My next post will cover the awesomeness that was SPX, but I want to touch on something else first. This weekend the independent comic book community lost a cherished member. Dylan Williams, founder of Sparkplug Comics, lost his life to cancer at the age of 39. To give you a background on Sparkplug, it is a small publishing and distribution company based in Portland, OR that promotes independent works from various comic book artists. Sparkplug is unique in that it seeks out many underrepresented artists and looks for a diversity of work. Dylan had a unique eye and appreciation for lesser known talents with a different type of story to tell.
I first wrote to Sparkplug in 2008, when I sent them my first minicomic Reality Televisionary. I wasn't expecting to hear anything back, but received a lovely note from intern Austin English who told me that I didn't know how good my figure drawing was, but that I needed to "complete my work". At first I didn't know what this meant, but learned that I needed to do more shading and coloring to polish the look. Some of the best advice I received.
Since then, I've sent Sparkplug my comics regularly and had the pleasure of meeting Dylan a few times. Last year at MOCCA Fest in NYC, I visited the Sparkplug table with the hope of buying some comics and giving them a copy of my latest minicomic. When I went to hand Dylan my comic, he said "You don't have to buy stuff anymore. Let's trade. I'm a fan of your work". That must have made my comicon. It felt great to be appreciated by someone who I respected so much.
Dylan had been battling cancer for a few years and seemed to be OK, but announced to his Facebook friends about a month and a half ago that he was battling cancer again. I sent my condolences and rallied with the indie comic book community to support him and help him pay his medical bills by buying from Sparkplug. The amount of solidarity in the community was heartwarming. I went to SPX this weekend and felt sad that he wasn't behind the Sparkplug booth as usual. When I got home at midnight last night and checked my Facebook, I noticed from Austin English's post that something was wrong. I later found out that Dylan had passed.
I never knew you that well Dylan, but I want to thank you for all the work you have done for the comic book community. I'm sad that you won't be around to do more and keep building a body of comics for your company. And personally, I'm honored to have met you and received your support. My condolences for your family.
I urge you to continue to support Sparkplug: http://www.sparkplugcomicbooks.com/