I clearly love Small Press Expo and have nothing at all bad to say about it (seriously). But in some ways before I go, I have a moment of “What if it’s not as much fun this year? What if it’s not as good?”
But every year is better than the last. This year was no exception. I probably had too much fun (I did mention the drink tickets, didn’t I?).
I was delighted to see all kinds of new faces and new comics out on the floor. You know, when you travel to enough of these things up and down the East Coast, you do begin to see the same comics again and again. Sadly, I didn’t have much money to spend (and most of my budget went to Adam Hines’ Duncan the Wonder Dog published by the always-reliable AdHouse. I have no regrets about that, though, because I think this book is going to sell out quickly. I did pick up plenty of minicomics, too (and my boyfriend left his here for me) so I do have a lot to read.
All the exhibitors I heard from (whether in person or on Twitter) seemed to have done really well, and it was clearly packed both days. That’s a great sign. It makes me happy that so many people have enthusiasm for this art form.
And while show itself is undoubtedly and deservedly the focus, to me, what makes SPX special is this tangible sense of community. Creators, publishers and fans all come to be a part of something really wonderful. It feels like a celebration more than anything else.
I’ve often said that it seems like a lot of people — exhibitors included — come to SPX primarily to hang out. And to me, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that (I am, more or less, becoming one of those people). It feels very relaxed and everyone’s approachable. Other than a tiny number of exceptions, everyone I’ve met at SPX — volunteers, attendees, exhibitors — have been incredible people who I feel honored to know.
Maybe the scene isn’t quite everyone’s thing (after all, if you’re a fan of superhero comics, this may not be the show for you. Although I gave these silly little wallets made of old Marvel trading cards to Rusty and Joe and they reported that everyone loved them, so who knows?) but I think most people will be won over in the end. I am, of course, already looking forward to next year.
(I didn’t take photos because I was lazy, so I’m just using this year’s poster again. But that’s OK because I think it’s my favorite of all the SPX posters. That’s another thing — every year I think “No, I think that poster is my favorite.” This one, though, may have some staying power.)