The SPX programming went live today, with a plethora of great programs and a bit of news: Bill Kartalopoulos, programming director for the last nine years, is stepping into an advisory capacity, mostly with international guests. This year’s programming was handled by a committee led by Esther Kim of Fantom Comics that includes Michael Cavna and Jen Vaughn, with Kartalopoulos continuing in a consulting capacity with a focus on international guests. 

Bill K, as he is know handled the MoCCA Festival programming last year and I’m guessing he will again, so we’ll get to see his in-depth focus at that show hopefully.

This year Bill Kartalopoulos has stepped down from the Programming Coordinator role at SPX. Over the course of nine years working in a volunteer capacity, Kartalopoulos has not only established SPX as a destination for robust and thoughtful programming, he has single-handedly elevated the standard for programming events across the entire field of comics festivals and related events. Additionally, this year Kartalopoulos co-curated, with Warren Bernard, the impressive and groundbreaking Alt-Weekly Comics exhibit at the Society of Illustrators that was sponsored by Small Press Expo.

“On behalf of the SPX Executive Committee, as well as the entire SPX Community, we cannot thank Bill enough for the tremendous time and effort he put into making SPX’s programming the highest level it could possibly attain.” says Small Press Expo Executive Director Warren Bernard

Meanwhile, this year’s programming looks great, with Q&A sessions with Kate Beaton, Noelle Stevenson, Bill Griffith, Dylan Horrocks, Stuart and Kathryn Immonen, Jessica Abel, Scott McCloud, Luke Pearson, Philippa Rice and Phoebe Gloeckner, several diversity panels and a lot more. As usual the biggest problem will be knowing how to squeeze them all in!

Here’s the complete list:


White Flint

Creative Collaboration in Comics Collectives
12:30-1:30PM White Flint Auditorium
Build a Comics Collective in your hometown! Local creators Andrew Cohen (DC Conspiracy), Monica Gallagher (Bmore Into Comics), Emily Gillis (Square City Comics) and guests Dan Mazur and Cathy Learny (Boston Comics Roundtable) discuss the fun and friendships to be found in a comics collective! Moderated by Matt Dembicki.

Tasty Comics
1:30-2:30PM White Flint Auditorium
What’s more delicious than the devastatingly perfect combination of COMICS and FOOD?! This tasty panel chews on the delectable dilemma of portraying food and its importance in our lives in comic book form! Welcome chefs Robin Ha (Banchan), Jade Lee (Dumpling Zine), Eric Colossal (Rutabaga the Adventure Chef), and Jessi Zabarsky (I Want to Eat Everything). Moderated by Head Chef Lauren Jordan.

Center for Cartoon Studies Workshop
2:30-3:30PM White Flint Auditorium
Jon Chad (The Center for Cartoon Studies) and Beth Hetland (School of the Art Institute of Chicago) lead us in a whirlwind comics workshop! Everyone, from experienced cartoonists to those who are just getting their feet wet, is welcome to attend this fun, educational, all-ages, creative workshop. No matter what your experience level, you will leave this workshop with an appetite for more!

Anthologies Aren’t Easy
3:30-4:30PM White Flint Auditorium
Herding artists for an anthology is like herding cats for a cat rodeo but when you finish the former you’ve got a brand spanking new comics anthology for readers everywhere to enjoy. Let’s get everyone together with Isaac Cates (Cartozia Tales), Josh Bayer (Suspect Device), Josh O’Neill (Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream), Annie Stoll (1001 Knights) to talk about how to give up your life to the higher calling known as Comics Anthology Publishing. Moderated by Kelly Phillips.

SPX Spotlight on Jessica Abel and NPR
4:30-5:30PM White Flint Auditorium
What is it about narrative non-fiction stories in the form of graphic novels, public radio, and podcasts that keep readers and listeners coming back for more, time and time again? NPR interviews Jessica Abel, author of “Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio” for this lively discussion on the secrets of storytelling to be gleaned from the intersection of comics and radio.

Drawing the News: Comics Journalism
5:30-6:30PM White Flint Auditorium
Chris Kindred is a cartoonist, illustrator, and contributor to The Response. Peter Kuper is the co-founder of World War 3 Illustrated and the author of numerous graphic novels including, most recently, Ruins. Ted Rall is an author, columnist and syndicated editorial cartoonist; his most recent book is Snowden. Matt Bors, founder of The Nib and The Response, will lead this group in a conversation about the intersection between cartooning and politics today

White Oak

SPX Spotlight on Kate Beaton & Noelle Stevenson
Noon-1:00PM White Oak Room
STEP ASIDE, I’M A SHARK! Two of our favorite creators sit down for a discussion of webcomics, writing for all ages, and their latest works. SPX is thrilled to present Kate Beaton, creator of “Hark! A Vagrant!”, “The Princess and the Pony” and her SPX 2015 debut “Step Aside, Pops: A Hark! A Vagrant! Collection” in discussion with Noelle Stevenson, creator of “Nimona” and co-creator of Eisner Award-winning series “Lumberjanes.” No sharks or ponies were harmed in the making of this panel. Moderated by Heidi MacDonald.

Animate Your Life!
1:00-2:00PM White Oak Room
Animation is a thrilling medium that’s changed so much just within the last decade! Join us for a lively discussion of the various paths people took to animation and what it means to them now. Lilli Carre (Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation), Sam Spina (Regular Show), Ian McGinty (Welcome to Showside), and Monica Ray (Harvey Beaks). Moderated by Michael Cavna.

Black Art Matters
2:00-3:00PM White Oak Room
Black Art Matters. Join SPX for an hour of listening to black creators Darryl Ayo(Press (A) To Talk), Ron Wimberly (Lighten Up), C. Spike Trotman (Iron Circus Comics), and Whit Taylor (The Fabric of Appropriation) discuss their experiences as comics creators and what it means to make art that speaks about the black experience in American comics. Moderated by Keith Knight.

SPX Spotlight on Bill Griffith
3:00-4:00PM White Oak Room
He’s the cool in Cool Whip! His mind’s a polysorbate trip! It’s Bill Griffith, creator of Zippy, the beloved and bizarre underground comic that escaped from the head shops to the stately pages of the daily newspaper, where “Zippy the Pinhead” has been syndicated nationally since 1986. Join SPX and Chris Mautner for a discussion of the debut of his new graphic novel memoir, “Invisible Ink” and hear the zany stories from the man himself! Are we having fun yet?

SPX Spotlight on Dylan Horrocks
4:00-5:00PM White Oak Room
Dylan Horrocks’s beloved 1998 graphic novel Hicksville gave readers a sensitive and bittersweet fictionalized account of comics history, and imagined a whole world of possibilities for the form. This past year has seen Horrocks’s return to regular publication with the new graphic novel, Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen, and Incomplete Works, collecting a body of short stories produced in the interim. Horrocks will discuss his recent work and the responsibilities of fantasy with Best American Comics series editor Bill Kartalopoulos.

SPX Spotlight on Kathryn and Stuart Immonen
5:00-6:00PM White Oak Room
The incredibly impressive Immonens are comics creators who have done it all! Kathryn Immonen has written for Marvel Comics (Runaways, Journey into Mystery) and Stuart Immonen has drawn for Marvel and DC (Ultimate Spider-man, All New X-men, Superman), in addition to collaborating on the gorgeously written and illustrated independent graphic novels “Moving Pictures” and their 2015 release “Russian Olive to Red King.” Join them as they discuss the intricacies of their latest story, one that visits the wild haunts of the Northern wilderness and the lonely worlds inhabited by broken hearts. Moderated by Jim Dougan.

Queer and Here to Make Comics!
6:00-7:00PM White Oak Room
The indie comix scene is one of the best places to find stories by queer creators and comix for queer readers so let’s celebrate queer representation in comix with Anna Archie Bongiovanni (Autostraddle Saturday Morning Comics), Yao Xiao (Autostraddle Baopu Comics), Hazel Newlevant (If This Be Sin), and Kevin Jay Stanton (Burl and Fur) and discuss what it means to them. Moderated by Dylan Edwards.



Erotic Comics are for Everybody!
12:30-1:30PM White Flint Auditorium
Erotic comics are for everybody . . . over the age of 18, that is. In this adults only panel, we’ll talk to creators Sarah Winifred Searle (Filthy Figments), Anna Bongiovanni (Lust Witches), Paul Reinward (Burl and Fur), and C. Spike Trotman(Smut Peddler) about the changing landscape of comics that tease, titillate, and take us there. Moderated by Jess Fink.

European Comics and the Absurd
1:30-2:30PM White Flint Auditorium
The international traditions of the absurd, surrealism, dark comedy and farce come to the global internet through the hands of European cartoonists Joan Cornella (Spain), Bendik Kaltenborn (Norway) and Brecht Vandenbroucke (Belgium). Best American Comics series editor Bill Kartalopoulos will talk to these artists about making comics that cheerfully transgress boundaries of nation, form and taste.

It’s a Small, Small, Small Press World
2:30:3:30PM White Flint Auditorium
There’s nothing more satisfying than selling the small press comics you’ve poured your heart, sweat, and tears into throughout the years. Join Lara Antal (So What? Press), Box Brown (Retrofit), Francois Vigneault (Study Group Comics), and Kevin Czap (Czap Books) for a riveting discussion on what it takes to publish a run of your comics and then others’ art as well. Moderated by Isaac Cates.

Dear Internet: Today I Made a Comic. Now What?
3:30-4:30PM White Flint Auditorium
So you made a comic on the internet. Now how do you make sure it gets seen, read, and supported? We’ve assembled a crack team of internet-saavy creators and organizers to show you their ways so that you can make your own way. Join Molly Ostertag (Strong Female Protagonist), Aatmaja Pandya (Travelogue), Matt Bors (The Nib), and John D. Roberts from Comixology’s digital platform for a journey through comics on the Internet in the 21st century. Moderated by Jen Vaughn.

Life, Death, Comics, & Everything in Between
4:30-5:30PM White Flint Auditorium
Comics that are drawn from life are sometimes the most hard hitting and dramatic. SPX talks to Jennifer Hayden (Story of My Tits), Derf Backderf (My Friend Dahmer), and Frederik Peeters (Blue Pills) about how you turn your life story into a graphic novel. Moderated by Heidi MacDonald.


SPX Spotlight on Scott McCloud
1:00-2:00PM White Oak Room
Scott McCloud has influenced countless artists, readers and scholars with his analytical treatise in comics form, “Understanding Comics.” Most recently he has published “The Sculptor,” a nearly 500-page graphic novel about art, love and mortality. Professor Craig Fischer will talk to Scott about his body of work, including a live close reading and analysis of a selected sequence from The Sculptor.

SPX Spotlight on Luke Pearson, Philippa Rice, Sam Bosma, and Kali Ciesemier
2:00-3:00PM White Oak Room
Join us for a conversation that spans the Atlantic Ocean. From across the pond come two of the most delightful creators on the scene today, Luke Pearson (Hilda and the Midnight Giant) and Philippa Rice (Soppy), in conversation with two fantastic creators from New York, Sam Bosma (Fantasy Sports) and Kali Ciesemier (All My Anime Boyfriends). Please join us for a discussion on their creative processes, indie animation projects, and distinctive art styles. Moderated by Tucker Stone.

SPX Spotlight on Phoebe Gloeckner
3:00-4:00PM White Oak Room
Phoebe Gloeckner has produced one of the most powerful and innovative bodies of works in the comics field. Her classic book “A Child’s Life and Other Stories” anthologizes short pieces which, together, powerfully express a textured portrait of adolescent desire and despair. Her mixed format book “The Diary of a Teenage Girl” blends prose, illustration, and comics. The book was recently adapted as a critically acclaimed film, and has been republished in a new edition with additional supplementary material. For the past several years she has been researching a book about people living in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. She will discuss her work in a spotlight conversation with Slate Magazine culture editor Dan Kois.

Royalboiler Redux
4:00-5:00PM White Oak Room
Brandon Graham returns to SPX for Royalboiler Redux. Get ready for a conversation on the state of indie comics with Farel Dalrymple (The Wrenchies), Liz Suburbia (Sacred Heart), and Ron Wimberly (Prince of Cats). Moderated by the Royal Boiler himself.