I went to the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, MD yesterday.
Like last year I ended up not buying many books (although there’s one that I’m really excited about) and was very focused on art. Prints just interest me a lot more for some reason. Maybe it’s because I already have a backlog of stuff to read (including something I bought at last year’s SPX) that I’m unwilling to really buy many comics. It could also be that I don’t see much in terms of a value proposition to buying a “rag” style comic for $4.
I still had the impression that independent comics were primarily barely concealed autobiographical slice-of-life comics. Such can be confirmed by the presence of a panel discussion titled Drawing Out Childhood: Summoning Childhood Experience, where I heard a panelist say something ridiculously pompous and meaningless along the lines of “I’m interested in life and living life and the meaning that the lived life has.” However, when you look at the list of material that debuted at the show it seems to have a variety of subject matters.
There seemed to be a greater emphasis on youth-oriented material this year, odd considering the lack of children in attendance. Even this had a corresponding panel discussion (which I didn’t attend.) I have to admit that some of the best stuff I’ve read in the past was meant for kids (Leave it to Chance, Akiko, the Batman and Superman comics based on the 90’s animated series were vastly superior to their mainstream counterparts.) Even last year I bought the preview for Princeless because it looked like something in that vein. Fitting in with all of this was a stronger representation from fantasy and science fiction.
Here’s the stuff that caught my eye and/or I bought:
- Metro Kitty had a funny “Edgy Comics Bingo” which I think fits a lot of the material found at SPX
- Anarchist Book Fair Bingo by Laura Ellyn can describe some of the people in attendance
- Scenes from a Multiverse has some awful cute white bunnies
- A print from Shelli Paroline, who premiered a book titled “Life on Triton”
- A print of an amazing piece titled “Stability” from Sam Bosma
- A print that showed an assortment of cute, whimsical little robots from John Martz
- Poop is funny and workplaces are ridiculous, so a comic titled Poop Office from Naked Grape Comics was irresistible
- Sticky Comics has the perfect thing to wear to the premier of The Great Gatsby (in 3D!!!) next year
- Mike Luckas‘ “Conquistas” had some pretty slick art