Dylan Williams

Dylan Williams, the publisher of Sparkplug Comic Books, has died of cancer. He was 39.

I didn’t know Dylan like many of the people offering heartfelt tributes did. I knew him to say hello, and we exchanged emails about Sparkplug’s releases from time to time. But I didn’t need to know him to be stunned by this news and to mourn this loss.

Only recently, as Sparkplug has published more work and I’ve read more of it, did I realize how valuable that publisher is to alternative comics, and how singular a role it plays. The visual style of most of the Sparkplug releases I’ve seen is demanding of the audience, and not in any kind of fashionable way that could help get them over. And the intelligence of the writing behind them, even the ones that didn’t necessarily click with me, is really incandescent; more thought and effort has gone into it than might instantly be reciprocated or rewarded by the reading and buying public.

Simply put, I don’t think a home for many of these creators and comics would have existed anywhere if Dylan Williams hadn’t created it. That’s not something I would say about very many other publishers today, even publishers I really love. Sparkplug is one of a kind, and it’s no great leap to suggest that the man behind Sparkplug must have been one of a kind as well.

Chris Mautner has an obituary. Tom Spurgeon has an authoritative list of links. Austin English, Levon Jihanian, Minty Lewis, John Hankiewicz, and Brett Warnock offer moving testimonials to their colleague and friend.

3 Responses to Dylan Williams

  1. Davey Oil says:

    One of the kindest people in minicomics. Back when I was making a buncha comics and shoving them at people at shows, Dylan made room for me at his table, gave me kind and helpful advice and made the supportive noises and friendly gestures that really helped me get over my initial fears.
    Dylan was also one of the most fun people to talk to about any era of comics history. He had Maurice Horn’s mistakes cataloged on filecards in his brain and Bill Blackbeard’s black beard growing in a jar of knowledge and jokes he could uncap at any time. Not a showy or pretentious fella, but a gentleman and a pro. I really liked Dylan and I am sorry to see him leave this plane so soon. My heart goes out to those who knew him better and those who love him and who will miss him. All those who love comics should be glad we ever had a Dylan. Cheers, Bro!

  2. [...] creator John Porcellino, The Daily Cross Hatch’s Brian Heater and our own Matt Seneca and Sean T. Collins remember Williams, while Tom Spurgeon has a collection of more posts and memories from around the [...]

  3. [...] As I said in my own tribute, I feel that I only truly wised up to how valuable a publisher Williams really was shortly before the announcement that he was gravely ill. It’s a great regret that I never got the chance to corner him at a con and give him the “Wow, great job, man” he deserved. But lots and lots of people in comics had that chance, and more besides. Below, I’ve pulled a selection of snippets from longer tributes written by such people. [...]