Sparkplug Comic Books
StatusDefunct (2016)
FounderDylan Williams
Country of originU.S.A.
Headquarters locationPortland, Oregon
Key peopleVirginia Paine, Tom Neely
Publication typesComic books, graphic novels
Fiction genresAlternative

Sparkplug Comic Books is a defunct publisher and distributor of alternative comics founded by cartoonist Dylan Williams.[1] Based in Portland, Oregon, the company operated from 2002 to 2016. The publisher's backlist is now handled by Alternative Comics.

Cartoonists published by Sparkplug included Austin English, Jason Shiga, Renée French, Julia Gfrörer, Katie Skelly, Juliacks, Yumi Sakugawa, Whit Taylor, Elijah Brubaker, and Jeff LeVine.

Sparkplug eschewed traditional distributors and comic book retailers; instead focusing on festivals, conventions, and direct sales through the company website.[1]


One of Sparkplug's first projects, Jason Shiga's Fleep, was the 2003 Eisner Award winner for Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition. (Shiga's Bookhunter, published in 2007, was also nominated for a couple of industry awards.)

From 2008 to 2015 Sparkplug co-published annual mini-comic anthologies in commemoration of Free Comic Book Day; they were always produced in partnership with Tim Goodyear's company Teenage Dinosaur as well as other Portland-area small-press publishers.

Sparkplug founder Dylan Williams died of leukemia in September 2011;[1] three projects were published posthumously via the crowdfunding site IndieGoGo.[2]

After Williams' death, the company was run as a trio by Virginia Paine, Tom Neely, and Williams' widow Emily Nillson. Paine took over as sole publisher of Sparkplug in 2013.[3][4]

Sparkplug shut down in June 2016, with the company's backlist moving to Alternative Comics.[5]


Ongoing titles

  1. Hungry Summer (2014) – Asher Craw
  2. The Anthropologists (2014) – Whit Taylor
  3. Bird Girl and Fox Girl (2014) – Yumi Sakugawa
  4. Ce/Za – Suzette Smith (2015)
  5. A Wretch Like Me (Oct. 2015) – Ebin Lee

Graphic novels, anthologies, collections, and one-shots

Free Comic Book Day mini-comic anthologies



  1. ^ a b c d Spurgeon, Tom. "Dylan Williams, 1970-2011," The Comics Reporter (September 18, 2011).
  2. ^ Parkin, J. K. (March 19, 2012). "Sparkplug turns to IndieGoGo to fund three final Dylan Williams projects". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
  3. ^ MacDonald, Heidi. Virginia Paine to take over Sparkplug Books; business to continue as usual," The Beat (April 20, 2013).
  4. ^ MacDonald, Heidi. "Sparkplug Books announces the end of REICH for 2014 and a fundraiser," The Beat (Dec. 18, 2013).
  5. ^ MacDonald, Heidi. "Sparkplug Books Shutting Down This Summer," The Beat (Feb. 18, 2016).
  6. ^ Clough, Rob. "Public Service: Dope Flounder," The Comics Journal (July 10, 2010).

Sources consulted