Sparkplug Comics needs your help!

While working at Meltdown Comics a year and a half ago, I found myself squirreling away a copy of everything new from Portland-based Sparkplug Comics. You could find me devouring their comics while things were slow at the register, or putting down my hard-earned cash for a copy I could call my own.  So when I saw Sparkplug’s application to table at this past LA Zine Fest, I already knew Zine Fest was gonna rule!

If you’re not familiar with Sparkplug, now’s your chance. Sparkplug has 30 days left to reach their goal of $11,800 on Indiegogo and they are almost halfway there! They’ll be using the money to fund the three final publishing projects that Sparkplug founder, Dylan Williams, worked on before he passed from cancer in September 2011: Nurse Nurse, by Katie Skelly, Reich, a series by Elijah Brubaker, and The Golem of Gabirol by Olga Volozova. Depending on your level of contribution, you can choose to receive all three (and then some!) when they are published. And I betcha a million bucks, it’s worth it.

Check out their Indiegogo & contribute today!

Shelf Life 2: March 24, 2012

One of the advantages of having an event like the L.A. Zine Fest is that you are offered an opportunity to meet like-minded people who tell you about new and interesting events.   One such event is Shelf Life 2 at USC, which is free and open to the public.

In a nutshell….

SMART, fun, cool, STRANGE, beautiful, OUTRAGEOUS, idiosyncratic, rare, limited, low-run, HARD-TO-FIND, much-coveted, and bound-to-become important BOOKS, MAGAZINES, and objects from many of the finest INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS, ARTISTS, and VENDORS around.
// Throughout the day
Harris Hall and Watt Hall Courtyards…

…An eclectic marketplace featuring publishers, artists, designers and their merchandise. This will be an opportunity for the event’s participants to show (and sign!) their books, magazines, and journals, and it will provide a platform for an even more diverse group of artists, publishers, and vendors to participate. Interesting crowd, interesting vendors, and interesting conversations.

In order to ensure that there are some very interesting conversations, Shelf Life has assembled a killer list of guest speakers and workshops.  The workshops at this event range from a discussion with Slake Magazine on the importance of narrative (a hands-on element is implied!) to an opportunity to make a collage that will become part of a collaborative zine with Beautiful/Decay.  Plus, Chip Kidd in the flesh!  His book covers are incredible, and his novels are capable of lighting a fire under the butts of procrastinating artists of all media.  Check the website for details on all workshops.

We’re very happy to learn that some of our LAZF presenters will be tabling at the event, like Amy Fortunato and Lee Noble of No Kings Record Cadre, Simon Sotelo, Champoy Hate, and JT Steiny, but we’re always looking forward to meeting new, talented people (maybe future LAZF attendees?)

RSVP and get event updates on Facebook

Big Saturday Night!

Alex Chiu

What a week! We made buttons, we bought TONS of zines, we saw some great live music, and we had our picture taken with a giant zine.  We hope you found some great new places to hang out or a new favorite zine!

This Saturday’s events promise to be a great way to end a week chockfull of great things to do and fun places to do them. This Saturday brings events from Alex Chiu, Champoy Hate, AND Daryl Gussin. We don’t know about you, but we are dead set on going to all three. It can be done!

Razorcake, run by Daryl Gussin

Getting To Know Your Local Zinester: James The Stanton

James The Stanton

What was your first zine about and when was it made?
The first zine that I made was called “The First Book of Gnar” and I printed it in the Summer of 2007 while I was living in Eugene, OR. It was a hodgepodge of a bunch of different comics and cartoons that I had been working on over the years prior to putting the book together. It featured a 14-page comic about an Elvis impersonator named Archibald Duke who hits rock bottom in the world of door-to-door vacuum salespersons and decides to move to the outskirts of Las Vegas to fulfill his ‘pre-determined destiny’ as a born again rock and roll musician impersonator.

Describe your most recent zine.
My most recent zine is a comic book called “Takilma”, and it’s an illustrated version of a dark and spooky dream that a friend of mine told me about. This book differs greatly from what is typical of my work in terms of both the rendering style and overall tone of the story. I drew “Takilma” in a sort of realism style and the tone of the book is very dark, which stands in stark contrast to my cartoon stories and jokes that often aim toward ridiculousness. The story takes place in rural Southern Oregon and it includes drawings of wildlife and the scenic countryside of the Siskiyou Mountains. The book, alike all of my recent books, features a hand-printed linocut cover that is signed and numbered.

Of all the things you’ve ever made, zine-related or otherwise, what’s your one favorite? 
My favorite project is usually the one that I’m currently working on, right now that happens to be a web-comic series that I’m running on my blog ( called “Agthbar the Extemporaneous”. I recently made an entire website devoted to Agthbar (, where people can easily read all of the back episodes to the series and get caught up quickly. The comic series features stimulating art with bright colors while the story follows philosophical lines of reasoning that get all twisted up into a balls of madness. The comic has to do with time and our concept of it, thus I couldn’t help but play around the sequencing of the comic episodes in order to manipulate time travel for the character, it’s been a really fun project for me.

What do you do when you’re not creating and how does it help or harm what you do artistically?
I like to brew beer and make lots of pizzas. The pizza feeds me so that I can draw more comics and cartoons. The homebrew does more harm than good for my work, but I love it just the same and I think that it’s important to have an ‘off-switch’ if you’re someone like me who is almost always working on creative endeavors. It’s easy to forget to take breaks when you’re doing something you love, sometimes my social life is hindered by my desire to work nonstop – beer helps me get out of the studio and talk to people, which is good for me and my work in the scheme of things.

Getting To Know Your Local Zinester: Jed McGowan

Jed McGowan

Comics, Zines, Prints

What was your first zine about and when was it made?
It’s hard to remember…I think it was a short comic about an “alien babe” that I made with a childhood friend.

Describe your most recent zine.
It’s called “Work and Play” and it consists of short, (mostly) wordless comics.

Name three of your influences and how they affected your work.
I make comics but I usually look to other mediums for inspiration: animation, illustration, literature.

What do you do when you’re not creating and how does it help or harm what you do artistically?
I try to learn about stuff. Right now I’m learning about astronomy.