SPX 2007 Reportage

You can say “reportage” all fancy like if you think that might add some legit to this here thing.

(Above… Fred “JOHNNY HIRO” Chao, Jamie “THE AVIARY” Tanner, and Josh “SKYSCRAPERS” Cotter, all of them smiley)

So… again, I’ll disclaimer that if I forget to mention you, your comic, or how funny you were that night of the Ignatzes, well, it’s because I’m old and don’t have the memory I use to… and I’m just going to let it flow!

Oh.. photos here, if you are so inclined.

I was dubbed “team waffler” from JCC since I couldn’t decide if I was going up on Thursday or Friday. When it came down to the wire, and I found a pad to crash, I picked Thursday, since that meant it would give me some more hang time for peeps that I probably wouldn’t see all that much during the show. Peeps like Matt Wagner. (I can’t believe I didn’t get a pic of Matt!) Matt was signing at Big Planet Bethesda, so that’s where I ended up stopping first. We’ve known each other for 20 years… ever since I brought him to Shepherd College to give a lecture and gallery show. Since then we’ve chatted here and there, and he’s always fun to be around. I got a chance to color his Grendel book this past year, and I was as stoked as anyone could be. Anyway, part of hanging was that I got to see his ART OF GRENDEL book, and all I can say is wow. As a huge fanboy, it tickled me red.

After the signing we ducked over for some Indian beside the shop, and man was it good. I had a salted lassi, and while new things should be tried, it was probably the last one I’ll ever get. I want the sweet! But the food rocked in all types of ways. We did family style, which allowed us to just get as much of it as we could, and boy did it fill me up.

We headed back to the BP after eating for the pre-SPX party, and that’s where I saw my pal Nick Abadzis for the first time. I love the Nick. Back in the day he did that Hugo Tate book, but now he’s been touring like a madman for his LAIKA book that just came out from First Second. We’ve known each other a while, and can get all geeky about space, comics and travel. I REALLY wanted to see Nick do his presentation about his preparing for the LAIKA book, but then forgot during the hubbub of the show. Hopefully someone will youtube it one of these days.

I also got to see John and Sandra from Metaphrog for the first time. They would be my table neighbors during the show, and that proved to be a fantastic bonus. John is sooo funny. And, he’s the type that you could talk with all night. They’ve done some really nice books of late, and I was lucky to get their new one on this trip. I’ve got the others, and really enjoyed them, so I’m sure this will be just as good.

And, I guess you can kind of see a pattern here, right? This was why I’d probably say this is one of my top favorite SPXers of all time. This year was the assemblage. People from the past and people from the now were all coming to one location to talk comics. I kept finding old school surprises like Jon Lewis, David Lasky and lil’ Mikey Dawson at the show. Add the new peeps who I met for the first time like Monica Gallagher or the guy who handed me those bigfoot comics, and it becomes excitement on top of excitement. Comicace said something about it being a “cycle” of sorts, and I guess that’s it. Anyways.. it was a nice mix. And the cherry on the top was Dean Mullaney making it his first SPX. Dean use to run Eclipse Comics, and that was where I got my start in the funny book biz. I hope he had fun. Another classic peep was Dustin Harbin who showed up Friday and even offered to help me set up. People probably know Dusty as the Indy voice of Heroescon in Charlotte, but really, he’s one helluva cartoonist.

I guess it was that mix of people and feelings that made me acquire the most comics I can remember getting at a show in recent times. A few callouts:

- Ignatz nominated NOOSE by Mark Burrier.

- EXIT WOUNDS by Rutu Modan… I’ve been hearing great things, and after spending some time in the bar talking with her and Nick, I felt like we were friends so I figured I should have the book. She was doing some really nice drawings in them, too.

- MULTIPLE WARHEADS by Brandon G available at Oni.

- The FLUKE and AWESOME anthologies. I’m going to put them in a ring and see which one is left standing.

What else?

It was a show of sell outs for us. I guess I’m getting stingy with the packing (or I totally goofed) and just didn’t bring enough. One thing is that some of these comics were still new enough that I was handing them out to the reviewers that I know. Maybe I didn’t take that into consideration when packing my JOHNNY HIRO #2s? So, I think that was the first book to go…. then THE AVIARY, then JOHNNY HIRO #1, then SKYSCRAPERS OF THE MIDWEST #4. We’d do a little dance each time that happened. It felt good.

Saturday night I went out to dinner with Dawson and he had a neat little schtick of counting up our successes and failures. Things like my forgetting to get sketches in the new sketch book I brought… failure. Forgetting to check out Robert Newsome’s comics… failure. Missing the LAIKA presentation… failure. Mike always had a way of looking at that half glass. When we got back from dinner I got a chance to have a long talk with Tom K… success! As well as Rob G! What can I say.. it was a night of conversing with gentlemen with initial last names.

Anyways… I feel like I’ve kind of lost any type of momentum or organized thought with this here report. The show was good. We sold lots. I got lots. First year location vibe has been shrugged off, and I’ve ventured into the environs (and even found a TRADER JOES!) Nice mix of guests & friends. Didn’t puke. So…. it rocked all krazy-like.

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