I headed to Bethesda, MD last weekend to check out this year’s Small Press Expo (SPX). It was my first one, but it’s been around since 1997. The obvious focus of the show was comics and graphic novels (and that blurry line line between the difference of the two being a subject of debate), but there were also illustrators, inkers, writers, publishers, etc there as well.
I attended three panels. One on comic criticism, which I’ll spare you my opinion on (I left halfway through). The second was on publishing comics for YA and children. While my manuscripts are prose, as opposed to graphic, the panel was nonetheless interesting and full of a valuable insight. The third was on Herge, a popular French comic artist that did a lot of work in the years surrounding WWII. It was during this third session that I discovered I am not sophisticated. Seriously, there is only so much you can say about how he pioneered the line.
There was contraband Diet Pepsi/Rum at the afterparty Saturday Night ($6 beer?!, you’re out of your mind!), a bodacious breakfast at Silver Diner, and a general good time with some friends I don’t see nearly enough.
The atmosphere of SPX was, for the most part, open and accepting, and there was a wide range of work in show — which is comforting to those of us aspiring to do anything in the art/story vein. There are rumors that Joe and Josh might get a table next year (and that there will be beards), in which case I would totally love to commandeer some real estate on that half table. Of course, that means I’ll have to execute the sketches I’ve got hidden in my sketchbook…
What the experience did, first and foremost, was spark the creative engine and get those gears turning. We bought tons of good stuff, which I’m sure I’ll review here once I’ve been able to devour it all. All and all - it was a wonderful way to spend the weekend.