I came back early from SPX under the theory that you enjoy something more if you leave while you still want more. It seems to have worked.
I’m still figuring out my reaction to the show… the new location was a nifty building, wonderful to stay in and beautiful, but the area wasn’t as convenient. There was no good food within walking distance, and going down the block to the corner meant seeing lots of chain-link fencing topped with barbed wire, never a welcome sight. When we went out Friday night for dinner, we finally wound up back in the old show location (where we found a great sushi place!). Locals kept saying “there’s a metro station across the street, so anything’s available to you”, but that’s only helpful if you already know where you should be going.
There was a very handy food map made by Kevin McShane (whose Toupydoops #4 debuted at the show, which I will be talking about in future), but nothing but fast food was close enough by for my walking comfort. The breakfast I had Saturday in the hotel restaurant was terrific, both food-wise and due to the welcome company of Steve Conley and Katherine Keller, so maybe I should just plan to eat on-site in future.
Unlike some others, the only problem I had with everyone in the same room was the noise level. It was more convenient and easier to browse with everyone there. I wasn’t able to check out any of the panels or evening programming, due to time constraints on my part, so I can’t speak to that. Heidi has the Ignatz Winners — and I’m sorry I missed seeing her host them — of which I was especially pleased to see these winners:
Outstanding Graphic Novel
Tricked by Alex Robinson (Top Shelf Productions)
Promising New Talent
Hope Larson, Salamander Dream (AdHouse Books), Gray Horses (Oni Press)
Owly by Andy Runton (Top Shelf Productions)
That last one… I’ve had a couple of people ask whether it really qualified as a series, but considering it was up against, among others, Optic Nerve… Owly has had multiple releases come out regularly and when promised, so how is it not a series?
Winner of Outstanding Debut Comic was Josh Eiserike‘s Class of ’99, a senior prom-set high school conversation with a shocking ending that’s truly a surprise.
I started the weekend by doing my typical four-hour registration volunteer shift, which nicely fries my brain for the rest of the day. There were a surprising number of names I didn’t know this year, which was kind of exciting, because they were mostly young, enthusiastic minicomic creators. So I have a bunch of those to talk about for upcoming Minicomic Mondays.
I missed seeing buddies like Pam and Jane and Paul and Raina and John and Dave and Christopher, but I was glad to have a chance to chat for a few minutes with Rich Watson about an upcoming project I’ll talk more about when I can. It was also a pleasure to see Batton Lash and Jackie Estrada (Supernatural Law) again.
One thing that was like the old days was the show floor traffic jam. Mid-day Saturday, there were times when it got very crowded for several booths; I hope that means good sales. One of the books I was interested in, Gabrielle Bell’s Lucky, even sold out before I got back to purchase it.
I had a great conversation with Pamela from Penny-Farthing Press, who set up at the show for the first time. I have a couple of their books to sample and talk more about in future, which I’m looking forward to.
Oni was unfortunately having UPS problems, which prevented delivery of Jamie Rich’s new graphic novel, 12 Reasons Why I Love Her, to the show before I left. So I bought the first two books of his Love the Way You Love.
The high point of the show for me, though, was meeting Scott McCloud and having him sign my original first edition hardcover of Understanding Comics. I can’t tell you how much his work has meant to me. It’s responsible for me doing all this for 13 years now.
If you’d like to know more about SPX, Heidi has done more traditional reporting, including speaking to attendees about their impressions.