This year’s Small Press Expo, to be held September 15-16 in Bethesda, has one of the most amazing guest line-ups in forever, with Jaime Hernandez, Gilbert Hernandez, Chris Ware, Dan Clowes, Francois Mouly, Adrian Tomine and MORE. Programming director Bill Kartalopoulos has out done him self with a program that covers all the bases and more. Suffice to say we’ll be glued to the two programming tracks.

British Comics: Does it Translate?
11:30 am | White Flint Auditorium
The UK has a deep comics tradition of both mainstream and alternative production, and has seen a recent resurgence in the hands of enterprising young artists and a new breed of publishers with an international outlook. Panelists Nick Abadzis (Laika, Hugo Tate), Sam Arthur (Nobrow), Glyn Dillon (The Nao of Brown), Ellen Lindner (Undertow), and Luke Pearson (Everything We Miss) will discuss the British comics landscape and its connections to European and American comics culture with critic Rob Clough.
Crockett Johnson’s Barnaby and the American Clear Line School
12:00 pm | Brookside Conference Room
In a canny mix of fantasy and satire, amplified by the clean minimalism of Crockett Johnson’s line, Barnaby (1942-1952) expanded our sense of what comics can do. Though it never had a mass following, this tale of a five-year-old boy and his endearing con-artist of a fairy godfather influenced many. To mark the launch of The Complete Barnaby, Dan Clowes, Mark Newgarden, Chris Ware, and the book’s two co-editors — Fantagraphics’ Eric Reynolds and Crockett Johnson biographer Philip Nel — discuss the wit, the art, and the genius of Barnaby.
Jaime Hernandez: The Love Bunglers
12:30 pm | White Flint Auditorium
Jaime Hernandez and his brothers launched the alternative comics era with their epoch-defining series Love and Rockets. From 1981 to the present, Hernandez has produced a singular body of work tracing the life of Maggie Chascarillo and her vast network of friends, family, neighbors, rivals and lovers. In recent years, Jaime has, again, broken new ground with brilliant comics novellas that remain accessible to new readers while building upon years of narrative to invest his stories with a profound emotionality. He will discuss his work with artist Frank Santoro.
Publishing During the Apocalypse
1:00 pm | Brookside Conference Room
It is the best and worst of times for small press publishers. As the greater publishing industry faces major economic contractions and challenges from new media, smaller publishers must navigate the same difficult waters with fewer resources, while taking advantage of the opportunities that arise in times of turmoil. Leon Avelino (Secret Acres), Box Brown (Retrofit Comics), Anne Koyama (Koyama Press), and John Porcellino (King-Cat/Spit and a Half) will discuss the current publishing landscape with comics journalist Heidi MacDonald.
Françoise Mouly: A Groundbreaking Career
1:30 pm | White Flint Auditorium
In 1980 Françoise Mouly co-founded RAW Magazine, the groundbreaking avant-garde comics anthology she co-edited with Art Speigelman. In 1993 she became Art Editor of The New Yorker, choosing and developing the iconic magazine’s cover images in an ongoing national conversation on the issues of the day. In 2008 she launched TOON Books: an innovative publishing imprint devoted to comics for early readers. Mouly will discuss these aspects of her highly influential career and many more in a slideshow presentation introduced by Paul Karasik.
Institution Building and Comics
2:00 pm | Brookside Conference Room
While comics have gained a great deal of cultural legitimacy over the past twenty years, comics, as a field, still lacks the institutional infrastructure enjoyed by other, more historically established art forms. Sara Duke (Curator of Popular and Applied Graphic Art, Library of Congress), Tom Hart (Sequential Arts Workshop), Cheryl Kaminsky (AS220), and Caitlin McGurk (Ohio State University) will discuss the needs and challenges of comics-specific institution-building with moderator Tom Spurgeon.
Gilbert Hernandez: Love From the Shadows
2:30 pm | White Flint Auditorium
Gilbert Hernandez and his brothers launched the alternative comics era with their epoch-defining series Love and Rockets. Gilbert first made his mark with his Palomar stories, an intergenerational saga detailing life and love in a fictional Central American town. But a parallel strand of Gilbert’s restless oeuvre has since taken center stage in new graphic novels and stories that combine formal play with genre experimentation to open another window into the workings of the human heart. Gilbert will discuss his work with critic Sean T. Collins.
Drawing Out Childhood: Summoning Childhood Experience
3:00 pm | Brookside Conference Room
Comics, which often juxtapose discrete fragments of time, are well-suited to the representation and exploration of memory. This panel will specifically address the process of summoning and depicting deep memories of childhood and adolescence within the comics form. Moderator Mike Dawson (himself a cartoonist of childhood experience in Freddie and Me and Troop 142) will lead a discussion with Derf Backderf (My Friend Dahmer), Marinoami (Kiss and Tell), John Porcellino (Perfect Example) and Julia Wertz (The Infinite Wait and Other Stories).
Cartooning Workshop
3:30 pm | White Flint Auditorium
Comics educators Robyn Chapman and Alec Longstreth from The Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, VT and Tom Hart, founder of the Sequential Artists Workshop in Gainesville, FL, will guide the audience through a cartooning exercise. Everyone, from experienced cartoonists to those who have never drawn a panel of comics, is welcome to attend this fun, educational, creative workshop. No matter what your experience level, you will leave this workshop having drawn your own comic!
Mark Newgarden Presents: Cartoonists and Comics On Camera, Reel One: 1916-1945 
4:00 pm | Brookside Conference Room
A once-in-a-lifetime presentation of rare footage featuring 20th century comics greats and some unusual animated adaptations of their work, curated by Mark Newgarden from his personal collection of rare 35mm film. See Rube Goldberg, Otto Soglow, Chester Gould, Frank King, Harold Gray, Hal Foster (and many more) at the drawing board! See Jefferson “Gags And Gals” Machamer act! Plus Krazy Kat and many more surprises!
Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist
4:30 pm | White Flint Auditorium
Daniel Clowes first gained fame with his iconic comic book series Eightball and graphic novel Ghost World, which he co-adapted into a film of the same name. In recent books, including The Death-Ray and Wilson, his unique visual-narrative voice expertly manipulates the position of the reader to get more deeply under the skins of his sharply rendered characters. Recently the subject of a major retrospective exhibit and monograph, Clowes will discuss his work with Alvin Buenaventura, editor of The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist, and scholar Ken Parille.
Comics as Children’s Literature
5:00 pm | Brookside Conference Room
Comics’ fraught historical legacy as children’s literature and children’s comics’ status as an expanding category of contemporary publishing will be discussed by cartoonist and picture book author Renée French; Françoise Mouly, founder of the TOON Books imprint and co-editor of The TOON Treasury of Classic Children’s Comics; Mark Newgarden, co-author of the “Bow-Wow” children’s comics and picture book series; and Brian Ralph, author of the all-ages graphic novel Cave-In. Children’s literature scholar Philip Nel will lead the conversation.
Screening: Cartoon College
5:30 pm | White Flint Auditorium
Join us for a special screening of the documentary film Cartoon College, directed by Josh Melrod and Tara Wray. Each fall the Center for Cartoon Studies invites 20 of the world’s most promising aspiring cartoonists to the ramshackle village of White River Junction, Vermont for a no-holds-barred education in comics. Those who complete the two-year program earn an MFA degree and are ready to face the uncertainty of a career in one of the world’s most labor-intensive, drudgery-inducing art forms. Cartoon College is their story. (75 minutes)
Sammy Harkham Q+A
6:00 pm | Brookside Conference Room
Sammy Harkham has left a lasting impression on the comics field as editor of Kramers Ergot, the irregular avant-garde comics anthology series that represents, for many, a carefully articulated statement about the art form today. Harkham is also an engaged cartoonist, mindful of comics’ legacy while telling intimate stories that resonate with contemporary concerns. Several of his stories are collected in his new book, Everything Together. Harkham will discuss his work with Picturebox publisher and Comics Journal co-editor Dan Nadel.
Adrian Tomine: Optic Nerve
12:30 pm | White Flint Auditorium
Adrian Tomine’s comic book series Optic Nerve, initially self-published while the artist was still in high school, marked the emergence of a prodigious new voice in comics. His crisp visual depictions of contemporary culture are married to a similarly incisive narrative style that sharply delineates the elusive shadings of flawed personalities.  His recent books include the graphic novel Shortcomings and Scenes From an Impending Marriage, as well as the latest issue of his still-ongoing Optic Nerve series. Tomine will discuss his work with critic Dan Kois.
Mark Newgarden Presents: Cartoonists and Comics On Camera, Reel Two: 1932-1965 
1:00 pm | Brookside Conference Room
A once-in-a-lifetime presentation of rare footage featuring 20th century comics greats and some unusual animated adaptations of their work, curated by Mark Newgarden from his personal collection of rare 35mm film. See Al Capp, Bill Holman (and many more) at the drawing board! See a drawing lesson from Fred C. Cooper! Plus Popeye, Nancy, Jacky’s Diary and many more surprises!
Chris Ware: Building Stories
1:30 pm | White Flint Auditorium
Chris Ware’s innovative and humane work has altered the landscape of contemporary comics. His landmark book Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth forced a contemporary re-evaluation of comics, and his work has redefined—for readers and artists—the expressive possibilities of the form. His latest book, Building Stories, reconfigures the format of the graphic novel in a meditation on space, time and experience. Professor David M. Ball, co-editor of The Comics of Chris Ware: Drawing is a Way of Thinking, will lead a conversation with the artist.
Comics on Assignment
2:00 pm | Brookside Conference Room
Cartoonists have always supplemented their income with illustration and other client work. Increasingly, though, they have been called upon to exercise their cartooning skills and produce comics that function as editorial content for topical magazines and websites. The challenges and opportunities of producing comics for editorially-driven venues will be discussed by Sarah Becan, Susie Cagle, Jennie Haemi Choung, Ed Piskor, and Lauren Weinstein in a conversation moderated by journalist and comics critic Chris Mautner.
Life After Alternative Comics
2:30 pm | White Flint Auditorium
In the years after underground comix, the medium’s flag of ambition was carried by so-called “alternative comics:” nonconformist work in conventional formats that occupied marginal space in comics speciality shops. Alternative comics found common cause with other subcultural movements—before internet culture and the bookstore economy permanently changed comics’ formats and context. Dan Clowes, Gilbert Hernandez, Jaime Hernandez and Adrian Tomine will discuss the changes they have seen in a conversation moderated by Bill Kartalopoulos.
Drawing Energy
3:00 pm | Brookside Conference Room
What does it mean to invest a feeling of energy, of activity, of physical or emotional intensity in a drawing? How does the process and mindset of the artist at work relate to—or differ from—the visceral feeling the reader is intended to experience from the published image? Artist Jim Rugg will discuss these issues and other questions of drawing process with Michael DeForge (Lose), Theo Ellsworth (Capacity), Hellen Jo (Jin and Jam), and Katie Skelly (Nurse Nurse).
Perverse Comics Form: Challenging Comics’ Conventions
3:30 pm | White Flint Auditorium
Comics’ traditional forms have been inventively engaged by countless artists towards unique expressive purposes. And yet, even skillful manipulations of the comics form often carry with them conventions forged over decades, often within a commercial context. This panel will discuss radically different approaches to comics form and their relationship to broader artistic practices. Bill Kartalopoulos will lead a conversation with artists Warren Craghead (How to Be Everywhere), Renée French (H Day), and Keith Mayerson (Horror Hospital Unplugged).
Images of America: Real and Imagined
4:00 pm | Brookside Conference Room
Comics excel at images of place, refracted across multiple panels and filtered through an artist’s hand. Nick Abadzis portrayed a mythical America in his recently-collected Hugo Tate. Dean Haspiel balances personal experience and high-flying romance in his depictions of New York City. Stan Mack portrays a street-level vision of daily life in his “Real Life Funnies” and elsewhere. Ben Towle’s online comic Oyster War depicts an imaginary historical America. Isaac Cates will lead these four artists in a conversation about images of place in comics.
Mickey Manga: Disney and 1930s Manga
4:30 pm | White Flint Auditorium
“Steamboat Willie” was first screened in Japan in 1929, just one year after its American release. By the early ’30s, Japan experienced a veritable “Mickey craze,” resulting in all sorts of pirate renditions, including a large number of manga. In this slideshow talk, manga scholar Ryan Holmberg will survey the various Mickey Manga made in that period, will consider how they relate to the authorized source material, and will demonstrate Tezuka Osamu’s ongoing relationship to these prewar pirate versions. Joe McCulloch will moderate and respond.



  1. Oh my god, that’s an amazing line-up of panels. It’s literally the best of indie talent. I hope it all gets recorded and made available somewhere.