- Posted by Johanna on September 27, 2009 at 7:58 pm
- Category: Comic News
Now that I’m back home, after a good night’s sleep and a hot bath to soothe my aching feet (from wanting to see everything) and shoulders (from carrying all the goodies), I’m ready to tell you how fabulous this year’s Small Press Expo was. I had the best time at SPX 2009 I’ve had in a long while at a convention. (Even though I lost my voice an hour into the show for no known reason, which meant continual apologies to people I was trying to have a conversation with.)
A subtheme of the show was feeling old but not minding it so much. Some of these creators have only been making comics for a few years, while I’ve been reviewing them since 1992 (starting on CompuServe and Usenet). I decided to make a virtue out of longevity, proudly mentioning my track record to those who hadn’t heard of the site. The result was usually a stunned look, but in a good way.
At their table, I bumped into Daniel Langsdale, who used to do a minicomic called Geeks in Disguise. He didn’t have any comics currently, but he did bring these delicious dessert bars made of chocolate, frosting, nuts, coconut, and all kinds of other yummy things. Incredibly rich, and a great pick-me-up for energy to keep walking around the show.
First on my must-visit list was Fanfare/Ponent Mon, where I was able to pick up the second volume of A Distant Neighborhood, sent in specially to debut at the show. Jiro Taniguchi’s art always astounds me in its detail. Ed’s going to be writing a review of the series for the site in the future, but in the meantime, it gave me some things to think about in terms of acceptance and happiness and maturity. (And I was tickled to see my name on the back cover in a quote.) It’s unfortunate that their books don’t fit the typical perception of manga, so they have trouble in bookstores. They don’t really fit with Naruto, you know.
Erika Moen had the much-anticipated (by me, anyway) news that she was hoping to put out a second DAR collection before the end of the year. I was surprised to see that the most popular area in the room, at least when I was on the floor, was the back right corner featuring webcomic creators, especially Kate Beaton. But then, the world is moving from minicomics to webcomics as a way for young artists to try new things and refine their craft. And with their outreach — large numbers of readers, who are often eager to buy prints or buttons or books of their favorite strips — I shouldn’t be surprised at the congestion.
Speaking of webcomic collections, I enjoyed talked with Curt Franklin and Chris Haley of Let’s Be Friends Again. Their parody strips have a distinctive sense of humor, and I couldn’t resist picking up their first book, Under Pressure, reprinting the comics they’ve done up until July. In color, too! And they all have annotations underneath, making for more funny. (And sometimes explaining just what they’re referring to.) The front page of the book has caricatures of the two authors with blank balloons, and they filled them in with a personalized sketch and dialogue, making my copy unique. Ha!
I also picked up R. Sikoryak’s Masterpiece Comics, but I missed getting it signed because I went to the critics panel instead. (More on that in a separate post.) However, I did get a free Drawn & Quarterly tote bag with it, which came in very handy by this point. (I’ll have another post on the minicomics I found interesting.) I loved reading these retellings of classic stories in perfectly chosen comic formats. Little Lulu in The Scarlet Letter is my favorite, although the new-to-me Dorian Grey as Little Nemo was also eye-opening. The oversized hardcover gives the whole thing the feel of a storybook, as well as allowing more room for the detailed art and text.
After a wonderful dinner with Xavier Xerexes, Jennifer and Caroline of Fantastic Fangirls, Jeff, and David Welsh, I had to drive home in pouring rain, the least fun part of the trip. But I got back safely and re-energized about the comic medium.