Sparkplug Books, the seminal indie publisher founded by the late Dylan Williams, will shut down over the summer, publisher Virginia Paine announced on the company blog. Books remain available on the company website but after the closure backstock will be available via Alternative Comics.
Under Williams Sparkplug published seminal works by Jason Shiga, John Hankiewicz (above), Ben Catmull, Gabrielle Bell, Williams himself and many more. They were definitely one of the pioneers of the whole small press comics movement—as a publsiher and a distributor of other presses—and though Paine did an admirable job keeping things going after Williams passed away in 2011 but juggling careers made it unrealistic for her going forward.
There are some great books for sale at the website right now—Shiga’s Bookhunter is one of my all time favorite graphic novels. Here’s Paine’s statement:
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.
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.