I Went to SPX 2016 and Loved It

Small Press Expo banner

I had a terrific time at the 2016 Small Press Expo (SPX), as I do every year. It’s the nation’s premier independent comic arts festival, and everyone knows that everyone there has at least one thing in common: a love of the medium.

For a factual overview of the show, please see my SPX coverage at ICv2. I also published a photo gallery there, and I’ve previously written about the Ignatz Awards winners this year.

Small Press Expo banner

But for more of a personal take, here are the memories that stand out for me:

* Roommates! Brigid Alverson, Heidi MacDonald, Deb Aoki, and I all stayed together, and it was a weekend-long slumber party! Before I left on Sunday, Brigid, Deb, and I piled all our purchases together. It looked like this:

SPX purchases

* Breakfast with Trina Robbins and two new friends, a New Jersey librarian and her art collector husband.

* Being Not Roger Langridge, as I watched his table while he attended a panel. I was grateful for the chance to sit down for a while and meet fellow fans of his art.

* Getting to see Keith Knight’s slide show, “They Shoot Black People, Don’t They?” It’s a fascinating take on racial conflict in this country, punctuated by autobiographical stories about his cartoons and career.

Keith Knight at SPX 2016

* Going to dinner with former blog contributor Ed Sizemore, Brigid, and Deb, where I got to eat Ethiopian food for the second time in my life. (Yum!) This show is all about seeing old friends and meeting new ones, while shopping for great comics.

Unfortunately, I was on a medication that kept knocking me out, so I apologize to the people I zoned out on while walking around the show floor, and nighttime socializing for me was right out. I also ruined good photos because my camera is too slow to focus — I need to fix that before I play reporter again.

SPX was the only comic show I attended this year, and it was well worth it. If you’re interested in a comic festival where you’ll celebrate the future of medium and the accomplishments of widely talented people, you should attend.

One comment

  • Jim Perreault

    As it turns out, SPX was the only convention I went to as well. Well, half-attended, since I was only there on Saturday. I really like the feel of this small and intimate convention. A friend told me there was even an NPR story on it, emphasizing the fact that it is actually about comics (unlike Comic-Con). It was also local, making it easy for me to get to. (In fact, I had a different event to attend in Bethesda that morning, so I ended up traveling only 2 miles to get there.)

    Keith Knight’s slide show was my favorite of the panels I went to. Although I only caught the tail end, as it overlapped another panel. I also went to the Roger Langridge panel, which was good but I thought the moderator talked way too much. My least favorite was the Fantagraphics one, as they failed to introduce most of the panelists.

    It’s funny you mentioned Ethiopian food. I had some not during SPX, but during the National Book Festival the following weekend.

    I’m sorry I missed you!

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