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Critic Rob Clough reports that Dylan Williams, the publisher of the idiosyncratic small-press outfit Sparkplug Comic Books, is dealing with a serious health crisis. And as with many problems involving people who’ve dedicated their lives to this art form, there’s a win-win solution: You can help support Dylan financially simply by buying some of Sparkplug’s awesome comic books.
Which ones, you ask? Good question! My first and foremost recommendation would be John Hankiewicz’s Asthma, one of the very best comics by anyone since the turn of the millennium — a cutting, haunting masterpiece of image-making and image-juxtaposing that’s one of the rare instances where calling it “comics as poetry” doesn’t make you feel like an idiot. There’s also Chris Cilla’s The Heavy Hand, a funny, foul-mouthed and strange science-fiction comic, or Inkweed by Chris Wright, a stunningly well-written short story collection about Muppet-like monsters in very human struggles.
Williams does important work with Sparkplug, putting out work of sparkling intelligence, with visuals that run the risk of not having a built-in audience for them. By publishing what he publishes he seeks to create that audience. That takes guts, putting your money where your mind is like that, and Dylan deserves to be rewarded for it, in sickness or in health. Right now, it’s in sickness, which makes buying his books an even better idea.