Well, this is really cool.

It’s a little more than a year ago that comics lost one of its greatest friends, mentors, and publishers in Dylan Williams. Although his spirit lives on with the company he founded, Sparkplug, a new way to remember him has just been announced by The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, the repository of Ohio State University’s comics-related archives: The Dylan Williams Collection.

The purpose of the Dylan Williams Collection at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is to strengthen and modernize our representation of the contemporary small press comics community. Although our collection currently features a diverse selection of historical self-published works, the Dylan Williams Collection will continually target and support emerging artists in the alternative comics field. We are proud to honor small press publisher, comics historian and cartoonist Dylan Williams with the namesake of this collection.

The collection will focus on self-published and small press works, with an emphasis on hand-made books. There’s an acquisition fund to purchase works, but donations are being accepted as well, including:

Works published by small-presses similar to and emulating the spirit of Sparkplug Comic Books. For example, materials published by small presses that are run by a small to single-person staff will take priority.

Personal comics collections of self-published and small-press works, ranging from 1970 (Dylan Williams’ birth year) to the present.

Original artwork from self-published work.

Limited edition prints by self-publishing creators.

Secondary sources. Self-published works about comics but are not comics (ie. reviews, essays, fanzines etc.)

Micro-distributed materials. Primarily works that are distributed through non-traditional methods, including but not limited to mail-order, hand-selling at conventions, and small distributors will take priority.

Small print runs for small-press work. Materials with a print run of over 3,000 copies will not be eligible.

Works outside of the superhero genre will take priority.

Obviously this is not only a wonderful way to remember Dylan, but a boon to those of us who have shoeboxes full of precious objects that we can’t bear to part with for their historical value alone. It’s truly exciting to know that academic institutions like The Billy Ireland Library and The Library of Congress are beginning to take preserving this unique artform seriously, and since it’s an artform full of packrats, there is a lot to preserve.


  1. A high five to those making the effort to respect Dylan — and a prayer others will learn from his example.

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