- Posted by Johanna on September 15, 2013 at 2:31 pm
- Category: Comic News
Loved going to the Small Press Expo (SPX) this year!
It’s great to see that a relatively long-running show has managed to hit new heights, with a renewed sense of energy and enthusiasm from everyone I ran into. It’s definitely still the premier indy comic show. Due to family obligations, I was only there from 11-6 on Saturday (yesterday), which was barely enough time to visit the entire show floor, what with this year’s table expansion to 280. (Many of which had more than one vendor.)
I walked in at opening, and I thought at first I’d gotten the time wrong, because there were so many people already both set up and shopping. The show was nicely crowded right away, and pals were often too busy to chat, which is good — that means they’re doing business! Still, next year I’ll be sure to plan for two days at the show, since one just isn’t enough time to see all the vendors and visit with old friends. (Sorry I never got a chance to catch up, Chris Pitzer.)
My first plan was to hit everyone I absolutely had to see, either to get new releases of favorite series or to pick up a couple of commissions, then walk the floor. Key advice: Stay in the con hotel! It makes it much easier, when you’re loaded down with books, to drop them off in your room and go back for more. I should have done that more times than I did, my aching shoulders protest.
After meeting with Alisa Harris and Alison Wilgus, two of my favorite webcartoonists (and people who know where to dress shop!), I was thrilled to see that Lucy Knisley was selling off her original art. I picked up four pieces to add to my kitchen wall of art about food by women. Alisa had also done a full recipe for me — I can’t wait to frame and hang it!
Fantagraphics was debuting several titles at the show, including Blake Bell’s The Secret History of Marvel Comics, which I picked up for KC. Jen and Jacq are two of the nicest as well as best-dressed marketing people to work with in comics. It’s around this point that I started wishing I was still able to drive to the show, since flying puts a real crimp in one’s purchasing plans. All those books have to go somewhere!
I’m glad to hear that Carla Speed McNeil is working on another Finder collection with Dark Horse, aiming for spring release. And Cathy Leamy, at the next table, is continuing her work with medical education comics. It’s at this point that I realized that I had only been talking with women. It was easy to do without meaning to, given how many women are making great comics.
I did take one picture of a guy, whose name I neglected to get. He had a nifty machine that, when you pushed the button, would spit out three words (like “Elvis kisses you”) which he would then use to draw a sketch for you. It was neat way to stand out and catch people’s eyes.
Once I get back home, I hope to talk more about the great minicomics I picked up at the show. Right now, they’re packed up, ready to ship back. Since I missed the Ignatz Awards, Tom Spurgeon has a nicely linked list of winners and nominees, plus some news from the show, including the coming Complete Eightball and upcoming titles from Uncivilized Books.
Update: Heidi MacDonald has a comprehensive post of links to show reports, plus some great observations of her own. I share her frustration at missing people you knew were there — for instance, I never saw Heidi! But this was a welcome reminder:
By now it goes without saying that SPX has a huge contingent of cartoonists who are women but there is also a huge queer contingent and a lot more cartoonists of color. Inclusion means growth.
Heidi mentions a generation gap, and I think that’s the most divisive (but not really) element of the show. I ran into a number of comics and creators where I didn’t recognize their influences or references, which marked just how far apart time can take you. I missed out on the partying for a similar reason. (I’m old and went to bed early.) On the other hand, I introduced some friends and realized that this was the 20th year I’d known them. That’s comforting. I hope some of the people I met this year I’ll be running into in the next decade.