Silver Sprocket is one of the most exciting small press publishers out there, and I’ve been obsessed with them since the first time I read Ben Passmore’s fantastic Your Black Friend. This inclusive comics collective and record label has made a name for itself by putting out radical books that are unlike anything else being produced. A recent deal with Diamond—the comic book market’s only distributor—means that their wonderful books are now available in your local comic shop through the dreaded direct market, making the lovely landscape of Silver Sprocket even more accessible to those of us who can’t afford shipping or who don’t frequent conventions regularly. I thoroughly enjoyed all three of the Silver Sprocket titles that I read and thought I’d collect these reviews in one place, so without further ado please enjoy my Silver Sprocket review roundup.
No Gods. No Dungeon Masters.
Io (writer), Rachel Dukes (art and colours), Hannah Fisher (colours), Andy Warren (cover art)
When I was a kid my dad was an anarchist. He was part of the founding group of a British direct action movement called Class War, and would drag me along to the May Day riots every year, a tradition I remember more of in my early life than Christmas. He was also a rampant atheist, and one of my earliest memories is getting in a lot of trouble at school for telling another girl that God wasn’t real. It’s interesting because his radicalism honed mine in a way that made it utterly vital to my being, but soft where his was sharp. Where he was abrupt or violent, I decided to be thoughtful and caring in my activism. Though I’m fully here for violence and direct action, I just knew from personal experience how much a radical penchant for direct action could spill over to violence in other parts of your life.
I’m oversharing horribly because all of this is part of the reason that No Gods. No Dungeon Masters. from Silver Sprocket moved me so profoundly. In it I found a friend, a fun read, and a guide to getting through life as a soft nerd who also wants to bring down the white supremacist heteronormative capitalist patriarchy. Io, Rachel Dukes, and Hannah Fisher have crafted something truly special with this lovely one-off comic. Silver Sprocket has quickly established itself as a unique, politically outspoken, and brilliant publisher. Including this on their slate for their recent foray into the direct market is an inspired choice, as No Gods. No Dungeon Masters. is a fantastic representation of the importance and power that Silver Sprocket wields. It brings me a lot of joy to know that from now on people will be able to wander into their comic shops and just pick this up.
No Better Words
Full disclosure: I love fucky comics. If I can find a comic that’s actually sexy and includes fucking, I’m all about it. No Better Words defies the classification of a fucky comic. It’s incredible sexy and includes some really, really gorgeous sequential sex—Nowack’s fantastic illustration and luscious prose elevate it to fantastic, a comic about sex that almost throbs with tension and desire as you hold it in your clammy palms.
But that description alone also does No Better Words a disservice because it’s not just incredibly sexy but also a wonderfully put together comic. Nowack’s use of colours to build atmosphere and tension is magnificent, and the story at its center is so relatable that it almost hurts. Almost all of us have felt the thrill of a crush, and the anticipation of finally getting to touch the person who we have a crush on. Nowack illustrates that passion, attraction, and ultimate satisfaction perfectly in a way that left me sated but also desperate for more. No Better Words is more of an experience than a read, but it’s also just a lovely book which is a perfect introduction to comics as porn, with her explicit illustrations just as arousing as her use of colour and poetic prose.
Please Destroy the Internet
Michael Sweater is a very good cartoonist. I’ve enjoyed many of their strip cartoons on the internet; whether it’s the cute, cynical, and cuddly critters of Please Keep Warm or the nihilistic sweetness of Please Destroy My Enemies, Sweater really has a comic for every one of my moods. Their newest Silver Sprocket release is a collection of new strip comics called Please Destroy the Internet, which, just like Please Destroy My Enemies before it, is here to make you feel warm in the knowledge that everyone else thinks being alive sucks just as much as you.
Sweater deals in simplistic, stylised cartooning which jumps off the page, whether coloured in primary or pastel palettes. Please Destroy The Internet is the kind of book which immediately makes you feel less alone, even if it’s just because the bleak humour about the mundanity of existence speaks to you on a profound level. Sweater is really fucking good at balancing existential crises and cute shit that gives you hope, which means Please Destroy The Internet never becomes draining or overwhelming. That makes this the perfect book to flick through when you have a quick minute or pore over when you’ve a whole bunch of time. It’s a pleasure to read, and I’ve already reread it multiple times since I first opened it. There’s an optimism in Sweater’s outlook that I desperately needed but hadn’t realized until I opened Please Destroy The Internet.