This year’s Small Press Expo was so wonderful that we can’t stop reading about it! It’s the first time in a while that it wasn’t too cold or too hot but just right at an indie comics show we’ve attended and that made it special. PLUS, SVA and MICA and CCS and MCAD and SCAD have been turning out lots and lots of excellent new cartoonists, the established people are putting out great stuff, and there is real excitement everywhere.
There are tons of ’em, including this video made by Steven Greenstreet…we selected a few because they were interesting or especially charming.
• The report of D&Q’s Tom Devlin is of course an epic journey into the history of culture. Here he captures just two of the HORDES of plaid-shirt wearing men at SPX. Seriously, apparently if you don’t wear a plaid shirt, you don’t get a discount or something.
• Brian Heater at The Daily Cross Hatch — we should throw in here that our traveling companions for the show, Brian, Jeff Newelt, Sean Pryor, and Rick Parker, were great companions and helpers every step of the way. Also, having been up and down to the Baltimore/DC area twice in three weeks, we can safely state that the Delaware rest stop is definitely the best one.
• Comicsgirl — how have we managed to not meet Comicsgirl…or we did and forgot about it?
I’ve often said that it seems like a lot of people — exhibitors included — come to SPX primarily to hang out. And to me, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that (I am, more or less, becoming one of those people). It feels very relaxed and everyone’s approachable. Other than a tiny number of exceptions, everyone I’ve met at SPX — volunteers, attendees, exhibitors — have been incredible people who I feel honored to know.
• Matt Dembicki has photos.
• The reporting from JOURNALIN COMIX reads exactly like the summer camp vibe that everyone felt, but he ends up all pumped up:
I’m inspired. I want to write. I want to draw. I need to draw and be proactive. I don’t want to languish in obscurity in Ohio forever.
• Ariyana Suvarnasuddhi discovered what doesn’t sell:
1. Couples walking by my Castration comic poster. The lady always laughs pointing out the comic to her boyfriend. He shakes his head and smiles, but it’s a stiff smile that says, “No. we are not doing that.” as he coaxes her away from the table.
• Laughing Boy Comics also learned some lessons:
So I spent this past weekend in Bethesda as an exhibitor at the Small Press Expo. And while I had a great time hanging out with Erik Heumiller and a host of other cartoonists, it was also a rude awakening. A final nail in the coffin that’s been building for quite sometime. Aside from a handful of friends casually reading my strip, not a lot of people are coming in the door. Not to mention the minicomics I put a lot of time into that have virtually no appeal to readers and potential readers alike. But I’m not complaining.
Basically, going into the future I have to give some serious thought about what I want to do with, and what Laughing Boy Comics should be. I don’t ever plan to give up making comics or these characters, but I can’t rule anything out yet.
Another year, another great SPX. This was my fourth year at the show, and every time I’ve gone it’s been my favorite show of the year. There’s something great about having (most of) the best cartoonists in the world trapped in a fancy hotel, sharing chocolate fondue and beer tickets, making gin and tonics out of their backpacks, hanging out in each other’s rooms and trading minis and goofy sketches.
• The Beat herself creates unrealized expectations in Secret Acres’ report but it all turns out OK:
And yet, between our books and the books we distro and our amazing table guest, Ms. Hanawalt, we realized we had seven Ignatz nominations (yes, four noms for the deserving Troop 142, from Mike Dawson – who is not old at all, for crying out loud) and three winners, including the first ever for a book with the Secret Acres logo on it, our very own Eisner-nominated Monsters. Considering that our SPX debut books were both delayed, between those little red Ignatz tags, a couple bricks and some leftover Eisner stickers, we sure as hell had a lot of bling on the table, even if it was mostly just loaners from our pals (Many, deep thanks to new pals Lisa and Mike – and old pal Blaise). And we did okay, with no new books and a table in the middle of nowhere, because we have a lot of pals. So how lonely could we be?
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.