Tag Archives: distribution

News Roundup: Alvin Buenaventura, Sparkplug, Sick by Gabby Schulz

It’s been a while since I’ve done one these “news roundups.” But it’s been an eventful and heavy week, so I had to.


Like so many in my community, I was shocked and saddened by the untimely death of Alvin Buenaventura. As far as I know, the only one to publically call his death a suicide is Tim Hensley, who Alvin was publishing in his last days. It’s the sad conclusion that many of us had already made. (I borrowed the above photo from Tim’s post.)

Alvin was a fine art publisher and a meticulous perfectionist. His press great right out of gate: Spaniel Rage by Vanessa Davis was the first graphic novel from Buenaventura Press, and one my favorites. Other cartoonists he publish include Souther Salazar, Matt Furie, and Lisa Hanawalt. Probably his most well-known publication was Kramers Ergot #7, a beautiful and immense (16″x 21″) anthology edited by Sammy Harkham. Buenaventura Press closed not long after for unspecified legal and financial problems (which I speculate may have been tied the the extreme expense of Kramers Ergot 7 and other high fidelity projects).


Alvin reemerged with Pigeon Press, which focused on fine art production and even smaller print runs. The future of the press, its remaining stock, and the books in production is unknown.

Alvin published some of the most beautiful comics of the last decade, and he didn’t even consider himself an artist. He was only 39. I’m so sorry he’s gone. Here’s a great remembrance by Daniel Clowes.



Virginia Paine at Sparkplug Comic Books announced that the press will be closing this year. Sparkplug has been around for fourteen years, making it one of the longest running micro-presses on my list. It was started in 2002 by Dylan Williams. Like Alvin Buenaventura, Dylan also died at age 39, but of cancer. It was the first time a peer from my comics community had died. Before that, this little world felt somewhat invincible to me.

After his death, Dylan’s wife Emily Nillson ran the press with Tom Neely. Virginia Paine took over publishing duties in 2013. I like how the press was developing, and you could discern a character in content and design that was her own. But running the press while holding down a job and creating her own artwork became too demanding for Virginia. The bright side is that Sparplug’s backstock will be absorbed by Alternative Comics, who is doing a great job of distributing work from all corners of the small press comics world.

Sick-CoverTo end on a high note, Gabby Schulz (aka Ken Dahl) just announced that we can expect a new graphic novel from him this spring. Secret Acres is publishing his latest work, Sick, and also bringing his previous work, Monsters, back into print. Both will be available in bookstores all over the country thanks to Secret Acres’ recent deal with Consortium Press. Consortium is really making a bid to be the bookstore distributor of small press comics publishers. I hope it pays off.


Micro-Press Yearbook 2014 Available for Order

(Sorry for the long absence. I’ve just returned from a comic historian’s dream vacation, to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum. More on that soon!)


I’ve sent out all my Kickstarter awards (thanks again, guys!) and the Micro-Press Yearbook 2014 can now be ordered at my store. Just five bucks, plus shipping.

This issue was a more ambitious (and time-consuming) project than last year’s. It’s now 32 pages and full color. Inside you’ll find an article about distribution by Whit Taylor, an interview with kuš! publisher David Schilter by Rob Kirby, and all the 2014 data I could gather. There’s even a map by Cadu França charting where US micro-presses are located, state by state. This awesome cover is by Box Brown.

Thanks, and enjoy. I hope to get on a more steady Tiny Report schedule soon.


Consortium to Distribute Alternative and Secret Acres



I just read some pretty big news from Heidi MacDonald at Publisher’s Weekly. Alternative Comics and Secret Acres have just joined Consortium, one of the major distributors that caters to independent publishers and independent bookstores. Alternative and Secret Acres joined the ranks of former micro-presses Uncivilized Books and Koyama Press, who have also made the move. Toon Books also joined Consortium this year, so it’s clear the distributor is interested in adding graphic novels to their catalog.

This begs the question (to me, at least), are Alternative Comics and Secret Acres still micro-presses? Many people define a micro-press by its distribution: a small publisher that does not have commercial bookstore distribution is a micro-press. My definition is a little more complicated, but I agree distribution is key. I concede that Uncivilized and Koyama are no longer micro-presses, primarily because of their bookstore distribution.

In the end, this  definition might not matter. I am interested in Koyama, Uncivilized, Alternative, and Secret Acres. I’ll continue to talk about them at The Tiny Report, and I’ll probably keep them on my micro-press list too. If they’re not micro-presses, their close enough to be relevant to this conversation.

Congratulations, Alternative Comics and Secret Acres! More people need to be reading your books, and you can bet that’s what’s going to happen.


Radiator Comics, a New Small Press Distro

radiatortype2There is a new small press distributor on the scene. Neil Brideau has just announced Radiator Comics, which he describes as a “minicomics distribution company.” You might have met Neil if you’ve ever visited Quimby’s (where he works) or attended CAKE or Chicago Zine Fest (both of which he helped found). I think all that experience will prove useful to this new project.

Radiator currently has 85 titles by 22 authors, and promises to add titles weekly. Since distribution is one of the biggest challenges of micro-publishing, this can only be good thing.

Birthday Sale at Impossible Books, this Week Only


Impossible Books is an indie distributor based in London (and so this sale will be most useful to those in the UK). They have excellent taste, and micro-pub fans will recognize many of their favorite publishers (Koyama, Retrofit, Oily, Youth in Decline etc.).

Impossible currently has 347 (!) books in their catalog, quite a number. This week only, 101 of those titles are discounted from 9% to 33%.

Since I live in America, I don’t think I’ll be making an order anytime soon. But I will be keeping and eye on their blog, which profiles the new titles and is updated frequently.

New Books from Domino Books Distro

Austin English just announced several new titles in the Domino Book distro, including the zine by James Ulmer pictured below.

Austin publishes a number of titles each year through his micro-press, Domino Books, and he distributes quite a few more. Domino is one of the best one-stop-shops for micro-pubs that could be described as avant-garde and hard to find, and they have a good selection of titles by non-American artists.


The Complete Tarn and BBB’s April Line-Up

Indie distributor Birdcage Bottom Books is releasing its latest published work, a 5-issue set of Tarn by Sam Spina. Each issue is 12 pages and each is printed locally on a different color of recycled paper. It’s available for pre-order now.



Wow, Birdcage Bottom is pretty interesting. It’s primarily a 1-man distributing empire, with a small bit of publishing too. As far as I can tell, it’s a viable (though, I’m guessing, modest) business endeavour. Proprietor J.T. Yost really gets the social media thing, and has designed a lovely website to boot. He runs Birdcage Bottom with an entrepreneurial zeal that’s rare in minicomics.

J.T. also announced the latest titles in his distro, which you can find here.

Ritual #3 Available for Pre-Order

Revival House will debut the third issue of Malachi Ward’s Ritual #3 on June 25th. I like creative, non-mainstream takes on sci-fi, so I enjoyed the first two issues of this series (I also like David Nuss as a publisher and I pick up his books whenever I can). But what really excites me is this: Alternative Comics will be distributing this book. It’s even being listed in Previews (Order Code: APR140824). These days, Diamond is a hard nut to crack for small publishers. This offers a glimmer of hope. (Though, what we really need is a major indie distributor).

It’s also nice to see that the new Alternative Comics (under Marc Arsenault) is playing one of the roles of the old Alternative Comics (under Jeff Mason): providing a distribution method available to him, a largish-small publisher, that is not available to us, the very small publishers.


Ritual 3