There’s been a bunch of scuttlebutt going on around APE, the Alternative Press Expo now unfolding in San Francisco, and it is being announced today that CCI, which runs APE, the San Diego Comic-Con and WonderCon is returning ownership of the show to founder Dan Vado starting next year. Vado founded the show in his home base of San Jose in 1994 as part of the then-burgeoning scene of indie comics events that included the Small Press Expo in Bethesda and SPACE in Columbus. CCI took it over in 1995, eventually moving it to San Francisco. Vado has been mostly uninvolved with the show in recent years, while expanding SLG, his comics company, to a storefront and event space. And of course, CAFs have blown up everywhere, with TCAF, SPX, MoCCA, CAB, MeCAF, Thought Bubble, Short Run and many more showcasing the indie comics side of today’s comics world.
The Beat had a chance to speak briefly with Vado about taking the show back. He plans to move the event out of San Francisco and back to San Jose, and move it away from a date that conflicts with New York Comic Con. While he doesn’t have a venue secured yet, “My first choice is to work something out with the MLK Library here and run it in the same style as TCAF,” he told The Beat. “Mainly, free admission, lower table costs, trying to keep it as open as possible for new people.” Unlike TCAF, he doesn’t expect to run it on the curated model. However, like TCAF and MoCCA, he sees APE as expanding to a festival-like event with several venues and possibly a music festival attached.
Vado is hoping to get sponsorships from larger corporations involved, as well.
While Vado has often spoken fondly of APE in the past, taking on running a small press comics show in the middle of a boom seems like a big task. So why? “I kind of feel like I have some unfinished business with it,” he said. “APE was the first of its kind. I think it is a great show, and I’m happy to be able to continue it.
“Hopefully APE will turn into something even cooler than what it is,” he concluded.
While as we’ve reported here many times in the past, SF is the one city that doesn’t seem very interested in comics culture—despite or maybe because of being home to the dot-com culture that seems to love comics culture—it’s also home to the companies that have helped comics grow digitally such as Google and Apple. So there seems to be real potential to create a regional CAF with that taps into the unique culture of the area.
A panel is being held right now announcing the switchover.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.