Thoughts on Dylan Williams

(Photo by Rina Ayuyang)

I didn’t know Dylan for very long, but I wanted to share a few of my memories and impressions of him from the last few years. I first met Dylan at the Portland Zine Symposium in 2007. From then on I got to hang out with him many times at various conventions and post-show dinners, and I always looked forward to seeing him.

Last December I tabled next to him at the East Bay Alternative Press Book Fair in Berkeley. As soon as I showed up he rolled his eyes and joked, “I specifically asked not to be seated next to you,” which made me laugh. We spent most of the day talking together — we had a running joke about how another exhibitor looked just like Jesse Reklaw, and he gave me some good advice and encouragement about my work. It was a great day.

As he did for countless other artists, he helped distribute my zines at conventions and in stores across the country. I think I speak for a lot of smaller/unknown artists when I say that his support made a huge difference. One time I got an e-mail from a cartoonist who’d bought one of my comics at the Beguiling in Toronto. I had no idea that my stuff was even for sale in Toronto, but there was no doubt in my mind who’d gotten them there. The next time I saw Dylan I told him about the e-mail, and how the cartoonist and I had traded more comics through the mail and become friends. I could tell he was really happy to hear this. He always struck me as someone who liked bringing people together through his work.

I also loved buying comics from him. I came to comics relatively late in life, and it was through Sparkplug’s distro that I could finally branch out beyond the Bay Area scene and read artists like Carrie McNinch, Gabby Schultz, Ted May, Mardou, Noah Van Sciver, and so on. Sometimes after Dylan paid me for my zines, I’d give the money right back to him and buy more comics from his table!

On Saturday afternoon I fell asleep while reading on the couch. When I woke up an hour later there was a package on the floor next to me — the books I’d ordered from Sparkplug a few weeks back. The apartment was empty (my girlfriend had left to run errands while I was asleep), so for a second it felt like the books had just appeared out of a dream.

Later that night I went online and read the news that Dylan was gone. It’s still hard to believe, and I think part of me doesn’t want to accept it yet.

Dylan, I want to thank you for everything you did for me. Comics won’t be the same without you.
– Jason

One thought on “Thoughts on Dylan Williams

  1. I miss Dylan so much too. It was too sudden. He gave so much during his life and always stuck up for what he believed in without ever pressuring anyone else. He led an exemplary life. What a loss.

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