Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Shirts on sale!

Hey friends! Lots of Sparkplug t-shirts just went on sale in the shop. Featuring illustrations by Dylan Williams, Renee French, and more! Check 'em out here!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Sparkplug Highlight: Ce/Ze

Ce/Ze, Suzette Smith’s dreamy take on science fiction/fantasy, follows two 7th graders who share a psychic link. Amelia Smith and Honey Czarny discover that they share fragmented memories of their past lives in another universe as powerful beings named Ce and Ze. A rival king’s plot to kill Ze nearly succeeded, so Ce and Ze were forced to escape to our world. Honey and Amelia study and emulate human behavior but feel no real connection to our reality reality: Ce contemplates trading the soul of one of her friends for a favor from the forest fairies, saying that she doesn’t think of herself and Ze as people. The girls seem to feel trapped in our world as in a nightmare, gradually learning more about their home universe and the danger therein through dreams and guided trances. Smith’s floaty style and fluid compositions create an evocative, unpredictable dreamscape, further blurring the hazy boundaries between visions, memories, and reality.

Buy Ce/Ze here!
Check out more of Suzette's work on her website!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Future of Sparkplug

Hello friends,

It is with mixed feelings that I must announce that I will be shutting down Sparkplug this year.  I appreciate the opportunities that running Sparkplug has given me and the wonderful people it has introduced me to.  I know Sparkplug means a lot to many people and I want to assure you this is not a decision I've made lightly.  It's become increasingly difficult for me to balance my day job as assistant manager at an art gallery, my own comics career, and Sparkplug.  I don't have the time to put into nurturing the press and its artists that they deserve.
I would like to express my gratitude to people who have joined and helped me on this journey, and everyone who has supported Sparkplug and me in the years since Dylan's passing.  You will always have a place in my heart.
My plan right now is to spend about five more months as Sparkplug - tabling at LAZF, Linework and CAKE - and then close up shop.  The back catalog will be transferred to Marc Arsenault of Alternative Comics - a person who takes great care in promoting older titles.
Until then, the online shop will remain open, with plenty of Sparkplug's wonderful selection to choose from.  

Again, thank you all.  It's been an honor to publish in this community.

February 18, 2016

Monday, February 15, 2016

Sparkplug Highlight: Bird Girl and Fox Girl

This minicomic follows the threads of Bird Girl and Fox Girl’s lives after the dissolution of their friendship. Bird Girl moves from the desert to the city, where she works as a secretary, eventually saving up enough money for surgery to look like a human girl. Fox Girl becomes a daredevil model, only accepting potentially life-threatening assignments. Her photos inspire of viral trend of teenage girls taking selfies just prior to committing suicide; her popularity plummets and, jobless and homeless, she leaves the city. Years later, both transformed, Bird Girl and Fox Girl meet again in the desert. The comic’s lack of dialogue produces a distance from the reader in which the text echoes. Yumi Sakugawa's art is sparse yet intricate; the rhythmic pacing of image and text create a poetic, haunting story.

Buy the comic here!
See Yumi's other work here!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Reich review!

Daniel Elkin and Jason Sacks wrote an excellent review of Reich for Comics Bulletin. Read it here!

Monday, February 08, 2016

Sparkplug Highlight: The Anthropologists

Wren and Miriam, two anthropology majors studying abroad in Australia, are selected for a trip to the Kimberley Desert to study aboriginal culture. While Miriam is overly enthusiastic and gung ho about the trip and meeting aboriginal people, Wren seems ambivalent about the trip and unsure of what she will learn. Miriam’s fascination with foreign societies reads like cultural tourism, which clearly makes Wren uncomfortable. While Miriam is blonde and white, Wren is of mixed heritage, which leads to a few awkward confrontations, as when one of the aboriginal guides asks Wren offhand, “So what are ya?” In a society in which there doesn’t seem to be much cultural or racial overlap, Wren is somewhat of an oddity. Miriam is clearly an outsider, but Wren is more different to categorize. When a different guide later asks about her racial background, she replies that she’s black, part Native American, and part white. “It can be confusing, you know, defining yourself. Sometimes I don’t feel like I fit in,” she concludes. These conversations act as microcosms of Wren’s ambivalence about her mixed cultural and racial heritage in a society that prefers things to fall into distinct categories.

Read a review of The Anthropologists at Vixen Varsity!

See more of Whit Taylor's work here!
Buy The Anthropologists here!

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Sparkplug Minis Series Set now in the store!

You can now get all five issues of the Sparkplug Minis Series at once, for the low price of $25 (plus shipping)!  Check it out here.  Quantities are pretty limited for the complete set since we are nearly out of Yumi Sakugawa's Bird Girl and Fox Girl.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Sparkplug Highlight: Hungry Summer

The inaugural title in the Sparkplug Minis series, Hungry Summer follows several characters’ interactions with Baba Yaga, a supernatural figure with roots in Slavic folklore. An ambiguous, witch-like character, Baba Yaga resides deep in the woods and has the ability to bless and curse in equal measure: a popped-collar bro who insults her is turned into a ghost, while someone who assists her with her heavy bag gains the ability to cough up jewelry. Craw’s scratchy but deliberate linework imparts a degree of realism to the otherworldly narrative while preserving its ambiguity.

Read a short review of Hungry Summer (along with a number of other minicomics) by Rob Kirby on his blog.
Here's another short review from The Comics Journal.

See more of Asher's work here!
Buy Hungry Summer here!