Sparkplug Books

A Small Publisher of Fine Comic Books

All images © their respective authors.


eroyn franklin’s work is a big deal to me and i think it could be a big deal for you

her stuff reads like ice melting on yer skin 

nice at first – soothing – then it kinda burns – and after it dissolves – i’m devastated 

not unlike a favorite sad song


i especially get this from her short stories like Dear Dear and Sorry Sheets 

eryon’s art is whole

humble and spectacular without the math rock indulgence of chris ware

or the templated professionalism of 21st century academic cartooning

and then there’s her long form works:

immersive, experiential, formalism beating a bath to your heart

breathtaking and giving

i find tremendous joy from eroyn’s investigations into the deep ache of being alive

see also:

For The Record I Know This Is A Bad Idea




There is a lightness to Gfrörer’s line work that stands almost in juxtaposition to the darkness she fills her panels with. This chiaroscuro adds thematic density as it contributes emotionally to the tone. Gfrörer is a comic artist whose craft and ideas work conjointly. Her books offer her understanding of our desires, taking, as Lou Reed said, the blue mask down from our face and looking us in the eye. As much as we like to think of our acts of love as tender, they are inexorably savage, our desires unleashed in our reptile brains, the primacy of the primal. Though it is often portrayed as men’s work, true sexuality is ultimately the woman’s province. As men slap and flail with their cocks, women unleash and create. Gfrörer uses Flesh and Bone as a platform to remind us of this. The rudimentary spark that the man ejaculates becomes, through the magic of the female, something full, rich, and prophetic. (via Tiny Pages Made of Ashes 8/15/2014: Human Connections @ Comics Bulletin)




Script: Rory McConville

Art: Phil Barrett

To see more of Phil’s work, check out

I got to work with Rory McConville  on a story for his deadly Tumblr!

Sparkplug Highlight: Windy Corner Magazine #1

Windy Corners is a series edited by Austin English. This issue features two ongoing comics by English, “Life of Francis” and “My Earliest Memory”, as well as an interview with Portland cartoonist Andrice Arp. There are several beautiful paintings by Paula Salemme, an essay by Steve Lafler, and a comic by Richard Hahn. 
What is especially interesting about Windy Corners #1 is that English sticks to his aesthetic without being exclusionary. All the work is consistent and high quality; I’m especially grateful for the feature of two awesome female artists. The interview with Andrice Arp is great because English, as an artist, knows what questions to ask. Learning about an artist’s influences, process, and personality is what I care about in an interview; Andrice delivers intricate, detailed answers.
Paula Salemme’s paintings add a nice pause between text and image sections. Her densely-packed works are full of rich colors and textures that I don’t usually see paired together. They work well side-by-side with comics by English, who also uses a variety of texture, experimenting with flatness and form. 
English leaves all edits (or perhaps they’re intentional to add grit) on top of his comics, allowing for a messier look than traditional comics. Each page is immersive and full of color & text. Both of his comics seem autobiographical, despite one being about a young girl named Francis. Perhaps English is reflecting on childlike times and behavior by giving his work a looser look - either way, it works well and each page flows into the next despite the colors and sometimes appearance of characters constantly changing. 
Hahn’s comic is also loose, moody, with black lines and an array of ever-changing shapes. The ten pages reflect on Saul Steinberg as an artist and do him justice with soft colors and overlapping lines. 
Overall, Windy Corners is a wonderful compilation of original works. Aside from the contents, the book is printed in deep colors and formatted - dare I say - adorably. The end pages to the full bleed is considered, and it’s the little things that count!
(80 interior pgs, 6 1/2 ” x 9 1/2″, Full Color, Sparkplug Books) 
available here!

Rob Clough Reviews Golem of Gabirol!

The ever-on point Rob Clough reviewed Olga Volozova’s Golem of Gabirol! We are honored to have Rob take a look at our books. Here’s an excerpt: 

" For Volozova herself (who dedicated the book to her late husband, who was also a rabbi), The Golem of Gabirol represents her own attempt to create life using text, in order to honor an old legend, to establish a memorial for her husband, and to construct a feminist narrative where she builds a creative space for herself and Zuleicha, word by word."

You can read the whole review at Foxing Quarterly, here!

Rob Clough Reviews Hungry Summer!

Once again Rob Clough reviews a Sparkplug Mini! Hungry Summer by Asher Z Craw is one of our latest releases, and we are cheered by Rob’s apt writing! Here is an excerpt: 
"Craw’s quasi-autobiographical comic, Zebediah, was an unpredictable, absorbing and ultimately humane fantasy account of how he came to understand his nature as a trans person. Hungry Summer covers some of the same territory with regard to gender and identity through magical realism, but this time the focus is entirely different. The main character of the comic is a bike-riding, shape-changing Baba Yaga, the Eastern European supernatural figure. Always an ambiguous figure, encounters with her often result in both good and ill.
You can read the whole review here!


Saturn Return #6: Exposure

Finally back after a few weeks off! You can start from the beginning here.

-Whit Taylor


I just did my first comic strip restaurant review for Twin Cities Daily Planet - this entry is on JL Beers in NE Minneapolis. More to come!


Poster by Mike Russell

Come celebrate the anniversary of one of Portland’s finest comic shops!

It’s been insane with giveaways, awesome cosplay, comic art, signings, comics and lots of fun. Check out the Excalibur Books & Comics website for a full schedule and all the information you could need! 

“I look forward to the time when honest depictions of women’s bodies are a normal thing to look at, instead of some kind of statement.”—Anya Ulinich

“At their best, autobiographical stories allow us to experience empathy for others and perhaps learn something new about ourselves. If that’s empowering young female creators to talk openly about their lives (sexual and otherwise), great. If that’s opening a window for dialogue about the female experience in the context of a largely white, male-dominated field? Also great.” —Lucy Bellwood

“In my early comics, all of my girl characters were super idealized and cute — they looked how I wished I could look.” —Megan Kelso

“I like to have fun with conventional images of what ‘beautiful’ and ‘feminine’ mean to this culture… I think many women have a lot of ambiguity about their self image.” —Roberta Gregory