SPX 2009 RecapSep 28
Like the Baltimore Comic Con, which is practically its neighbor both geographically and on the calendar, the Small Press Expo is one of those shows that I fell in love with quickly. Both shows are a bit more low-key than the other east coast cons that I hit during the year, and extraordinarily accessible. I had a very cool talk with Andy Runton about The Weepies – a band we both love – and that’s something I’m rarely able to do at NYCC. The atmosphere of the show – the main reason to go to a con, I think – is really positive and for me personally, who lives in an area dominated by superhero-centric comic shops, it’s a great opportunity to cast my net out and see what I’ve been missing.
I bought a lot of minicomics (and those are going to have to be their own post, really), along with the first Let’s Be Friends Again collection and the collected Kevin Cannon’s Far Arden, which Top Shelf’s Leigh Walton sold me on when I asked him which one thing I needed to read. He made the recommendation knowing only that I like Jeff Lemire. Presumably, the insinuation is that I like comics from people more north than I am on a map. I also got an Owly t-shirt for my niece and a really badass looking print from Brett Muller that Chris Haley informs me is related to Chowder on the Cartoon Network (on Thursdays!). Unlike some of my small press experiences at bigger shows, there was nobody being pushy or carnival barker-y. I had some good conversations with people (including a slightly bizarre one with Ami from Glass Urchin about how autobiographical her comic actually is if she is a hedgehog in the comic/is she a hedgehog piloting a girl robot?) and ate complimentary cookies at the Comics Bakery booth (seriously, baked goods are the best gimmick ever) and may have inadvertently angered Raina Telgemeier by getting crumbs on the table.*
Also, I have to apologize to Euge from War Rocket Ajax, because I did a jackass thing where I figured he recognized me and he totes didn’t. I’m a douchebag. But I think I recovered gracefully.
I’ve spent 460 words ignoring the elephant in the room, though, and that’s the Critics Roundtable panel that I livetweeted. Select of my tweets were picked up by Bleeding Cool, and go figure, they were the ones that really make me sound like an uppity prude. Those of you who know me know that I’m neither of those things. I just expect a certain level of professionalism and critical discourse to happen in a moderated panel discussion. If I wanted to hear Tucker Stone haughtily equivocate ‘discussion on the Internet’ to caustic YouTube comments (like, and I quote from Mr. Stone, “That b**** is a c***!!!!”), I would have bought him a beer after the show, not spent an hour subjecting myself to he and the other panelists talking about how great he and the other panelists are and expressing an almost universal disdain for their audiences and the eventual next wave of comics pros and for accountability in general. It was the lowlight of an otherwise great day.
I don’t want people to think that I’m a detractor of SPX or its programming because of one bad panel, though. It’s a great show with a great community built around it. This year was my first year at the show, but I’m definitely going back next year.
*I don’t think she was really that angry; she was super cool.**
**I was going to grab a Babysitters Club GN for Sarah if there was one she was missing, so I texted her:
Jeff: You like Raina Telgemeier, right?
Sarah: Um YES.
I showed this to Raina. She made me show Dave Roman.***
***I’m completely giving short shrift to Marion Vitus, who I spent the most time talking to. When I do my minicomics post later this week, I will have several charitable things to say about Marion and her comics, don’t worry.