Greeting, Gentle Readers. Long time no blog for me. To be honest, writing has become a struggle for me lately. Luckily, SPX comes along next month to give me something to be excited about and hopefully kick me out of this writer's funk.
Last year was my first SPX and I found it to be a great convention for exploring independent comics. You'll find some of the smaller (in size, but not awesomeness) publishers like Adhouse Books and Top Shelf Comics, but most of the rows of table occupying the ballroom of the Marriott Bethesda North Hotel & Conference Center are self published artists and writers.
SPX is where I was first introduced to excellent Pittsburgh talents, Pat Lewis and Ed Piskor. Pat won me over with his adorable cartoon style and Ed won me over with his love of Public Enemy. (On a sad note, it appears they will not be at SPX this year according to the current list. Neither will the fabulous J. Chris Campbell. I will miss him so very much on the road to Bethesda.) SPX is a wonderful con to interact with creators a more personal level. Sure, they're still behind a table, but there's a more relaxed vibe to this smaller setting.
I'm also really excited about the Ignatz Awards this year which are being hosted by Charlotte's very own, Dustin Harbin. The Ignatz Awards honor comics from graphic novels to web comics as well as new talent and outstanding artists. The nominees are also voted on by those who attend SPX. I'm sure Dusty will bring his very own special flair to the awards show as he has to HeroesCon auctions in the past. Is it wrong to hope for costume changes and maybe a little Dharbin Drag?
While I will be sad about some of last year's artists missing in action this year, I am excited about picking up some new books from some old favorites. I'm looking forward to picking up some more adventures of Ms. Sassypants, the guinea pig who is also a P.I., by Colleen AF Venable and Stephanie Yue. Joey Weiser will be debuting a Monster Isle mini comic, Big Monster Stuff, that looks absolutely adorable. I read all of his published Mermin after Fluke and just loved it. Rob Ullman will have his Animal Alphabet sketchbook which collects all his animal sketches from A-Z. I really enjoyed all the Animal Alphabet sketches and hope more of the artist who participated collect their works. I'll also be picking up Remake Special by Lamar Abrams. There are a lot of great debuts planned and SPX has done us a great benefit by listing them all for those of us who plan their purchases.
On the debut list is Stargazing Dog by Takashi Murakami, which is Japanese manga book being released in the US by NBM. I've never read any manga, but I am drawn to the cover of a small white dog surrounded by yellow flowers. The story sounds like something I would like as well-a man down on his luck drives away from his life with only his dog. Who doesn't feel like that sometimes?
I'm also planning to pick up Don't Mess with the Pink Voo-Doo Bunny by Jim8ball and Messed Up Fairy Tales 3 (I hope they have the first two as this book sure does look fun) by the Draw Sucka! artists. I'm sure I'll see even more mini-comic goodness while there that will draw me in. I started hoarding cash for SPX a few weeks ago. Last year, I learned a lot of about my buying habits (cute animals draw me in). When buying comics from a previously unknown person, I tend to gravitate towards the pleasant and engaging people. Desperation and aggression send me the other way. I was also surprised by the off-putting attitude by a few of the exhibitors last year. A smile goes a long way in making a sale.
We'll be road-tripping to this one with the Dollar Bin. If this results in any recordings, I'll be sure to link them here. I'm hoping we'll make what should become an annual side trip to 7-11. We don't have these down in NC anymore and it's fun to pick up the slurpee of the month.
SPX is September 10-11 at:
Marriott Bethesda North Hotel & Conference Center
5701 Marinelli Road.
North Bethesda, MD 20852
Hope to see you there!