Monday, December 31, 2012

Reviews and Top Tens

Tom, Emily and I have done our Top Ten Comics lists again, but first...please check out this excellent review of Riech #9 by Rob Clough!  Also, Nurse Nurse made it onto CBR's Top 100 comics of 2012, so congrats to Katie Skelly!  And now, the lists:

My top 10, in no particular order:
  • Cebolla Con Chocolate: surprise comics/zine find of 2012, by art collective Cafe Con Leche.  The covers are all one of a kind magic marker drawings, Spanish language text, artistic wizardry throughout!   
  • Love & Rockets #4
  • Zebediah by Asher Craw.  One of Sparkplug's newest distro books, by a super fine talent. Spooky and thrilling!
  • Forming Vol. 1 - Jesse Moynihan.
  • Hello, Me Pretty - Line Gamache.  I keep re-reading this.  It gives me hope for humanity.
  • Golem of Gabirol - Olga Volozova.  Hauntingly beautiful.
  • Nurse Nurse - Katie Skelly.  Hard to describe how great this book is, our first book under the new ownership!
  • Reich #9 - Elijah Brubaker.  This series just gets better and weirder!    
  • Short Run - a great event by and for small press weirdoes. 
  • Big Plans collection - Aron Nels Steinke.  Bridge City Comics has made the leap to comics publishing! Excellent book to start with!
  • Sparkplug 2012 - We did it!

Also not in order...
  • Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel
  • Nurse Nurse by Katie Skelly
  • In Situ #2 by Sophie Yanow
  • Jade #1 by Fiona Avocado
  • Zebediah #1 by Asher Craw
  • Black is the Color by Julia Gfrorer
  • Sleepwalking by Mel Stringer
  • The Melinderly Volume 1 by Melinda Tracy Boyce
  • 8th Grade (series) by Sam Alden
  • Vortex #1 & 2 by William Cardini
  • About a million people on Tumblr, esp. Georgia Capra, Aaron Whitaker & Noel Heimpel

To be honest, I've picked up a lot of amazing books from some great new artists out there that I'm really excited to dig into. But this year has been really fucked up and I really haven't read much at all... So, here's my top 10 comic related things that kept me happy in 2012 (in no particular order):

1) The first L.A. Zinefest was by far the best show of the year for me... best show of the last several years. It's so great to finally have a good local show and community building in this city that I love.
2) Collaborative art and bookmaking with a bunch of artists and Le Dernier Cri at The Projects in Portland, OR. Actually, the entire festival was such a great experience. Makes me wonder why I'd ever wanna sit behind a table and sell books at a "convention," when I could be at a festival collaborating with other artists for a fun weekend celebrating this treacherous but wonderful life we all lead of trying to make the world a brighter place.
3) Sparkplug publishing Nurse Nurse, Reich #9 and Golem of Gabirol. We're still chugging along... I'm really proud we got these books out and thankful we get to work with such amazing artists.
4) Eamon Espey's Songs of the Abyss is everything I hoped it would be. He is seriously one of the most unique artists making books right now. This is one of the only books I've managed to read in the last 6 months. But I've devoured it several times already.
5) (non-comics related but...) Witchcraft "Legend" - possibly my favorite album of the year. I can't stop listening to it.
6) DREDD 3D - my favorite movie of the year. A flawless action/art film that does everything right. I wish they would make a series of these. Now someone needs to start reprinting classic Dredd comics.
7) Oily Comics and Retrofit Comics subscriptions - there's nothing better than getting mini-comics in the mail! I just re-upped for another 6 months!
8) SPX continues to get better every year. I used to have mixed feelings about that show, but this year made me love it. See you again next year!
9) Freak Scene Art Show at Synchronicity Gallery, Los Angeles - curated by Keenan Keller, and full of some of the raddest contemporary underground cartoonists. Also a super fun weekend hanging out with all those guys. And an honor to be included amongst such great artists.
10) Rededicating all of my time and energy to my art and comics career. Now that I no longer have a wife, I'm married to my art. I'm finally back to working on new projects. The world is a big beautiful place full of possibility and I wanna see it all. See ya soon.

Happy New Year from Sparkplug!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New Books in the Store: Vortex #2 and Jade #1

I added two new books to the store today; first, the second installment of William Cardini's Vortex!  Are you ready for some visually intense wizard battles?!

And second, the also visually stunning Jade Volume 1, by Portland's own Fiona Avocado.
Please check them out!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Reviews of The Airy Tales and Flesh & Bone

Julia Glosemeyer has been reviewing a couple Sparkplug books over at  Please check out her write-ups of Olga Volozova's The Airy Tales and Julia Gfrörer's Flesh and Bone!

Friday, November 09, 2012

The Golem of Gabirol and BCGF

After a couple hiccups, we are pleased to announce our latest book, The Golem of Gabirol by Olga Volozova, is now available for sale in our shop!  It's a beautiful story and we highly recommend it.

Also, Sparkplug will be around tomorrow for the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Fest!  Austin English will be covering both our table and his own Domino Books.  Please be sure to check out them, as well as Aron Nels Steinke and Katie Skelly's tables.  It's really wonderful the festival is still happening despite how messy I'm sure Brooklyn must be right now.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Indiegogo Gift Update!

Hi Friends!

Many of you donated to our Indiegogo fundraiser last spring and a lot of you are still waiting for your gift perks to be sent out.  I wanted to let you all know that we are caught up with our printing goals and have been sending out packages as of two weeks ago, starting with the lower tiers of the donation amounts.  We've sent out many envelopes containing Reich #9, and we are awaiting Olga Volozova's new book The Golem of Gabirol to arrive from the printer's in the Bay Area!  The copies we have been sent already look amazing!   

We had a few unforeseen changes to Golem, plus a switch in the printing venue, so things got a little pushed back.  We've also undergone a major move of our office space but business is back to normal. 
We're going to get those perks sent out to you ASAP.  It might take a few weeks to get completely through our donor list, but we promise to work hard at it.

Thanks again for being so generous and kind in donating to Sparkplug!!


Thursday, November 01, 2012

Short Run in Seattle!

Sparkplug will be happily tabling at Short Run Small Press Fest this Saturday, from 10:30 to 5:30 at the Vera Project in Seattle!  If you haven't been to Short Run before, you are in for a treat - last year was a cozy, friendly affair and I'm sure this year will be no different.
We'll be joined by Sparkplug artist Olga Volozova AND debuting her new book, The Golem of Gabirol.  Please be sure to stop by!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sparkplug at APE

Hello all!  Sparkplug will once again be at APE in San Francisco this weekend.  Please visit Emily and Tom and check out our new books (including Reich #9!) and distro acquisitions.  It should be a great show and we look forward to seeing you.
APE takes place October 13th and 14th at the Concourse (635 8th Street).

Thursday, September 13, 2012

SPX, Reich #9 and Some News

A couple things:
-Sparkplug will be at SPX in Bethesda, MD this weekend!  Katie Skelly, Tom Neely and Ben Marra will be running things, so be sure to stop by.  Get more info about SPX here.  We'll also be debuting the new issue of Reich.

-Reich #9 by Elijah Brubaker is now available in the shop!  We also found a box of Reich #1 in hiding, so it is available again.

-The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum has announced the establishment of the Dylan Williams Collection (specializing in small press and self published works).  Read the full announcement here.

-We are currently in the process of moving into a new space, so our response times are a little slower than usual.  Sorry if we haven't emailed you back or your order is taking a little longer than normal to reach you.  Don't worry, we've gotten your emails and orders and are getting to them as fast as we can.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact me:

-Mark your calendars!  We'll be at APE, Short Run and BCGF later this fall and are looking forward to seeing you!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Passage Nominated for 2 Ignatzes!

Tessa Brunton's Passage has been nominated for two Ignatz awards ("Promising New Talent" and "Outstanding Comic")!  We're really proud of this book and of Tessa for crafting such a beautiful, heartfelt story.  Congratulations to her and to all the other nominees!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Portland Zine Symposium

Hey all!  Please join us this weekend for the Portland Zine Symposium!  We'll be tabling with a lot of our distro stock, including some new zines.  PZS takes place at Refuge (116 SE Yamhill) and the hours are Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 10-5.  See you there!

Monday, July 09, 2012

A Couple New Titles in the Shop

We've added a couple minis we picked up at Olympia Comics Fest and CAKE to our shop!  Check out Swaying Gates by Naji, Viewotron #1 by Sam Sharpe and David Goodrich, and Daily Comics Volume 5 and Volume 6 by Chelsea Baker.
We also have The Natural World series (by Damien Jay) back in stock!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sparkplug at CAKE!

Hello Chicago!  Sparkplug will have a table at CAKE this weekend, June 16th & 17th.  This is a new show and we're very excited about it!  There will be a ton of awesome artists and publishers there.  Click here for more info.

Also, Rob Clough has written a wonderful review of Nurse Nurse.  Please check it out!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012


Hey all, we just added You Don't Get There From Here #22 to the store!  If you love diary comics, Carrie McNinch will totally be your jam.

Nurse Nurse reviewed on Thirteen Minutes!

Justin Giampaoli has written a lovely review of Nurse Nurse on his blog, Thirteen MinutesCheck it out!

"There’s unexpected danger and unpredictability lurking around every corner that fuels the narrative and always keeps pushing it forward."

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Optical Sloth Reviews The Heavy Hand

Kevin Bramer at Optical Sloth has posted a tantalizing review of The Heavy Hand, by Chris Cilla.

"Crikey, Chris has produced quite a show here. I don’t think I’ve ever referred to a graphic novel as a show before, but I’ll be damned if I know what else to call it."

Click here to read the full review!

PS Don't forget, Sparkplug will be at the Olympia Comics Fest on Saturday!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Olympia Comics Festival

So, Emily and I will be toting our books up to the Olympia Comics Fest this weekend!  This is a free festival, and there are a bunch of fun events scheduled around the con itself, including a reading by Jason Shiga (Fleep, Bookhunter).  Get more info on their webpage or facebook event page!

Friday, May 25, 2012

 Hey Portlanders, here's a fun activity for you to attend tonight!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Vortex #1 in the store!

Have you read William Cardini's Vortex yet?!  You should, and it's in our online store now!  Rob Clough (High-Low, TCJ) says: "I've enjoyed Cardini's development as an artist and the refinement of his heavily Mat Brinkman-influenced style. Cardini works big in this sci-fi/fantasy battle comic, but more interestingly, he uses a deliberately artificial-looking style of line. You can see the dots and pixels on the page, giving the whole thing a cold and digital quality that is trying to separate the reader from Brinkman's warm, organic and oozing imagery. That slight distance and primitiveness of the line quality (as opposed to the drawings themselves) adds a certain extra comical layer to a story that involves a wizard quite graphically and viscerally biting off the arm of a monster. The whole thing has a light-hearted feel, much like the rest of Cardini's work, odd as it may appear on the surface. Working bigger certainly suits him, and I enjoyed looking at the images as images."


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bitch Magazine reviews Nurse Nurse!

Our friends at Bitch Magazine have written a great review of our latest book Nurse Nurse, as well as Julia Gfrörer's latest, Too Dark To See.  Please give it a read!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

CAKE needs your help!

Chicago Alternative Comics Expo is running an IndieGoGo campaign to cover some unexpected expenses.  It's the first year of this expo and we at Sparkplug are really looking forward to it.  Please consider donating; they have some pretty sweet prize packs as well!

(Poster by the inimitable Laura Park)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

New Books in the Store!

We've got a couple new books in the store for you today: Zebediah Part 1 by IPRC Comics Certificate Program student Asher Craw, Two Eyes of the Beautiful by Ryan Cecil Smith, Nightlife 12:02 by Tom Lechner and a beautiful print of a Stellar Sea Lion by T. Edward Bak.  Please check them out!

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

New Books in the Shop: Nurse Nurse and Brad Trip

We've got our two latest publishing efforts in the store now!  Nurse Nurse, a sci-fi epic by Katie Skelly and Brad Trip, an anthology of Portland Artists we put together with three other small press publishers for Free Comic Book Day.  Please check them out!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012


Sparkplug is happy to be tabling at TCAF in Toronto this year!  TCAF is a free show that takes place in the Toronto Reference Library.  Tom and Emily will be there, please visit them and pick up a copy of our new book, Nurse Nurse!  Click here for more info.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Nurse Nurse Release Party at Desert Island!

Hey East Coasters!
Please join Nurse Nurse artist Katie Skelly at Desert Island in Brooklyn for a book release and signing! The event starts at 8 p.m. on May 3rd. Desert Island is located at 540 Metropolitan in Brooklyn.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Happy Birthday to Emily!

Today is Emily's birthday, and the best present we can give her is really sending our IndieGoGo campaign over the top!  Please click here to contribute to our next publishing ventures!  And happy birthday to a truly amazing person.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Nurse Nurse Release Party - West Coast Edition

We're teaming up with the Henry & Glenn Forever and Ever release party to release our latest book! The party will be from 6-8 p.m. on April 27th. Floating World Comics in lovely downtown Portland is hosting.
We'll have copies of Nurse Nurse and a limited number of bookmark printed and signed by artist Katie Skelly! Katie can't make it, but Henry & Glenn artists Tom Neely, Benjamin Marra and Ed Luce will be there. It's going to be a great time and we hope you can make it!

Other news:
Emily and I will be at Stumptown Comics Fest! It's this weekend, April 28th and 29th at the convention center in Portland. Click here for more info!
Katie Skelly will be at MoCCA in New York April 28th and 29th as well, with copies of Nurse Nurse for sale.

Monday, April 23, 2012

We've added a couple new minicomics to the store!

-Crime World #3: Another installment of David King's dark spirited crime comix.

-Dear Dear: More understated storytelling and precise line work from Eroyn Franklin.

-Galactic Breakdown #1 & 2: Keenan M. Keller's wild, weird and colorful scifi series!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Our Campaign's Last Push

Our IndieGoGo campaign is doing great.  We owe many thanks to our friends and supporters everywhere for spreading the word!  Thank you, Jason T. Miles, Rob Clough, Austin English and many others!  Thanks to all our Facebook pals for sharing the link every day!
I also wanted to direct your attention to a beautiful, heartfelt article written by our friend Shannon at The Comics Beat.  I highly recommend reading it.
Thanks everyone (I can't say that enough)!  Let's make these last twelve days AWESOME!


Monday, April 16, 2012

Donate Today to Sparkplug's Fundraiser

Hi friends, don't forget to donate to our fundraiser on Indiegogo.  We're in the last couple weeks and we are getting closer and closer by the hour, but we need to keep up the momentum!!  Be sure to share the site with your friends, family, and small press lovers everywhere. 

 With the donations we accumulate, our goals of publishing three books will become a reality!  We already have the newest title, Nurse Nurse by Katie Skelly, at the printers right now.  We'll have it in our hands in about a week, and out to stores and readers soon afterwards.  Yay!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pinay Lives & Voices

The truly amazing Rina Ayuyang will be reading from Whirlwind Wonderland this Sunday at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. Here is a description of the event:


An afternoon of Pinay literature and storytelling, in celebration of Women's History Month!

Oakland Asian Cultural Center
Oakland, CA
Sunday, April 1, 2012 - 3:00pm-5:00pm
Free and open to public

FEATURED PINAY ARTISTS: Vangie Buell, Barbara Jane Reyes, Camille Robles, Rina Ayuyang

View more about the event:

View more about the Oakland Asian Cultural Center:

Monday, March 26, 2012

New Books and Prints!

Hello there! I've added a couple new books to the shop AND some really beautiful lino-block prints by T. Edward Bak. The books are: The City Troll, a debut graphic novel by Aaron Whitaker; The Sky In Stereo, an excellent new series from Mardou; and Sophia Wiedeman's dark and gorgeous The Deformitory. Please check them out!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sparkplug's Awesome Online Fundraiser!

Sparkplug is having a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo to publish our next three titles: Nurse Nurse by Katie Skelly, Reich #9 by Elijah Brubaker, and The Golem Of Gabirol by Olga Volozova. Go here to donate, and receive a gift in return!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Thank you to Chicago Zine Fest and Quimby's

Prize medals for the 2012 Chicago Zine Olympics at Quimby's

Though we couldn't make it this year, Quimby's Bookstore and the Chicago Zine Fest were kind enough to give us the Long Arm Stapler Award. The award is given to recognize dedication to self-publishing and the First Amendment; ours was also given to recognize Dylan's work in this community. Our friend Nicole Georges accepted the award for us.
We'd like to thank Liz and the Quimby's crew and everyone involved with CZF for choosing us and honoring Dylan.

Photo of Zine Olympics prize medals by Oscar Arriola.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Friends, Sparkplug is about to launch a fundraising campaign through Indiegogo to get three books published this year.  

Please come to our reading event this Saturday, 7pm, at the Waypost (3120 N Williams, Portland, OR) to show your support and see some great comics read by local artists!

Friday, March 09, 2012

Chicago Zine Fest

While we aren't tabling at Chicago Zine Fest (this year), lots of our friends will be and we strongly encourage you to go to this free event! There will be lots of fun events around the fest too, including Zine Olympics at Quimby's!

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Sparkplug at Staple!

Tom and I will be tabling for Sparkplug (and I Will Destroy You) at Staple! this weekend! Staple! is taking place March 3rd and 4th at Marchesa Hall and Theater in Austin, Texas. See you there!

Monday, February 27, 2012

New in the Store: DITKO!

We've added a bunch of our Steve Ditko books to the store! Please check out ..Wha..!?, Act 5, Act 6, Act 7, Ditko Presents and The Cover Series.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Austin English on Inkstuds!

Robin from Inkstuds has interviewed Austin English, author of the Sparkplug-published titles Christina and Charles, Windy Corner magazine and The Disgusting Room. Please give it a listen!

New Books: Young Lions, Death Trap and Social Discipline #5

A couple new titles in the store for you: Social Discipline #5 by Portland artist Ian Sundahl and Xeric Winners Death Trap by Lane Milburn and Young Lions by Blaise Larmee. Great stuff!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Annie Murphy on Inkstuds!

Something for you to listen to today: Annie Murphy, editor of Gay Genius, was interviewed by Robin over at Inkstuds!

Monday, February 20, 2012

New in the Store: Nate Doyle!

I've added our Nate Doyle minis to the online store; be sure to check out coincidental tragedy of The Archer and Nate's fantasy serial "Bowl of Flies," featured in Crooked Teeth #3, #4 and #5!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sparkplug at L.A. Zine Fest!

Emily is heading down to the L.A. Zine Fest this weekend with a ton of our books! Please stop by (and say hi to Tom Neely at the I Will Destroy You table, too). We're really excited to be part of this new fest! Admission is free, too!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

New comics in the store!

We've been adding more and more stock from our distro books to the store, and here are the latest titles: The Mercy Killing by Justin Giampaoli and Tim Goodyear, and You Don't Get There From Here #21 by Carrie McNinch!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Rob Clough's Top Comics of 2011!

The wonderfully eloquent Rob Clough has posted his Top Fifteen Comics list. Included on the list is Sparkplug's own Passage! Please give it a read!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Birthday Coupon!

Hey all! Today is my 31st birthday and we are having a sale in the store to celebrate! With the coupon code VASBDAY you will receive 31% off all Sparkplug published titles in our online store. This sale is for today only, so get shopping!


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Website

So, our new website is up! We are still working out a few kinks, so please let me know if you have any trouble navigating or purchasing anything. virginia (at) sparkplugcomicbooks (dot) com

Monday, January 30, 2012

Electoral Surge

Friend of Sparkplug Gwenaëlle has been posting a page a day of her new graphic novel, Electoral Surge, over on tumblr. If you've enjoyed her work in the past or if you enjoy quiet, beautiful comics, please check it out!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rock That Never Sleeps Animation!

Rock That Never Sleeps from Juliacks on Vimeo.

Juliacks was kind enough to send us a link to the animation she and Amy Johnson made, based on Rock That Never Sleeps. The book itself was written by Juliacks and Olga Volozova and is available in our online store.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Julia Gfrörer interview at TCJ

Sean T. Collins has done a wonderful, in-depth interview with Julia Gfrörer over at The Comics Journal. Julia and Sean cover a lot of topics, from the depiction of sexuality in her work to Game of Thrones. Well worth a read!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Windy Corner #2 Reviewed!

For our French-speaking readers: the tumblr blog 1 Fanzine Par Jour has posted a review of Windy Corner #2. Thanks JJM!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Coming Soon: NURSE NURSE by Katie Skelly

Press Release

For Immediate Release
Contact: Virginia Paine
virginia (at) sparkplugcomicbooks (dot) com

Nurse Nurse, a graphic novel by Katie Skelly, is slated to come out April 2012 in time for a debut at Stumptown Comics Fest and MoCCA.

If you are not familiar with Katie Skelly’s Nurse Nurse minicomics series, you are in for a double treat. Not only will this epic space adventure thrill you, Sparkplug is collecting all eight issues into one compact and easy-to-carry graphic novel! (180 pgs, black and white with color cover, paperback, $15 USD,ISBN 978097974654351500)

The story starts out with the main character Gemma traveling to her new assignment on Venus. She soon discovers a mysterious substance that is having an amorous effect on the Venusians, but is it a conspiracy, or just … science? And what’s with the butterflies? Sarah Morean of The Daily Crosshatch says: “The plot is smart and innocent and the panels are well-designed and full of gorgeous detail. Skelly’s a wonderful comic artist.”

Author Katie Skelly has been creating minicomics since 2003 and her work has appeared recently in Thickness#1. She holds a B.A. in Art History from Syracuse University and currently resides in Astoria, New York.

Please stop by our table at Stumptown Comics Fest or MoCCA to pick up your copy or visit our online store at Wholesale orders, please contact Tony Shenton: shenton4sales (at) aol (dot) com

Monday, January 09, 2012

J.T. Dockery's Top 5

J.T. Dockery has named Reich and Habitat #2 as two of the top 5 books of the year! Also included on the list are Tom Neely's The Wolf and Julia Gfrorer's Too Dark to See. Read the complete list here.