Sparkplug Books has has some changes in the last few years, following the death of founder Dylan Williams, but under new publisher Virginia Paine, it’s stayed in the game. In an email, Paine shared some plans for 2014…and also the news that times are tough at the indie, with Paine being forced to stop paying herself.
Anyone who loves indie comics loves Sparkplug, so while you mght want to support them by buying some books, you might also hit the donation button.
(Yes there have been a lot of fundraisers of late…i’s that kind of world.)
Here’s Paine’s email with some art samples from the artists she mentions:
We hope you’ve had a good 2013. It’s been another year of big changes for us—the most significant, of course, being my coming into ownership of Sparkplug. This year has been a reflective one; though our publishing output was smaller than past seasons, we have made some great additions to our distro catalog, attended a lot of fantastic shows, and given a lot of thought to the future of Sparkplug.
As I am writing this in November, however, we are not in good shape financially. I’ve had to stop paying myself, and though I wasn’t paying myself much, that money did make a significant contribution to my income; it’s going to be more difficult to continue as a publisher when I’m relying solely on my minimum wage retail job.
But I’ll be fine—I’m more concerned about our publishing schedule for next year. We have some awesome books planned! We’re going to finish Elijah Brubaker’s Reich series, hopefully by fall 2014. I would like for Orchid 2 to (finally) be released by then as well.
In addition to completing two of Dylan’s projects, I am looking forward to starting some projects of my own. In February, we are planning to launch the Sparkplug Minis series, a collection of limited edition short-run minicomics by up-and-coming artists. The first book will be Portland artist Asher Craw’s Hungry Summer, which will finally answer the question of what happens when a bro-dude meets Baba Yoga.Hungry Summer will be ready in time to debut at LA Zine Fest in February. The second book, Ariyana Suvarnasuddhi’s Smoking Spaceships #1, will debut at CAKE in late May. Suvarnasuddhi sent me some preliminary sketches, and let me tell you, they are gorgeous!
I have two more issues in this series tentatively planned for summer and fall. Get them while you can, because once they run out, we won’t be reprinting them. If this series does well enough, I will likely add a subscription option in 2015.
Finally, if you’ve been following William Cardini’s Vortex series, you’ll be excited to know that we’ll be publishing a collection of all four minis in the summer of 2014. Cardini’s work is great—a weird mash-up of psychedelia and 8-bit sci-fi—and I’m so stoked to be doing this book.
So those are our plans, and I hope you’re as excited as I am. To make these books happen, though, we are going to need a lot of support from our fans and friends. As always, you can make a donation directly to us via the Donate button on the right-hand side of our blog (http://sparkplugcomicbooks.blogspot.com/). These donations are so greatly appreciated and go directly toward producing our books. I’m also going to offer preorders for our books, which will be the best way for you to help us and add some great comics to your library simultaneously. Reich #11 preorders start today! Please, just look at that cover and tell me it’s not one of the most beautiful things you’ve ever seen. Visit http://sparkplugcomicbooks.com/shop/comic-books/reich-11-pre-order/ to get your issue and contribute to a good cause: keeping us in business so we can continue to publish these amazing independent comics.
Thank you for standing by us, and happy holidays!
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.