We all knew it was a possibility, certainly, but I don’t think any of us really expected it to happen — I know I certainly didn’t. After asking cartoonists to recommend their favorite Sparkplug titles (which we continue to whole-heartedly recommend, of course), we got a note from Dylan Williams’ close friend, cartoonist Tom Neely, letting us know that Williams was doing well, was in good spirits, and was genuinely touched by the outpouring of support and love directed toward him and Sparkplug. And besides, Williams had already tackled this before, and was seemingly stronger before it.
Most of us heard the news on Saturday night, as many of our friends and colleagues were prepping for the Ignatz awards, a celebration of the industry to which he’d devoted his life — an event it no doubt pained Williams to have to skip. And despite all the evidence, disbelief was my first reaction, finding out the news in Twitter of all places.
There’s just not enough space to list the reasons why Williams was important and well-loved–in an industry so fueled by internal drama, it’s hard nearly impossible to find someone who’s managed to come out of the relentless gossip unscathed, but I can honestly say that, in all of my years in comics, I’ve never heard a negative word spoken about Dylan Williams. He was, so far as I can tell, universally loved in this world. Williams devoted his life to alternative comics and his love for the medium shone through some of the most important indie titles of the past decade and projects like the Portland Zine Symposium.
Williams seemed a perpetual positive character both at shows and through all of our interactions online as a supporter of what we do here, and, as evidenced by Neely’s note, it was a positivity that Williams carried with him until his much too early end.
Baffled by how to approach such a loss, I reached out to some mutual friends (Williams had plenty of those), asking for stories and remembrances to help us drive home just how important he was to all of us and the community we love. There was, not surprisingly, an outpouring of grief on the subject — also not surprising is the fact that many folks are still processing the whole thing and attempting to figure out how to address the matter. We’ve collected a few responses below, plus memorials from cartoonists’ personal blogs.
And for those still looking for the right words, we’ll continue to build out the list for as long as people have additions. Please add your own in the comments below.
Attending the book release party for the last volume of Old Jewish Comedians was one of the great pleasure I’ve been afforded thanks to this site. The event, fittingly, was held in the legendary Friars Club in midtown Manhattan, with the likes of Joe Franklin, Mickey Freeman, Larry Storch, and Jerry Stiller all present to celebrate the Drew Friedman’s collection of comic portraits.
Earlier this month, Fantagraphics released the third and final entry in the series, yet another tribute to the cartoonist’s love of capturing every wrinkle and liver spot of a well-seasoned face.
We sat down with Friedman to discuss the new collection and the club’s place in comedy history.
Darryl Ayo writes “Freestyle Friday” for Comix Cube. He loves discovering artists that he didn’t know about before.
Lunch Break is a short round-up of favorite webcomics appearing here each weekday at noon. Here’s something for you to enjoy over your lunch break or whenever. The premise is simple: it’s another day on the internet. Here’s a new or forgotten comic that seems interesting.
We’d love to have you guest edit Lunch Break! Check out the Contribute page for more information.
- Lovely Day by NikkiNack // May 28, 2011
- New Nose by Brandon Graham // May 27, 2011 NSFW
- m – salatis – arrival by Sloane Leong // February 9, 2011
- Making Tortillas” by KickSatanOut // October 11, 2010
- PC: Sexy Grocery Shopping by David E. Belton II // May 27, 2011 NSFW
— Sarah Morean
I wasn’t even supposed to be here today—not in this city, not in this country. I had big plans for staging a Read Comics in Public Day photo at Newark Airport, or maybe in a plane over the Atlantic on the way to Berlin. We’ll all have to settle for the above shot taken atop a table in a bagel shop in Astoria, Queens. But even with that pang of disappointment in mind, there’s something oddly romantic about the concept of reading comics at the end of the world.
The worst of Irene has passed over us, but it’s still ominous out there, all windy and gray and wet, pieces of trees in the street and the fronts of numerous stores still taped and boarded. The subways are still blocked off, so there’s not a lot of opportunity to leave my neighborhood, so for today’s second annual RCiPD, it was just me, an everything bagel, and a copy of D&Q’s upcoming Daybreak collection—an appropriate choice, given the chaos outside.
Images of the event have been pouring in all day, and from the looks of it, our friends across the globe have been faring much better than us. We’ve received submissions from Germany, Brazil, the Philippines, all over the US, and more. And we’re expecting the images to keep coming in, as the day progresses, given the tremendous feedback we’ve seen with the countless planned meetups.
I’ve pulled a few favorites from today’s event (so far). Please check them out, after the break. And a special thanks to Wired, USA Today, Comics Alliance, and all the other countless people and publications who have spread the word this year.
Categories: Guest Strip
Tags: Art Buddies, Popcorn Toons, Scott Mikesh
Scott Mikesh is an independent illustrator and visual communications designer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After 12 years in corporate marketing and communications, Scott headed out on his own to form Scott Mikesh Creative, a freelance agency that provides eye-catching icons, characters, portraits, comic strips, storyboards and décor.
Scott’s first weekly web comic Popcorn Toons features a cast of modern-day characters including two best girlfriends, two dogs, and a robot named A.R.T. The characters were inspired by his own nieces and family dogs. The name of the strip is also an homage to one of Scott’s icons and role models, the late great Charles “Sparky” Schultz, who was originally from the Twin Cities area. Born and raised in Fargo, North Dakota, Scott recently discovered that he had coincidentally taken art classes when he was 12 from the same correspondence art school where Charles Schultz originally received his art education and later taught.
Scott is also involved with a local youth art mentor program called Art Buddies that pairs professionals from the commercial design industry with inner-city kids to explore their own creativity and expose them to career opportunities in the creative field. He is working with Art Buddies this fall to expand the program to Bancroft Elementary School in South Minneapolis.