September 16, 2011
This past weekend while waiting with hundreds of other cartoonists to go into the Ignatz awards at SPX in Bethesda, I was told that my friend Dylan Williams publisher of Sparkplug comics had died. He had been sick and the comics community had been coming together to support him and his company. I honestly could not imagine this happening. I expected he would pull through and continue publishing and discovering amazing talent for years to come. I’m here now, sitting on my couch writing this heartbroken.
Dylan was probably the most sincere and selfless man I have ever met in my life. I couldn’t believe how much credit he deserved and didn’t seek out. It was so strange to myself, a young man who wants credit even when it isn’t due at all, that Dylan honestly didn’t care for awards or fame. Dylan was a teacher of comics to me and countless other young cartoonists. The last time I saw him, I was sleeping on his living room floor in Portland for the few days that John Porcellino and I were in town. I swear to god the entire time I was there he was pulling books and comics off of shelves for me to read or take home. I snuck into his office one afternoon and saw how loaded the room was with books, comics, and mini comics. It was really a sight. He discovered great cartoonists. In fact, most of the incredible talent in comics has a Dylan Williams story. We’re all linked to him somehow. He distributed Blammo for me really early on, before anybody else had, and encouraged me constantly to keep going with my comics. He gave me excellent constructive criticism with every new issue I put out and I looked forward to his response to my new stories. Whenever I left town to go on tour or go to a convention Dylan was sure to already be there. Breathing and exhaling comics. Dylan was the man.
I’m not sure if this is okay to do- I mean posting this autobiographical comic by Dylan below, but it’s one of my favorites from him and want people to read it. For a man who was famously closed mouthed about himself, this comic exposes who he was and surprised me when I had first read it. It’s published in Windy Corner magazine by Austin English and you can buy it and other comics that Dylan published here: Sparkplugcomicbooks.com
Finally, here is an unfinished comic page from a tour comic I was working on that featured an encounter I had with Dylan in Minneapolis. At the time I was working on this, I thought about how funny it was going to be to put Dylan in my comic, knowing that he probably would rather not be in it at all. He wouldn’t care for the attention given to him personally. I abandoned this particular page. Maybe I’ll finish it sometime.
Rest in peace my friend. Everybody loves you.