Special Announcement: The Dylan Williams Collection

On behalf of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, I’m thrilled to announce the establishment of The Dylan Williams Collection of small press and self published works. Please read the collection policy below for more information.

The Dylan Williams Collection Development Policy

The purpose of the Dylan Williams Collection at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is to strengthen and modernize our representation of the contemporary small press comics community. Although our collection currently features a diverse selection of historical self-published works, the Dylan Williams Collection will continually target and support emerging artists in the alternative comics field. We are proud to honor small press publisher, comics historian and cartoonist Dylan Williams with the namesake of this collection.

A. Namesake

Dylan Williams, Sparkplug Comics publisher, cartoonist, comics advocate and historian passed away on September 10th, 2011 after a long battle with Leukemia. In congruence with the one year anniversary of his death, the Dylan Williams Collection is to be established and announced at the 2012 Small Press Expo. This collection, curated to focus on items and publishers with a strong DIY ethic, is astutely named in Dylan’s honor as he was an essential part of the DIY community. Beyond his leadership as a small press publisher, Dylan was a constant advocate of under-appreciated artists, and a champion of raising awareness of cartoon art history among his contemporaries. As a friend and disciple of Bill Blackbeard, whose San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection resides here at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, a collection in Dylan’s name also serves as a fitting acknowledgement of that lineage. Though Dylan’s impact on the comics world is irreplaceable, his spirit lives on through the small press publishers that have risen in Sparkplug’s likeness, the artists who have thrived from his influence, and this collection which is intended to represent and support both as he would have done.

B. Focus and Scope of The Dylan Williams Collection

Complementing the preexisting collections of underground, alternative, and mainstream comics, the Dylan Williams Collection will focus on self-published and small press works, with an emphasis on hand-made books.

Gifts-in-kind, including personal work and collections, are welcome. Dylan Williams Collection acquisition funds will be used to purchase selective works from contemporary cartoonists that particularly represent the spirit of the Dylan Williams Collection or fill gaps in the BICL&M collection as a whole.

  1. The focus of the Dylan Williams Collection is on self-published works, including handmade books or those printed through local businesses. Although a strong emphasis will be placed on short form pamphlet style works (“mini-comics”), the collection may also contain self-published graphic novels.
  2. Works published by small-presses similar to and emulating the spirit of Sparkplug Comic Books. For example, materials published by small presses that are run by a small to single-person staff will take priority.
  3. Personal comics collections of self-published and small-press works, ranging from 1970 (Dylan Williams’ birth year) to the present.
  4. Original artwork from self-published work.
  5. Limited edition prints by self-publishing creators.
  6. Secondary sources. Self-published works about comics but are not comics (ie. reviews, essays, fanzines etc.)
  7. Micro-distributed materials. Primarily works that are distributed through non-traditional methods, including but not limited to mail-order, hand-selling at conventions, and small distributors will take priority.
  8. Small print runs for small-press work. Materials with a print run of over 3,000 copies will not be eligible.
  9. Works outside of the superhero genre will take priority.

For more information please contact: Caitlin McGurk

mcgurk.17@osu.edu – 614-292-0538


If you are attending the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland this weekend, please feel free to ask me about this collection! I will be representing the Cartoon Library on the following panel on Saturday, September 15th at 2pm.

Institution Building and Comics
2:00 pm | White Flint Auditorium

While comics have gained a great deal of cultural legitimacy over the past twenty years, comics, as a field, still lacks the institutional infrastructure enjoyed by other, more historically established art forms. Sara Duke (Curator of Popular and Applied Graphic Art, Library of Congress), Tom Hart (Sequential Arts Workshop), Cheryl Kaminsky (AS220), and Caitlin McGurk (Ohio State University) will discuss the needs and challenges of comics-specific institution-building with moderator Tom Spurgeon.