A Closer Look At Haight Street's New Underground Comics Publisher

A Closer Look At Haight Street's New Underground Comics Publisher
Photos: Camden Avery/Hoodline
By Camden Avery - Published on December 13, 2017.

Late last month we reported on the surprise opening of Silver Sprocket, an art collective that releases records and comics which recently moved into a storefront at 1685 Haight St. (between Cole and Belvedere).

We spoke to founder Avi Ehrlich, who started the group 20 years ago at age 14, and has been running it out of a bedroom and basement on Valencia Street until this fall.

Ehrlich said Silver Sprocket landed a deal with the landlord to occupy the space and deter vandalism, with the proviso that they depart with two weeks' notice.

"We hope to be here for a while, but it's unknown," Ehrlich said. Signs indicating that the property is for rent still adorn the front window.

Ehrlich, who used to live at Haight and Clayton, said the long-term goal was a sustainable comics shop sporting work by local artists "to showcase and support San Francisco's vibrant independent comics scene. But baby steps, we have to finish installing our own work and learn how to run a store first."

One of the many zine racks sporting Silver Sprocket's wares.  | Photo: Camden Avery/Hoodline

The offerings at the shop include work by Silver Sprocket artists and house-published comics and zines, as well as originals by published artists.

"We publish local artists," Ehrlich said, "but also people from all over the world in the punk rock, anarchist, activist communities."

One show, pictured at this article's header, is a collection of work whose proceeds go to providing legal support for activists facing felony charges for protesting Trump's January 20th inauguration in New Orleans.

On top of that, there's a current show of work by the Degenderettes (pictured below). "Yep," Ehrlich said, "we have all of your baseball playing and wood chopping needs covered right here."

The Degenderettes specialize in LGBTQ-themed baseball bats and axes. | Photo: Camden Avery/Hoodline

Ehrlich said being back in the Haight was "surreal. It's like Disneyland, but with crusties." But the store's ethos—which emphasizes collaboration and artists' rights—fits the neighborhood's vibe.

"Everything here is artist-owned," Ehrlich said. "We work at the artists' pleasure, and we're collaborators and co-conspirators."

Silver Sprocket is open daily from noon to 7pm.