We’re busy writing up our official SPX report for tomorrow’s PWCW, but a very few quick notes:

The show was generally speaking, a big success; everyone was having fun and selling books and talking about making comics. Future Mr. Beat — an indie show near-virgin — had a telling comment, comparing it to last week’s Baltimore Comic-Con (which was also fun). He pointed out that at Baltimore, as you walked through Artist’s Alley, there would inevitably be people sitting there all by themselves with that puppy dog look of desperation, trying to sell their books. At SPX, by contrast, everyone was busy and happy, whether selling to the eager crowd or checking out each other’s work. It was just an engaging, lively place to be.

That observation was dead-on: SPX is full of so much enthusiasm, joy, and talent. It brings a tear to the eye, it does. It’s also, as always, a chance to watch the changing of the guard. This year’s Saturday/Sunday timeframe, a change from the Friday-Saturday of years past, was a selling success and all of us old-timers who liked the idea of Sunday as a Summit and picnic/softball game realized that pining for that was useless. That was 10 years ago, fer cryin’ out loud — we might as well yearn for grunge and Pets.com. And the kids of today have their own bonding SPX rituals: the Nerdlinger Awards and Saturday night’s karaoke fest, which was stinky and loud and chaotically groovy. (Above photo from Brian Heater’s Flickr stream captures the mayhem (although not the madness of the group “Yellow Submarine” singalong.)

The show also had Joost Swarte and Kramers Ergot #7 and all the things that push the needle artistically. Jog also caught the vibe:
Now it’s like a city. A small city, but still something you can’t cover in its entirety. The population has bunched up into closer, self-sufficient groups, which is as natural as a city gets. I know its contours, and its basic layout, but I couldn’t name every cheese shop or hairdresser. And there’s no need to, really – I know the places I like, and I know how to find other places, and there’s enough transportation by communication to keep the place lit. It’s even gotten so there’s cleaner borders with other (sub)cultural municipalities, like Anime City, which is where I go to buy meth away from the eyes of my family.

For pictures, check out the link above and doubtless many more to come. In closing many thanks to the road trip crew of Jah Furry, Brian Heater and Ben McCool for laughing all the way. Thanks also to Laura Hudson, Jimmy Aquino, Calvin Reid, Greg Bennett, Van Jensen, Jill Friedman, and Bill K. for help of various types.


  1. I think there’s an easy fix for BCC, and a possible improvement for SPX.
    BCC needs to tighten up its artist alley spaces so that only three people wide can walk down an alley. It’s a bit of a hassle getting around, but it forces the attendee to slow down and look at what’s on the table. A slow-moving, sardine packed crowd finds stuff and buys stuff.
    SPX, meanwhile, needs to look towards expanding and taking up both big ballrooms, so long as they can keep the alley tight and snug.

  2. BCC could put up one of those racks with half-tires on it that football players in the ’50s ran through. That would slow them down.

  3. To me, the softball game was always the highlight of the weekend, since I usually didn’t sell all that many copies of the magazine.

  4. To clarify, I was just commenting on what the Future Mr. Beat saw, there was some sad puppy action. I’ve seen it before at a lot of shows, and it happens mostly when people get bored.
    Now, for BCC, I noticed this year that there was maybe only one spot where there wasn’t a steady steam of traffic (the right-side wall). Where my table was, I had one heck of stream of traffic and solid sales.