 2008

Alixopulos on Comics Reporter

Trevor got interviewed for Sunday's Comics Reporter.
A really great and thoughtful interview.

Friday, September 19, 2008

SF Zine Fest X Treasure Island Music Festival Sept. 20-21

From our friends at the SF Zine fest...going on this weekend.

The SFZF has been invited to host a special zine space at the Treasure
Island Music Festival
, Sept. 20 +21. We are going to be setting up a
fun, vintage-style library room stocked with some of our favorite
mini-comics and zines for all you festival-goers to take a look at.
Nothing will be for sale, just 100+ fantastic small press creations to
"check out" and our staff of stylish zine librarians to help you find
something fun to read while you take a break from rocking out! Drop by
if you are there (tickets are still available... it's a great
line-up!) and say hi!

- SF Zine Fest Crew

random blathering: comics and movies

I've been thinking about this a lot lately... Probably since this year's San Diego Comic Convention. Maybe longer.

First let me say that I enjoy most comic book movies a lot. I loved Ghost World. I've seen Superman II at least 30 times in my life. I saw The Dark Knight on opening weekend. I hate to say that I liked American Splendor a little bit better than I like Pekar's comics. And when The Hulk ripped a car in half and then used the two car-halves as boxing gloves to pummel The Abomination earlier this summer, I was in the front row with my jaw on the floor. I see all of comics movies, and I like a lot of them.

But Hollywood's new interest in "graphic novels" is bothering me...

At the San Diego Comic Convention this year, I was approached by no less than 5 production assistants scouting out "graphic novels" that would make "good movies or t.v. shows." I saw some of them at the Sparkplug booth, too. I never offered my book to them, but when one of them asked "What book did you do?" I pointed to The Blot and my other books. He picked up The Blot and flipped through it a little while asking "What's the story? Would you be interested in selling it as a movie?" to which I replied "No... It wouldn't work as a movie. It has to be a comic." He seemed a bit confused and shocked that I wasn't interested in selling my book to a movie studio. Then he put the book down and moved on.

The other day I was having lunch at my favorite vegan cafe in Silverlake. My fiancée and I were sitting outside eating next to a table with two typical hipster dudes. I overheard one of them saying "I've got this screenplay that I can't sell. What I need to do is make it into a graphic novel and then sell that as a movie. Do you know anybody who can draw comics?" I bit my tongue and rolled my eyes to my fiancée and she could tell I was squirming not to yell at these douchebags.

I have a friend who is a screenwriter. He recently asked me for advice about how to write "graphic novels." He's trying to get work writing graphic novelizations of classic Disney movies like The Black Hole and Tron. Apparently Disney has started a new line of "graphic novels" that will feature new stories with your favorite classic characters as well as new stories that might be made into movies someday. Guess what comics genius they hired to head this operation? Dweezil Zappa!?! The guitarist and son of Frank? What the... !?!?

The other day I was reading the latest issue of Mark Millar and John Romita Jr's Kick Ass. I've really enjoyed this series. It's fun. But I was really disapointed when I read the back page letter from Millar in which he mentions that the Kick Ass Movie is in production. And I ask myself "Why should this be made into a movie?" After that, so many elements of the story started to seem tailored for a movie. Yuck!

I think I read somewhere that Dash Shaw's brilliant Bottomless Bellybutton is being optioned as a movie (I hope I'm not accidentally starting a rumor- I swear I read that somewhere). My first thought was "Good for him!" My next thought was "How the fuck are they gonna make that into a movie? It'll be terrible!"

I actually recommended Shiga's Bookhunter to a few of the production scouts at SDCC. I think the premise would make a great t.v. series. If a cartoonist makes a great graphic novel, and then Hollywood takes an interest, I don't begrudge you that. It could turn out great. It could also be a terrible bastardization of your ideas. I hope you're ready to deal with that. Either way, you could make a lot more money off of one hit movie than a lifetime of comics.

i don't really know what I'm trying to say. I just really hate to see the artform of comics denigrated in this whole process. I hate to see people regarding comics as a tool to get a movie made. I hate to see "comics" continue to be misunderstood as a lesser artform to "graphic novels"* And I hate to see cartoonists chasing the Hollywood $ by tailoring their comics for movies. It's disgracing the artform of comics, that so many of us care deeply about.

Make comics because you love comics.

At least there's still this guy who continues to be awesome.
Though, I probably will see The Watchmen movie.

*Hey Mr. Hollywood- I'll let you in on a secret...
You douchebag.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Alixopulos at the Schulz Museum!

This Weekend:
Book Release Party!
Celebrate the release of Trevor Alixopulos’ new graphic novel The Hot Breath of War. Trevor will be available to speak with visitors, demonstrate his work, and sign his new book. The Hot Breath of War explores love amidst conflict and the seduction of violence itself. Trevor lives and draws in Santa Rosa and is also the author of Mine Tonight.
www. schulzmuseum. org/

Thanks to all our artists from Sparkplug!


It is with unparalleled, complete and total excitement that Sparkplug Comic Books extends a heartfelt congratulations and hearty thank you to all of our authors for setting the Ignatz Nominations ON FIRE with six nominations across nine categories this year:

Inkweed – Chris Wright – Best Anthology or Collection
Windy Corner – Austin English - Best Anthology or Collection
Hot Breath of War – Trevor Alixopulos – Outstanding Graphic Novel
The Urn – Chris Wright, Inkweed – Outstanding Story
Austin English – Windy Corner #2 – Promising New Talent
Reich – Elijah Brubaker – Outstanding Series

We would also like to extend many, many heartfelt congratulations to fellow nominees Jesse Reklaw, Joey Sayers, Sarah Glidden, Jonas Madden-Connor, Greg Means, Juliacks, Laura Park, Dash Shaw, MK Reed, Lilli Carre, Ted May, Jason Robards, Onsmith, Gerald Jablonski, Dunya Jankovic, David King – all total BFF's of Sparkplug!

We asked Austin English about it: "That is a lot of friends! But that is what is strange about these things, as an artist. You look at this list of amazingly talented people---and it's easy to forget that a lot of them happen to be people you're close to. You read these peoples work, respond to it---and then seek out their support in the real world."

Sparkplug is committed to providing artists whose talents deserve a larger audience with the starting place to find it. We are grateful and proud that our little labor of love has resulted in the wider recognition of some of the brightest up and comers working in comics today and are also happy to have the privilege of distributing the mini comics of some of the most visionary and talented creators in the US of A!

The Ignatz Award winners will be announced on Saturday, October 4th at the Small Press Expo. Please stop by the Sparkplug booth for free copies of Nerdburglar (our anthology with Tugboat Press and Teenage Dinasour) and, special for SPX only, our Sparkplug SPX 08 Zine, a sampler featuring some of the works of our Ignatz nominees.

Here is the complete list and write up on the Ingaztes this year.

The most popular comic in the world is called "Transformers: All Hail megatron." I rang up like a billion copies of this last night.

PS: Image comics...can you please make your barcodes easier to scan???

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bald Eagles

So, Bald Eagles has an amazing interview up on Inkstuds. GO and LISTEN, now. Amazing.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

MCA on running his business.

This is a pretty cool little chat with and about Adam Yauch's various attempts at running a small business. Not just handling his business by running it and milking it. Shannon O'Leary passed this on to me.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Anke Feuchtenberger

It is simply amazing to get to hear Anke F. talk about her art
Also more new (to me) pictures by her here:
And her site, of course:
(thanks Renee)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Alixopulos on Inkstuds

Whoa. Trevor Alixopulos is interviewed on Ink Studs. I am assuming it is awesome, but I haven't listened to it yet. I'm doing that right next. (the guy with Trevor in the photo is the one and only Eric Nebel).

Friday, September 05, 2008

Welcome to the Dahl House.

welcome to the Dahl House by ken Dahl
as read by austin english

I read ken dahls new book on my lunch break...I work at forbidden planet in new york city and can literally pick ANY comic to read at lunch. ANY single comic...I could have read the new scorchy smith collection or the new al jaffee book. but i wanted to see this new ken dahl book (aka gabby schulz) above anything else on the stands.

As i was reading it, my cowokrer nate doyle (and talented young cartoonist) described ken as a "real" cartoonist. I agree...and I must admit that i am not a "real" cartoonist. My characters don't act out in pantomime the emotions they're going through and I have an awfully hard time drawing a character from panel to panel and making them look the same. I don't scoff at the ability to do that. In fact, i admire it a great deal. That really is REAL cartooning, if you ask me. A lot of people can do that but not a lot of people can do it well. I cant do it well...but I love comics so I try to forge ahead doing whatever it is I do the best I can.

Ken Dahl can cartoon in the real way as good as any one else. His characters act...they act so well that you don't notice him pulling the strings. And hes that rare example of someone who can draw stylish, pleasing characters that are still iconic enough that you get sucked into his stories. he makes aesthetic character designs that are exciting but somehow stripped down enough that they're not showy.

There's this core of seething anger in Dahl's comics, but whenever one of his mouthpieces acts out, they don't get to relish their anger. They're immediately ashamed of letting their resentment over how things are out. Someone described Dahl's comics as "rant" Zines to me, and that's completely wrong. We all want to rant, but if we have any decency in us, we force ourselves to play devils advocate. Dahl's comics do this to an insane degree---so insane that the practice of playing devils advocate becomes high art.

Sometimes I dont understand why some things get insanely popular and other things remain only popular with a half dozen dedicated followers. To me, Dahls comics have it all---skillfull drawing, sharp writing and PASSION. Somehow, 3 page comics by dahl seem as good as anything else---closer to the emotional pull of a great PROSE novel then an overly ambitious GRAPHIC novel. I believe comics can do great things by emulating the scope and ambition of prose epics...but we shouldnt forget that the casual feel of a inky three page comic in a weird zine is its own hallowed art form and dahls comics in that form and pretty hard to beat.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Is Business Killing Punk Rock

I've been reading an amazing series that ran in Maximum R&R two years ago. It is basically just a series of interviews with people who run small businesses in and around punk rock and roll. There are a ton of different opinions and a lot of insight. I recommend this series for anyone interested in small business or d.i.y. culture. I've put the whole thing up in a giant (120+megs) PDF here:
I've put up a sample page on this blog. Take a look and I'd love to hear what you think.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Love Blowout

Last weekend Minty Lewis and Damien Jay got married!

Minty and Damien's comics are both available in the Sparkplug Comic Books Store and both are good pals of the Sparkplug familia. The wedding was a total blast!

At the end of the night, pretty much everyone looked like this:

Isn't Melanie a pretty pile of bride? I feel like it's OK for me to say that in reference to her big day since Melanie consistently talks about my breasts on the internets. After that picture was taken, various bits of unrepeatable mayhem occurred.
Prior to the festivities, Brian Kaas, my loveable but totally platonic wedding date and Sparklug contributor, regaled us with tales of his current victories in life.

Here's a picture of Brian and Damien sharing the joy in one another's lives:

Hurray for love!
Hurray for success!

David King Comics Up at the Sparkplug Store

So, I just put up a bunch of David King's comics on the Sparkplug Store (the tab on the side there). Go take a look. Supplies are limited and you'll want to get them all, for real.