Friday, April 30, 2010

Civil Unions

Sparkplug best buddy Tom Neely has been interviewed quite well by Molossus. Loads of new info and talk about poetry and wolves:


Portland Illustrated: Neighborhood Notes on four radical Portland cartoonists that you need to know about, including
Julia Gfrörer author of Sparkplug's new Flesh and Bone. The other three are also pretty damn great too.

Rina Ayuyang on Tour!

She'll be at TCAF in Toronto for Sparkplug next Saturday and on Wednesday in Pittsburgh, PA:

Cartoonist and author Rina Ayuyang will be reading selections from her graphic novel "Whirlwind Wonderland" at Pittsburgh's Toonseum on Wednesday, May 5th at 6:00 p.m.

Rina, a former Pittsburgher, Will be sharing her stories and illustrations of her life in Pittsburgh and more. Using heart, humor and beautifully illustrated comics, "Whirlwind Wonderland" follows the life-altering exploits of a somewhat-normal Filipino American girl as she meanders through sleepy suburban sprawls, empty diners, fantasy-filled commuter traffic jams, misplaced football fanaticism, ethnic identity crash courses, and just good ole family hi-jinx.

Rina Ayuyang first became interested in cartooning while growing up in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she spent her days drawing on various scraps of paper, watching Merrie Melodies cartoons, and reading Peanuts comic strips. After focusing many years on painting and conceptual art in San Francisco, she reunited with her first love--comics--in 2001, and began self-publishing "Namby Pamby", a semi-autobiographical series which focused on the humorous side of the ordinary, everyday moments of one's life. Rina has just released her first graphic novel with Portland publishers Sparkplug Comic Books and Tugboat Press entitled "Whirlwind Wonderland", a collection of new shorts stories and selected favorites from "Namby Pamby".

More of Rina's comics work can be found in various comic anthologies, notably Stripburger, SPX 2005, and Friends of Lulu's Girls Guide to Guys Stuff. Besides drawing comics, she has co-founded an online magazine called Creative Skin ( which has showcased the work of writers, photographers and cartoonists from around the globe. She currently co-hosts The Comix Claptrap, a comics podcast with fellow Bay Area cartoonist Thien Pham in which they interview influential cartoonists and discuss various issues concerning the comics and small press community.

Rina currently resides in Oakland, California, with her husband, son and cat. You can view more of her work at her website and blog,

Rina will be signing copies of her book after the presentation.

May 5th, 6:00pm
Free admission, donations welcome
The ToonSeum
945 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Free Dope Flounder this weekend!

This Saturday (May 1st) Tugboat Press, Teenage Dinosaur and Sparkplug Comic Books are proud to present a free comic book available at comic book stores nationwide this Saturday. Six new artists to flip your lid: Sean Christensen (cover), David Wien (back cover), Nicole Georges, Jesse Reklaw, Tom Lechner and Ian Sundahl

In Portland, OR Dope Flounder is available at:
Guapo Comics and Coffee
Cosmic Monkey Comics
Bridge City Comics
Floating World Comics
Excalibur Comics
Reading Frenzy
Together Gallery
and just added: the Microcosm Store!
Artists from Dope Flounder will be at Guapo and Cosmic Monkey

And, nationwide you can get this Free comic from these wonderful stores:

Copacetic Comics Company in Pittsburgh, PA
Green Brain Comics in Dearborn, MI
Zanadu Comics in Seattle, WA
Spacecat Comics and Cards in San Jose, CA
Comix Revolution in Evanston, IL
Chicago Comics in Chicago, IL
Big Brain Comics in Minneapolis, MN
Forbidden Planet in New York, NY
Cosmic Comics in New York, NY
Pilot Books in Seattle, WA
Phantom of The Attic in Pittsburgh, PA
Desert Island Comics in Brooklyn, NY
Meltdown in Los Angeles, CA
Showcase Comics in Bryn Mawr, PA
Comic Relief in Berkeley, CA
Titan Comics in Dallas, TX
Jim Hanley's Universe in New York, NY
Danger Room in Olympia, WA
Atomic Books in Baltimore, MA
House of Secrets in Burbank, CA
Secret Headquarters in Los Angeles, CA

If you are a retailer and would like to carry our free comic next year please contact Tony Shenton at:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Rina Ayuyang article at Asian Journal!

Asian Journal has published a long and really cool article about and interview with Rina Ayuyang about her new book "Whirlwind Wonderland".

Spit-And-A-Hallf is Strong!

The wonderful Spit And A Half distro is back. John Porcellino has been an influence on me for two decades and it all started with his distro Spit-And-A-Half. Still one of the nicest and best artists in comic. You need to check it out:

"SPIT AND A HALF is a mailorder distribution company for hard-to-find comics and zines, run by John Porcellino of King-Cat Comics. STORES: We wholesale!"

Choose life!

Profanity Hill at Stumptown!

This just in from the Profanity Hill coordinator:

Profanity Hill will be at the Stumptown Comics Fest this weekend in PDX, OR. Max Clotfelter, Kelly Froh and myself will be dishin' the spiel as we premiere the following tracts:

2010-03/04 MINI featuring urgent and ecstatic combinations by Adam Grano

FALSE INJECTION featuring record reviews, scene report, drawings, a question and inspiration by Ajax Wood

featuring comix and drawings by Austin English, Jesse McManus, Tony Remple, Ron Rege jr, Matthew Thurber, Chris Cilla, Ingaletta Basher, Jason T. Miles, A. Wood Storm, Nico Vassilakis, Jason Overby, Kinoko, Emily Litjens, Cansafis Foote, Philip T. Basher and Josh Journey-Heinz

by Tony Remple

STAR RATS by Jason T. Miles

featuring wiener dog comix and drawings by Kelly Froh and Max Clotfelter

by Kelly Froh



by Kelly Froh

WET PAINT 2 featuring comix and drawings by Adam Grano, Chris Cilla, Jason T. Miles, Jeremy Eaton, Josh Simmons, Marianne Goldin and Max Clotfelter

We'll also have the complete Profanity Hill back list and recently acquired rarities from Ballard's Peter Bagge!

Looking forward to it,
Jason T. Miles
Profanity Hill

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sparkplug at Stumptown and New Books!

Sparkplug Comic Books will be at the Stumptown Comics Fest this weekend in Portland, OR. We will be premiering two new Sparkplug books, both available now on the Sparkplug Bookstore.
  • Flesh and Bone by Julia Gfrörer
  • Dope Flounder a new free comics anthology co-published with Tugboat and Teenage Dinosaur with work by Sean Christensen (cover), David Wien (back cover), Nicole Georges, Jesse Reklaw, Tom Lechner and Ian Sundahl
Two other great anthologies by friends of mine are at the show as well:

The Big Feminist BUT anthology preview. We'll have a special $3 preview of this new anthology by Shannon O'Leary and Joan Reilly at the Sparkplug table.

From Stella With Love Sparkplug will be right across the isle from the Independent Publishing Resource Center. The IPRC comix program has produced a new anthology called From Stella With Love with work by La Nina, Virginia Paine, Ben Bush, Harlan Mahaffy, Katie Moody, Patrick Devine and Pam Cameron-Snyder. They'll have the anthology as well as a ton of individual comics. All great, seriously!

Sparkplug artists Elijah Brubaker, Rina Ayuyang, Julia Gfrörer, Aron Nels Steinke, Trevor Alixopulos and more will be at the show!

With Tom Neely, I'll be co-moderating a panel called Local Printing and Publishing on Sunday at 3pm: Our panel of multi-disciplinary area experts, featuring Lisa Mangum, Charles Overbeck, Susie Cagle, Joey Sayers, Jason Leivian, and Tom Neely.

Tom Neely and Aron Nels Steinke are doing a reading and signing at Herbivore in Portland on Thursday, April 22, 7:00 pm

Flesh and Bone by Julia Gfrörer will premier at Guapo Comics on Friday April 23rd as part of their Guapo Comics Stumptown Party! Make sure you go!

Pony Club will be throwing a Stumptown after-party on Sunday April 25th from 7-9pm. Make sure you're there also! There is a great show up right now.

Loads of Sparkplug friends like Theo Elsworth, Lark Pien, Secret Acres, Ed Luce and many more will be at Stumptown so make sure you go this weekend, if you can.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Diamonds in her hair.

So, this article by Checker publisher Mark Thompson about their split from Diamond Comics Distribution is really insightful. I've heard a lot about how Diamond will weather this storm but it has been from people who are dependent on them for new stock. It is interesting (and sad for the people involved with Diamond) that the landscape is really changing. Moving towards a less monopolistic approach.

I can of course throw in a little "told you so" when I hear about these sort of migrations (including Marvel Comics recently) but the truth is that bigger businesses become dependent on their distributors to make, break and support them. As Thomspon says,
"The results with these new distribution outlets once supplied has been immediate. Our shipping success went to 100% with them as opposed to a 40% success ratio with Diamond Comic Distributors over the previous two years."
Any small publisher could have told you that a decade ago but there is a need and safety in working with "the big boy". Of course this doesn't just apply to a monopoly like Diamond, it applies to any organization where there are so many people involved that it seems like they must have something right. And, of course, if you've ever worked for a big organization you realize exactly how paper thin that kind of stability is. Organizations are only as good as the some total of the people involved in running them. And, obviously, it is sad that when companies get so big and fail, they inevitably end up taking a bunch of people with them. And the reality of the situation is that big companies employ tons of great people whose jobs are also at stake.

If you are at all interested in the way comics get to you, Thompson's article exposes the flaws in the process quite well. Of course if you are interested in getting good comics, go to small distros and the artists themselves. The solution to panic is to stay focused and support the people you like. And if you want to be a comics retailer, I'm betting this book is out of date. Thanks to Tom Neely for forwarding this to me.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Aron Nels Steinke and Tom Neely Reading in Portland!

Two days before the Stumptown Comics Fest!

Thursday, April 22, 2010
7:00pm - 9:00pm
1211 S.E. Stark Street

Come celebrate Earth Day at the Vegan Minimall with a couple of Vegan Cartoonists!

Tom Neely - author of The Blot, Your Disease Spread Quick, Brilliantly Ham-fisted and more

Aron Nels Steinke - author of Big Plans, Neptune and The Super Crazy Cat Dance.

Also- the release of Henry and Glenn Forever by The Igloo Tornado (Tom Neely, Scot Nobles and Gin Stevens) published by Cantankerous Titles.

Readings, Signings, Snacking, Talking, Meet the artists!

Brought to you by Herbivore, Sparkplug Comic Books, Cantankerous Titles and a lot of soy protein.

Reich makes best of MoCCA list!

Reich #7 made the New York Daily News best of MoCCA festival list!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

MoCCA and New Books!

Sparkplug will be at the MoCCA Festival in New York this weekend (Saturday April 10th and 11th).

Austin English, Clara Johansson and Eroyn Franklin will be running the table ( #G9). They'll have a bunch of new books including an anthology with stuff by Austin and John Hankiewicz (and more) and the premiere preview mini of a new anthology by Shannon O'Leary and Joan Reilly (which I have a story in).

I've just put two brand new Sparkplug books on the website: Reich #7 by Elijah Brubaker and Eschew #2 by Robert Sergel. I've also put up the first, self published, issue of Eschew. MoCCA Festival is the world premiere of Reich 7 and Eschew 2. It will be the East Coast premiere of Whirlwind Wonderland by Rina Ayuyang co-published with Tugboat Press. Make sure to drop by the table and say "hi". They'll also have all the Sparkplug books and more self-published comics. A full table.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Amy Kuttab portraits

One of my favorite artists is doing portrait commissions. Amy Kuttab has been making beautiful paintings and comics in Portland for quite a while now. She is a co-owner of the Pony Club Gallery too. Her comic, How Dry I Am is one of 2009's best books. I haven't put them up on the store yet but here is a paypal button to order it:

Here is the portraiture info: "I am offering portrait commissions at the moment! If you or anyone you know may be interested in a commemoration of personality for future generations and yourself of course to enjoy please drop me a line! Here is a link to my craigslist ad! Into the realm of the unknown!"