A MONTHLY DIGITAL MAGAZINE OF COMICS, PROSE AND AUDIO

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March Madness!

Where did this month go?! Between conventions and travel and Kickstarters and production delays, it’s been a crazy March here at the Sparkler Offices (in all our varied locations). But we finally have our March issue ready…just in time for April!

This month we have a little blast from the past with Team KaiJu–we’ve got a shiny new ebook of their amazing “Inhabitant of Another Planet” debuting today, so in honor of that, we’ve got a re-release of their complete first story for Sparkler, “The Ring of Saturn,” which is connected to “Inhabitant.” Both stories are part of KaiJu’s epic latest work, Novae, which runs on its own site but also makes an appearance as a special preview in this issue! (“Saturn” is a great intro to what terrific storytellers KaiJu are, and even though it’s set during the early days of World War I, several hundred years after “Inhabitant,” you may see some familiar faces… ;-D)

We’ve also got new chapters of Magical How and Orange Junk, both of which feature some tough conversations (and aaaaall the feeeeels!!), plus a sequel light novel story to our first game project, Out of Sync, continuing after the best ending of the game! We love multimedia storytelling, in case you couldn’t tell. This issue also features our first-ever Cherry Bomb (17+) story to run in Sparkler proper–some tasty Tokyo Demons/Tokyo Ghosts for you all to enjoy! If you like what you see, there’s plenty more Cherry Bomb where that came from.

A million thanks again for your support on the Tokyo Demons Kickstarter last month. It was a great success, and voting on the new Stretch Goal merch will start soon. We’ll have more details on the rewards and deliveries for the Orange Junk Kickstarter this month as well–Heldrad is taking April off to work on the new bonus comics for Vol 2-3…and will be joining us at our Dealer’s Table at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival in May! Come say hi!!

And last but not least, we’re finally done with our submissions review–if you haven’t heard from us, definitely give us a ping. Now we’re talking with an exciting bunch of new talent, and we’re eager to share their work with you all in upcoming months!

Onward and upward!

XOXO,

The Sparkler Team



New Year, New Series!

Sparkler Monthly Issue #030 (Jan 2016)Hello, hello, Sparkler fans! How’s 2016 treating you so far? I can’t believe that this time last year we were just switching from a paywall model to the entire site being free to read, but I’m so glad we made that change…and look how we grew in 2015! We brought a bunch of existing series in under the Sparkler fold, and did a ton of new shorts and mini-series as well. What will 2016 have in store?

Well, to start: this month we’re kicking off the second book of Dead Endings, our fabulously snarky supernatural prose series! Cailen is finally giving in to guidance on how to deal with her ghost-seeing powers, with Gabriella’s vivacious help…but first, time for a round of drinks!

Plus, the terrific team KaiJu is sharing a stand-alone prequel to “The Ring of Saturn,” called “Inhabitant of Another Planet“–which also serves as a direct prequel to their new ongoing series that will kick off this spring! (Not through Sparkler, but we’ll be sure to link to it when it launches.) A three-chapter mini-series set in Paris in the late 1600s, “Inhabitant” has gratuitous costumes, another probable first-for-manga cameo of Christiaan Huygens (to go with Gustav Holst’s appearance in KaiJu’s “Saturn”), plus romance, heartbreak,and poor Raziol trying so hard to find love…

In another “first” for Sparkler, this is actually the first month where ALL of our comics are in full color! Along with “Inhabitant,” we also have new installments of Witch’s Quarry and Knights-Errant. Is this a trend people would like to see continue? We’ve generally aimed more for black and white material, since we have a heavy manga influence, but it’s really fun to see artists like Jen Lee Quick and KaiJu go back and forth between the two styles. Your voice can definitely influence where we go from here!

We’re rounding out our line-up this month with the return of Tokyo Demonswhich is getting close to the end of Book 3, astonishingly. And we’ve got a new podcast, where our team discusses our Sparkler RPG, along with our plans for the future of both the game system itself and the new campaign we’re running with it: ESPU!

Stay tuned for some great stuff this year, folks! We’re all super excited about it, and we hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

~Lillian (comics editor)



Shop updated with Ring of Saturn paperback, Mahou Josei Chimaka, and more!

Chimaka_pink_smallNow that we’re back from TCAF 2015, we’ve stocked the Sparkler Shop with our newest products! We have brand-spanking-new Ring of Saturn perfect-bound paperbacks (whee! XD), all of which were signed by KAIJU during their TCAF appearance. We also have Christy Lijewski‘s slick art book BLKBT; although we’re sorry to say that Dire Hearts is still on hiatus due to Christy’s health, she has an amazing backlist, and that art book is packed with her famously freaky-and-handsome dudes, among other things.

Also new in the shop by KAIJU: the complete Mahou Josei Chimaka ebook (featuring exclusive, brand-new chapter covers) and a pre-order for the Chimaka paperback, coming this July! We’re so excited for that one. <3 KAIJU has really been killing it lately, so we’re happy to have a giant shop update that’s almost entirely their stuff.

Enjoy!



Brrr!

The days are getting shorter and it’s starting to feel like winter outside, but we’ve got plenty of sizzling stuff this month to keep you warm, first and foremost being an amazing, fiery cover by the fantastic Asia Kendrick-Horton. Things are going to heat up in Skyglass Chapter 6 this month, but Phoenix is always smokin’. *wink wonk*

Gatesmith and Dusk in Kalevia are both taking a month off, but our line-up this month is still super exciting. We’ve got a thrilling new installment of Windrose, the dramatic next section of Tokyo Demons Vol. 3, the start of the brand-new mini-series For Peace from Dinner Ditz‘s Alexis Cooke (featuring lady truckers in loooove!), plus a teaser of a new KaiJu magical-woman mini-series that will launch in our December issue: Mahou Josei Chimaka!

That’s to say nothing of DNA-RW, a dark prose short by two creators we’re happy to welcome to Sparkler: Sarah “Neila” Elkins of Here There Be Monsters, and Ru Xu of Saint for Rent! Nel has an unusual ability–she can copy DNA and rewrite her own DNA to match it. When she decides to use this shape-shifting skill to help find a serial kidnapper, she swiftly finds herself in over her(?) head.

And last but certainly not least, our Member Exclusive of the month will be a behind-the-scenes chat with the actors from Awake, our first original audio drama! Stay tuned for that in Week 3 this month. ^_^ It’s to celebrate the release of the complete Awake series set coming to the Sparkler Shop in Week 4. And speaking of the shop, we recently released a limited run of Sparkler mini sketchbooks that are available now!

BTW, if you don’t follow our Tumblr or Facebook, you might have missed that we’ve got a bunch of our comics up on Comixology now, if you like reading things that way. (I know I do! The Ring of Saturn looks particularly great on my tablet. ;-) And if you’re looking for the perfect ebook to curl up with on a gloomy day with your hot beverage of choice, Dead Endings is now up and available in a new complete edition (with a bonus story!) from our shop, or via Amazon!

In other news, Gauntlet has been sent to press, and Tokyo Demons vol. 2 isn’t far behind! We should have those available in spiffy print editions for all your holiday shopping needs before too long. <3



Happy Indie Publish–er…Independence Day!

Happy Independent Publishing Compan–I mean… Happy Independence Day, America!

And a belated Happy Canada Day to our friends (and co-founders) up North. I’m celebrating the holidays by going to Anime Expo. ^_^ Nothing says FREEDOM like a zillion cosplayers and a bustling Artist’s Alley!

This month we are thrilled to announce the premiere of our newest comic serial, Windrose, by creative team Studio Kosen! We’ve been huge fans of Kosen’s work for ages, and this we can’t wait to share this swashbuckling tale of 17th Century romance and mystery with you all.

Also this month, rockers rock out in Skyglass, Cailen finds the killer in Dead Endings, rival angels come face to face in Kalevia, and Miriam goes stargazing in “The Ring of Saturn.” We’re also excited to welcome Little Foolery paperbacks into the Sparkler Shop, along with new ebook products for our short stories! From July, the climactic Awake Chap 9 is now free to stream, and did you check our the surprise continuation of Tokyo Demons: Book 2? :)

Plus, you have until Sunday morning, July 6th to send the Sparkler staff your questions for our latest Sparkler Podcast–which will be this month’s Subscriber Exclusive. Tell us what you’ve been dying to know, and we’ll do our best to answer in entertaining and original ways! Submit your questions now on Tumblr or Facebook or email your questions to manager@chromaticpress.com.

As longtime Sailor Moonies who are insanely excited about Sailor Moon Crystal‘s debut, we launched our Sparkler Blog today to discuss how Sailor Moon influenced our fujoshi editors. And if you’re at Connecticon this month, come see Dusk in Kalevia author Emily Compton and Sparkler editors Lianne and Rebecca on the Writing Fiction through the Female Gaze panel at 5 pm on Friday (July 11).

Thanks again for all your support in June! We got a ton of great entries for the Sparkler Share Your World contest (we’ll be announcing the winners soon!), and with your help, reblogs and Facebook shares, we completed our Kickstarter for a print-run of Gauntlet. We’ll be sending that to the printer shortly, with Tokyo Demons Volume 2 joining it soon after.

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a year since we officially launched Sparkler Monthly… We’ve learned a ton and had a great time working with some amazingly talented creators, and we’re going to be putting some of our hard-won knowledge into action next month with a few changes to the site and our format. More details will be coming soon, but we’re looking forward to heading into Sparkler Year 2 with new energy and a whole lot of great stories to excite and inspire!



June is Bustin’ Out All Over!

What a month, guys!

We’ve just released the mind-bending conclusion of Gauntlet (with no paywall), wherein Clio finally figures out how to escape from the bizarre maze in which she’s been trapped…but what does leaving really mean?

On that note, we’re running a Gauntlet paperback Kickstarter to give you the opportunity to pre-order our first complete Sparkler original prose story, plus snag some great bonuses at the same time! If you’d like a hard copy of this awesome novel to go on your bookshelf, help us out and spread the word. And to help support the Kickstarter, *all* of Gauntlet will be out from behind the paywall this month, just to whet your appetite! Which makes this a great time to share the series with any friends who may be intrigued by the story, but don’t have a Sparkler subscription to read all the back issues. ;-)

Speaking of sharing fun stuff with friends, don’t forget about our Sparkler Share Your World contest, which ends on June 3oth! Check out our great entries so far on the Sparkler Monthly tumblr (all tagged “submissions”), and consider sending us an entry of your own! Our top prize includes cash, so it’s a great way to fund some summer fun.

And as one series ends, another begins. This month we launch Skyglass, a brand new prose series by Jenn Grunigan with illustrations by the amazing Mookie. With an eye-searingly awesome cover spot this month, Skyglass is going to knock everyone’s socks off. Featuring space elves, pop stars, and fire elementals, Skyglass is an amazing addition to the Sparkler line-up (although some of you careful readers may have enjoyed our little sneak preview in “Cinderseed” a few months back!). Get ready for a tale that’s out of this world! (Albeit still set on Earth…)

That’s not all we’ve got this month, either! Starting in two weeks is the first installment of a three-chapter short comic from KAIJU. “The Ring of Saturn” is set in a private girls’ school in Great Britain at the outset of World War I. Starring Miriam, a young pianist who excels at playing exciting pieces but struggles with more reflective works, it has the honor of almost certainly being the first comic to feature Gustav Holst. :D Music is one of the hardest things to convey in visual media, and these ladies are really knocking it out of the park on that front. Can’t wait to share it with you all!

Our audio department head Rebecca’s got her hands full in June, with two audio updates and a Sparkler School audio drama how-to as our Subscriber Exclusive for the month. The true story behind the dead body(!) is in the latest installment of Awake, and we reach the exciting finale of Tokyo Demons Audio!

From last month, the adorable comic Dinner Ditz Part 2 (final) is free to read for a limited time, and the Off*Beat Volume 3 ebook will be available in our shop in a matter of days!