Did you know that Dayton has its own independent comic book company? Sparkle Comics is a local publisher that brings readers comics based on old school properties and horror films.
“Our slogan sums up why we actually do it,” says Sparkle Comics owner Matthew Brassfield. “‘Comics made by friends for fans.’”
Brassfield founded Sparkle Comics with friend and fellow comics enthusiast Jason Young in late 2016. The two already had a history of making comic books.
“When I was a kid, I had a ongoing comic that I would make called 'Robo Raccoon.'” Brassfield told Dayton.com. “It was about a space adventure raccoon, much like Rocket Raccoon, who would team up with other space tie-ins. So one issue would have like Boba Fett from Star Wars in it. And then the next issue would have Frankenstein's monster and all kinds of stuff.”
Jason Young, who has worked at Maverick’s Cards and Comics in Kettering for over a decade, has also made comics for most of his life.
Brassfield and Young were working on a book together when the idea came to them—why not produce a line of high quality, professional comic books with all the talented friends they know?
“During one of our meetings, while we were scribbling down notes and story ideas, we came up with the idea of seeing if our like-minded friends wanted to join us and start making comics based on toys and horror movie films and stuff that we love,” Brassfield recalls.
Sparkle Comics has since released original titles as well as books based on toys from the ‘80s such as Defenders of the Planets and Adventure Man. The company has also produced comics with a Dayton connection, such as Wolf Hunter, which is based on a Dayton-made 2001 B horror movie.
The company has also released over a half-dozen titles as part of their adult imprint, Blood Scream Comics. The sister brand specializes in comics based on horror movies and other books with adult themes and situations.
Brassfield says he and Young have a simple goal with their comic books.
“When we are gone, we want these comics to be discovered by new readers for generations and centuries.”
To help acheive this goal, he says Sparkle Comics puts 100% of their profits back into the company.
“Everything that we make just helps Sparkle Comics to keep going,” he explains.
All that hard work is starting to pay off for Sparkle Comics. Brassfield says he and Young have gotten a lot of great feedback.
“We get a lot of great support from readers, or as we call them, ‘Sparklers,’” Brassfield says. “The overwhelming response has been all positive. People are excited when we release books. And outside of Dayton and Ohio, we have gotten great responses. We've had people order our stuff literally all over the world.”
Brassfield says Sparkle Comics has a bunch of good stuff coming down the pike. Such as Licántropo, which is set to be released in time for Gem City Comic Con this month.
“Licántropo is based on the work of Paul Naschy, who is like Spain's Boris Karloff basically,” Brassfield says. “We're also working on our first original title for Blood Scream Comics, which is called The Book of Whoa! It’s like a Tales from the Crypt horror anthology kind of book.”
According to Brassfield, right now is a great time to get into comics, which are in the midst of a resurgence in popularity thanks to the Marvel Studios films and a rise in “geek” culture in general.
“I think comics are on an upswing again. For a while, comics had slid down the priority pole of entertainment because of the gluttony of the ‘90s when they had all these gimmicks. ‘The Death of Superman’ and things like that. I think people got burnt by that, so there was a dip for a while, but I do think that it's on an upswing again,” Brassfield says.
“But we are also now seeing a rise in independent comics, not your Marvel and DC, but guys who are doing it themselves and delivering high quality comics to readers. There's the mainstream comics that are bringing people in, but then they're discovering these independents.”
Sparkle Comics are available at local comic book shops and at SparkleComics.com.
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