Monday, August 20, 2012

Upcoming Event: SPX 2012

SPX 2011
Outside of HeroesCon, my favorite type of comic shows are the small press shows.  I adore mini-comics.  Small press shows are a mecca of mini-comics.  The Small Press Expo (SPX) is two glorious days of mini-comics and other wondrous indie comic finds. 

It's a big year for SPX with a rather impressive list of special guests: Daniel Clowes, Chris Ware (one of Seth's favorites), Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez, Adrian Tomine, and Francoise Mouly. 

There's a big list of exhibitors this year (they sold out all of their table space!).  While I can't include everyone here I would like to highlight some of our favorite people, especially the North Carolina creators heading up this year. 

Some Favorites:
Animal Alphabet Mini Comic Cover by Ben Towle
  • Lamar Abrams: In the aftermath of HeroesCon, it dawned on me that I totally missed seeing Lamar and his smile at this year's con, but never fear, SPX draws near so I can see what new fun he's bringing to the world of comics. 
  • Adhouse Books: Chris Pitzer is sure to have an awesome collection of indie books.  We were lucky enough to pick up a copy of Jim Rugg's Notebook Drawings at HeroesCon and if you haven't flipped through this wondrous, pink spiral notebook yet, do yourself a favor and head over to Adhouse for this and more! 
  • Alphabet Press: Back in 2011, a drawing challenge was issued by Rob Ullman and Ben Towle: each week following the letters of the alphabet, new animal drawings would be created and posted on tumblr.  The participation seemed to grow each week and when the end of the alphabet was reached with the animals, AlphaBeasts was born and then followed AlphaBooks which is currently ongoing.  This year at SPX, you'll find a table dedicated to these AlphaProjects with works including mini comics, postcards, flashcards, and prints from artists like Ben Towle, Rich Barrett, Sam Wolk, Issac Cates, and Rob Ullman. Some of the participating artists that are unable to attend SPX will be mailing Alphabet items in to the table organizers making this your one stop alphabet mini stop at SPX!
  • Last Dollar Comics: At the last SPX, this was on my list for one comic: "Don't Mess with the Pink VooDoo Bunny", however instead of coming away with one comic, I walked away with the Total Package of all of his comics, plus a toy surprise.  It was awesome and I'm looking forward to visiting Last Dollar Comics again this year. 
  • Alec Longstreth: I'm not sure it is possible or wise to discuss Alec without mentioning what might be the most well known beard in indie comics (maybe in all of comics).  Just do a google image search and you'll see what I mean (some people even keep time based on that beard!) [Update: I was informed via twitter that the beard is no more! A moment of silence for the beard.]
  • Nobrow Press: If pretty European comics and art books are your thing be sure to stop by the Nobrow table and delight your eyes. 
  • Chad Sell: Admittedly, I did not discover Chad through my normal comic channels, but rather Drag Queens.  One of the queens competing on the last season of RuPaul's Drag Race tweeted a portrait done by Chad and I knew I had to see more. I ordered both 30 Queens and Shadow Play and loved both books.  I cannot wait to come home with 40 Queens and maybe some prints for my Drag Race loving law partner and friend, Paula. 
  • Ed Piskor: Ed might just be one of my favorite guys in comics.  He's super nice, interesting to talk to and has an extensive collection of Public Enemy attire.  Beyond that, he's just had his hacker web comic, Wizzywig published in a sweet hardcover.  Be sure to also check out Ed's Hip Hop Family Tree over on boingboing
  • Jim Rugg: What is with these guys from Pittsburgh? Could they be any nicer? Not only is Jim talented on the page, but he shares the knowledge on his new podcast, Tell Me Something I Don't Know.  And as mentioned above, be sure to stop by the Adhouse table and pick up Jim's beautiful Notebook Drawings and marvel at what he does with a ballpoint pen. 
  • Top Shelf Comics: Not only does Top Shelf have an excellent all ages comics section, but their graphic novels of late are nothing short of amazing.  If you haven't picked up Jeff Lemire's The Underwater Welder, be sure to stop by their table for a copy or two. 
  • Ron Ullman: Do you like pretty ladies? (who doesn't?) You should stop by to pick up some pretty ladies of your very own from Rob (his are much less maintenance than real women).  Rumor has it that you may even be able to pick up some pretty lady art to wear, just in case you missed the super cute HeroesCon Indie Island shirt by Rob this year.  
  • Joey Weiser: One of my favorite mini comic series has to be Mermin.  I love that adorable little sea creature on land.  If you haven't read Mermin yet, you're in luck as there are now five issues out for your reading pleasure. 
North Carolina:

Not only do all of these guys hail from North Carolina, but they all participated in the Alphabet drawing projects.  
AlphaBeast prints by Rich Barrett
  • Rich Barrett: Based in Charlotte and member of the local sketch group, Sketch Charlotte, Rich is in the progress of publishing a graphic novel both page by page on the internet as well as in print.  Nathan Sorry is a twist on a 9/11 story in which the title character believed killed in the Towers is actually on the run with money and fake identity that he accidentally procured.  Rich plans to have both volumes one and two as well as Alphabet Press items.  This is his first time setting up at SPX. 
  • Henry Eudy: Also planning his first time behind the table at SPX is another Sketch Charlotte member and one of the funniest and self-depreciating guys I know, Henry Eudy.  Henry will have a selection of minis, prints and original art.  
  • Ben Towle: Ben is manning the Alphabet Press table, but he'll have some non-Alphabet related books with him (if not displayed on the table). Be sure to ask for Strikes, the Star Wars fan comic written by Ssalefish Comics' own Bret Parks and illustrated by Ben. 
I cannot wait to explore all the tables at SPX and fill my bag with mini comics wonders.  Be sure to check back here the week following SPX to see for yourself everything we picked up!  Seth and I will be there to check out the best indie comics around, and will have plenty of info and postcards about the Heroes Pop Swap, Charlotte Mini Con and HeroesCon '13.  If you see us make sure to say hello. 

Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center
5701 Marinelli Road.
North Bethesda, MD 20852

Open to the public Saturday and Sunday, September 15 and 16, 2012.

Saturday, September 15: 11:00 am - 7:00 pm
Sunday, September 16: noon - 6:00 pm

One day memberships: $10.00
Weekend memberships: $15.00
Collected at the door the day of the show


  1. I am so glad to happen upon this blog post! I've recently moved to NC and found out about SPX last month. I'm also new-ish to indie-comics, but I'm very excited and enthusiastic over them! I'm undecided on going to SPX, though, because I'd have to go by myself and I've also never been to a convention before. Do you have any advice for a green gal? Would it be worth the 5 hour trek there and back to go alone? Thanks!

    1. Megan, SPX is a really good first convention. While there are a lot of artists there, it's not a big show in the sense of occupying the floor of a large convention center. While the hotel shows can get crowded, I tend to find them much less overwhelming than big shows can be. Two days also gives you a nice amount of time to see most of the creators you want to. SPX is one of my favorite shows for indie comics.

      I also recommend checking out the exhibitor websites to see what they plan to have at the show. SPX also had a nice entry on their blog last year about planned debuts for their show. I found that very handy for my shopping planning. I also try to leave room in my budget for unplanned finds as there always seems to be a new artist or two I am excited to discover. Indie comics are also great for new readers as there generally isn’t a ton of continuity to worry about.

      If you have any specific questions, I would be happy to answer those as well.