I think it was the beer tickets. Otherwise, I really have no good explanation why everyone at Small Press Expo was in such a good mood all weekend. Or it was just a really great show. Or maybe both.
As you can see from the photo I lovingly stole from the Small Press Expo Facebook page, the drink tickets had “BEER” on them, along with a rather classy clip-art beer mug. (There were also “WINE” tickets, but those lacked clip art.) As exhibitors checked in, they received a beer ticket (which could also be traded in for wine, soda or water — they weren’t just for beer). Everyone was amused by them and they started SPX off on the right note.
That attitude lasted through the weekend — we all had good laughs about the revival in the ballroom next door, which was then replaced by a fancy cocktail party/ball (everyone had to leave out the side doors at close on Friday because of this. Can’t expose people in fancy clothes to scruffy cartoonists!) and then, on Sunday, some teen pageant. Even when the exhibitor hall was freezing on Sunday, complaints were more jokes than anything else.
Attendees were also in a good mood for the most part, even when it got crowded. I saw very few flare-ups (I’m sure they happened) and very little crankiness from anyone. All the volunteers were great with a lot of the same faces (we had cookies and temporary tattoos once again. I am completely serious when I say I’m getting custom tattoos made for next year).
I loved seeing a lot of new exhibitors. Every year, the general feel seems to be a little bit different. Last year, I noticed a lot of children’s comics and more fantasy and manga-inspired comics. This year, there did seem to be a lot of the typical autobiographical/real-life stuff, but I felt like people were reaching a little bit deeper and offering an interesting perspective more than “I am an urban twentysomething cartoonist who isn’t good at relationships.” I, of course, picked up a big bag of stuff and I’m excited to go through it (I would like to thank Rob of Talkin Bout Comics for bringing me a bag after I forgot one. Yes, I know, that was on the list of my recommendations … but you know, do as I say, not as I do. And I was delighted to see that people did bring bags, whether or not I had anything to do with that).
Carol Tyler is awesome (I’m going to keep saying that. I want to make sure everyone knows) and I loved loved loved her Q&A session. She’s such a smart, funny and down-to-earth woman. I want to be her when I grow up. I am so glad I got to see her. Part two of You’ll Never Know isn’t going to be out until late 2010 and I really don’t know what I’m going to do until then.
I don’t know what the final count on attendees is (I know Saturday was a pretty big day and Sunday was pretty crowded when I left) but I do know that two nearby ATMs were cleaned out, so I’m guessing sales were pretty brisk. I think that’s wonderful.
I got home yesterday, exhausted but happy. And I’m already making plans for next year. I feel like there is a ton of things I’m forgetting to write about. We’ll see if they occur to me at some point. I’ll be digging through my purchases in the next few days and writing some reviews.