SPX Round Up.
Last weekend Lomax and I had a table at the Small Press Expo held every year in Baltimore. It was a first for us, taking all our wares and presenting them as a duo. In the past we had attended alongside the Philadelphia Cartoonist Society to promote our nifty group of cartoonists. This go round we shared a full table with just two other creatives, James Point Du Jour and Missy Hodges.
If you have never been to SPX you are really missing out, there is a sense of community, creativity and joy that is absent from many of the other cons. The big two are asked to stay home (sorry Marvel and DC) and this is a con that is centered around the artists and writers of comics (no autographs of your favorite reality TV star here). Just artists telling stories.
Above: A pic of all the amazing stuff Melissa and I got this year at SPX.
Below: A lil’ slideshow of pictures I took while at our table.
Which leads me to the above title. I accepted long ago that I will never draw a Batman comic and I have a better shot at seeing an actual wolverine walking down Broad Street than drawing the iconic comic character. At first (when I was a bit younger) that was a little hard to accept. At the heart of every cartoonist there is a list of mainstream comics and characters that are responsible for them first picking up a pencil and giving cartooning a whirl. For me that was Batman. As I realized my style, technique and my approach to story telling, I also realized that it strayed away from the comics that I read as a kid. The separation of the art you love and the art you make is a hard pill to swallow for every artist. In the recent years I’ve embraced telling my own stories and making something that is entirely all me. The Small Press Expo showed me that their is a home for that kind of story telling, over a decade ago, when I first attended with all my buddies from the Philadelphia Cartoonist Society. And I am happy to report that it is the same today, if not larger in scope and creativity than it ever was.
Below: A slideshow of all the pics taken by the Small Press Expo. So kewl t be included!
On the ride home Melissa and I discussed “What was our favorite part of the con?”, something we do after every super-fun -event we attend whether it be a wedding or a concert or a comic convention. This time I had to compartmentalize my answer a bit. As a teacher, it was seeing so many former students with their work on display. As an author, it was the girl that bought a copy of my book to give to her friend who was just diagnosed with lymphoma. She thought it might help. As a creative, it was seeing the items that Lomax and I had collaborated on sold the best. As a human being, it was the hug and and the handmade “thank you” card that I received from my former student Lauren. That last one, was my absolute favorite, even made my eyeballs sweat a little.
So I may never draw Batman, but that doesn’t mean I can’t feel super about being a cartoonist from time to time. Thank you to everyone that helps make SPX possible. It’s the bestest con around!
Below: My favorite thing from all of SPX? This handmade card from my former student Lauren.