Thursday, December 22, 2011

Best Ofs

Several Sparkplug titles and distro books have made it on Best Of 2011 lists - including one by Rob Kirby and Best American Comics Notable Titles. Congrats to all the authors! We will be posting our own Top 10 lists soon.

Also, Tom, Emily and I were interviewed by Tom Spurgeon at the Comics Reporter about the future of Sparkplug. You can read the interview here.

Our website update has had a few setbacks, but should be up soon!

Happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

End of Year Lists!

Virginia Paine's Top 10:
(Eleven, actually!)

2. Passage by Tessa Brunton
3. Amy Kuttab's story in Dan Quayl
5. The Wolf by Tom Neely
7. 20 Girls in 20 Days by Greer Lawson
8. Outta This Comes the Crazy by Rina Ayuyang
9. Big Plans #5 by Aron Nels Steinke
10. Ignition Zero (webcomic) by Noel Heimpel
11. I Think You're Sauceome (webcomic) by Sarah Becan

Emily Nilsson's Top 10 (in no particular order):

1. Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 by Jaime Hernandez. I haven't even read this one yet, but I know I'm going to love it, because I've loved Jaime for the last 20 years and more.
2. Play Overlord by Theo Ellsworth, Sean Christensen and Amy Kuttab. Three geniuses, or is it genii?
3. Habitat #2 by Dunja Jankovic.
4. American Gun Culture Report edited and published by Ross Eliot. I'm anti-gun, and yet I find this zine engrossing. It's made by and for liberals, spanning issues such as politics, feminism, and LGBT.
5. Face Man by Clara Bessijelle. I got a preview copy at BCGF!
6. Big Plans #5 by Aron Nels Steinke
7. Shenzhen by Guy DeLisle.  I know this is a couple years old.  But I read it over the holidays and I really enjoyed it and learned a lot!  Travelogue comics are among my favorites.
8. The Holy Ghost Guide to The Stars by ??? - A mystery lady in bird/ghost costume handed this to me at BCGF.  Did you know that the Septagram is the "star of Babalon and the SFPD"?  You will know that and more if you read this.  See her blog here.
9. Have You Seen the DOG Lately? edited by Serena Lafler.  A great comic/zine anthology including the likes of Steve Lafler and Carrie McNinch.
10. Manifesto Items by David Lasky.  A collection of poems, comics, and thoughts.  David's been a great inspiration and support to me in my own work over many years!    

Tom Neely's Top 10 (that isn't a "Top 10" at all)

I can't call mine a "Top 10 of 2011" because I haven't read everything that came out in 2011 (I'm still catching up on the last couple of years of books).  Maybe I'm just excited about comics in general, and lately I'm in a mood to lean more towards entertaining comics than heavy literary tomes, but it seems like I've found a lot of really amazing stuff this Fall. I got some good stuff earlier this year at Stumptown and TCAF, too, but that seems like a lifetime ago. After several years of the comics industry at large proclaiming the end of everything from comic books and comic shops to the end of all print media, finding so many good comics coming out of the small presses and self publishers fills me with inspiration.

So, this is more of a "best of the comics I acquired on my Fall tour." In no particular order:
1) JOSH BAYER! Man, is he some kind of unstoppable force?! His new Raw Power is really amazing. Get it from Retro Fit Comics. While you're at it, subscribe to Retro Fit Comics! Who doesn't like getting comics in the mail?
2) Rub The Blood by Various. This book is a psychotic art attack on all things Rob Liefield and awful '90s comics that all nerds my age have a special soft-spot for. "Only available in person"
3) Gagged by Dan Wiekin. This is a ridiculous book of really dirty, somewhat evil, and really offensive "gags."  Uncivilized Books.
4) I'm really excited by everything I've read from Domino Books.
5) Sammy the Mouse Vol 1 by Zak Sally. This collects the first three issues of the series in one book. All hand printed by the artist on his own printing press. Amazing. Even if you have the 3 individual issues, I think the story reads even better in this format. Get it from Zak Sally's La Mano 21.
6) Things You Carry by Vincent Stall. A beautiful, wordless, dreamlike book that seems to be about loss. Get it from 2D Cloud
7) Mother Lover Anthology from 2D Cloud. A couple of really good short stories by a few good Minnesotans.
8) BENJAMIN MARRA! Getting a new Marra comic makes me as giddy as when I went to the comic shop on new comic book day when i was 12 years old and still liked superhero comics. Get Night Business and Gangsta Rap Posse from his own Traditional Comics.
9) King Cat # 72 by John Porcellino. What can I say? John P. is a national treasure. Everyone should be reading this series.
10) Andros by Max Clottfelter. This guys a genius! So funny. So surreal. I wish I could draw like this guy.
11) 3 Short Stories by Clara Bessijelle - Clara's drawings are mesmerizing. Domino Books
12) The Greatest by Kelly Froh. This simple little book makes me really happy.
13) Sad Sex minis by Heather Benjamin. The drawings in these things scare me. This girl is sick. I like it.
14) WEIRD Magazine #1 by various artists - Imagine if all the weirdest art comix stars were running things at the old Warren Publishing house in the '60s and '70s. Yeah... that woulda been awesome. And it is. From E. T. Press
15) Keenan Marshall Keller! I love his super-stoopid-sci-fi-drugged-out-EPIC Galatctic Breakdown series (not pictured above)
16) The Disgusting Room by Austin English (not pictured above) - I wasn't sure if I should promote a Sparkplug book on this list since I'm now a partner, but it came out before I was officially part of Sparkplug Books, so... This is probably my favorite book of the year. Austin English continues to blow my mind with his merging of art into the narrative comics form. This work deserves to be hanging in museums. I can't wait to see what he does next. I told Austin it was like if "DeKooning had made comics" and he frowned and said "I've never really been a fan of his work..." Which makes me like Austin's work even more.

I would also like to mention that I really enjoyed new minis from my partners Emily and Virginia.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sparkplug's Website is Updating!

Big news! We are changing the Sparkplug website - making it a little more streamlined and easier to use. The address will remain the same, but expect a slightly different look and ordering system. The redesign is being done by Aaron Amstutz. The change should take place sometime within the next week; I'll post again when everything is finalized and the new site is up.

Thanks for supporting Sparkplug and happy holidays!


Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Gay Genius on Autostraddle!

Our fantastic anthology of queer artists and comic folks, Gay Genius, made it onto a gift guide on Autostraddle! Check out the full list here!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Poopsheet's Best of 2011

Austin English's The Disgusting Room has made it on Poopsheet Foundations' Best Mini-Comics and Small Press Titles of 2011 list! Also on the list: Sparkplug artist Julia Gfrorer's Too Dark to See and Sparkplug co-owner Tom Neely's The Wolf. A bunch of the honorable mentions are Sparkplug titles as well! You can read the full list here.

If you are planning on doing any of your holiday shopping at Sparkplug, now would be a great time to order! Please check out our store; a lot of our books would make great gifts. If you need some suggestions, please feel free to contact me - virginia (at) sparkplugcomicbooks (dot) com.

Have a great week!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Passage, Reviewed!

Justin Giampaoli has written a wonderful review of Tessa Brunton's Passage on his blog Thirteen Minutes:

... Her note perfect details in the pencils lend a sense of authenticity to her quirky upbringing. When you start cataloguing the shading technique, the rampant crosshatching, and the variable line weights, you realize her self-taught style is highly accomplished, culminating with a glorious two page spread that’s a cutaway diagram of her parents’ house. It comes with a penchant for creating rich panels that hum with a lived-in feeling evident in the clothing, the hair, the backgrounds, and the general sense of diversity in all of the figure work. ...

Good stuff!