With the popularity of “The Walking Dead” television show, based on the graphic novel series of the same name, it’s no surprise that there’s a growing interest in graphic novels and comic books by readers and story lovers who are new to this art form.
However, for several Dayton-area creators of a new comic book publisher, the love of comics is nothing new.
“Comics have been part of my life since I was 5 years old,” says Matt Brassfield, Dayton resident and founder/co-owner of Sparkle Comics (www.sparklecomics.com). “I grew up in a fairly small town — Waynesville — and I remember being excited about going to the grocery because it meant getting a new comic book. My parents and brother really got me into comics.”
Though Matt cites Captain America and The Hulk as two of his childhood favorites, he now greatly appreciates independent, or underground, comics like the ones Sparkle Comics is publishing. Matt, who is a store manager at Game Swap in Kettering, also owns and operates an independent film company, Bloodline Video, and produces “Terrifying Tales of the Macabre,” a late-night horror host show on DATV. (Learn more at www.terrifyingtalesofthemacabre.com).
The debut publication of Sparkle Comics, “Shocking Macabre Theater #1,” launched in December 2016 and includes a wrap-around story for three independent stories, including Baron Von Porkchop from Terrifying Tales of the Macabre, Dr. Creep, Geraldo, and A. Ghastlee Ghoul. Writers for the issue are Matt, as well as Damien Brunk and Bob Hinton; Damien was the artist; Juliet Fromholt adapted the stories for the panels and did the lettering.
“Comics are a unique genre of literature,” Matt says. “In one way, they are novels with pictures. But they’re also like a movie story — only with still pictures. Unlike with movies, the budget is minimal, and the imagination of the artist brings the words of the writer to life.”
Jason Young, who works as a manager at Maverick’s Cards and Comics, is creating the artwork for an upcoming comic, due out this spring, “Defenders of the Planets #1.”
“What I love about underground or indie comics is that there is no corporate agenda behind what’s published,” says Jason. “Artists and writers work on these books in their spare time, and out of love for the genre and for creating. Sometimes they work alone, but sometimes it’s a bunch of friends getting together, so there’s a community aspect.”
Sparkle Comics certainly embraces the community aspect — about a dozen friends, who are artists, writers or both, are working on creating comic book series, with the hope of launching four comics per year in various series. As the independent comic book company’s website states: “We make comics by friends, for fans, and span the genres of action, adventure, fantasy, and horror for pre-teens and up.”
Currently, issues of the debut comic book are available at area comic book stores, including Game Swap; Maverick’s; Super-Fly Comics and Games; Bell, Book & Comic; and Jim & Dan’s Comics. Soon, Matt says, fans will be able to order copies via Sparkle Comic’s website.
In the meantime, keep up with the company’s newest publications via its website, www.sparklecomics.com, or its website, www.facebook.com/SparkleComics.
UPCOMING LITERARY EVENTS
· Sunday, Jan. 15, 2-3:30 p.m., Books & Co. at The Greene — the Antioch Writers’ Workshop (www.antiochwritersworkshop.com) will sponsor its first Free Mini-Writers’ Workshop of the year, on the topic of “Point of View” led by author Rebecca Morean (www.ramorean.com). The event is free and open to the public.
· Sunday, Jan. 15, 2-3:30 p.m., Wright Memorial Public Library (1776 Far Hills Avenue, Oakwood) — Jennifer Sommer will present a session on “Writing in Dialect: A Study for Writers.”
· Tuesday, Jan. 17, 7-8:30 p.m. Wright Memorial Public Library — The Wright Library Poets will meet to share poetry and hone craft. Poets of all levels are welcome. For more information, contact Elizabeth Schmidt, Schmidt@wrightlibrary.org, or call 294-7171.
· Wednesday, Jan. 18, 6:30 p.m., Books & Co. at The Greene — Kristin Bailey introduces her newest children’s novel, “The Silver Gate.” Kristin’s first novel was “Legacy of the Clockwork Key.” She briefly lived in the Dayton area.
· Friday, Jan. 20, 7 p.m., Books & Co. at The Greene — Chris Bohjalian will introduce his new novel, “The Sleepwalker.”