The finest comics, zines, music and more!

Sparkplug Highlights: Passage, by Tessa Brunton

Passage is so much more than a coming-of-age story; it is a heartfelt ode to growing up with parents filled with the best of intentions and embarrassing ways of acting them out. Using her brother’s unique ceremony celebrating his entrance to manhood as a defining example of their shared experiences, Brunton recounts her adolescence in the care of her oddball parents. It takes a bittersweet and thoughtful turn near the end of the issue, reframing her  youthful mortification at the unconventional tactics of her parents. Through the wiser eyes of an adult, she is surprised to find that she sees them now as loving actions, ones to be cherished and missed. Passage is beautifully illustrated and perfectly toned; pattern and texture is created and played with in exquisite detail. Each page is a feast for the eyes. The small inclusions, to0, are to die for: the titles of books in the backgrounds and the band logos on t-shirts, particularly, add a whole new layer of realism and authenticity to the story. Passage was nominated for two Ignatz Awards in 2012 (Promising New Talent and Outstanding Comic), and those two categories describe Brunton’s comic with complete accuracy. Read it and tell us what you thought — did your parents do anything similar for you when you were a teenager? How do you feel about it now? And how about that killer skeleton shirt — do you want it as much as I do?