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27 September 2009 @ 08:43 pm
What I Bought (and Liked) at SPX  
There were hundreds (actually, probably more like thousands) of mini-comics for sale in Bethesda at SPX, but I only came home with about a dozen of them.

My rules for avoiding becoming overwhelmed were that: 1) I only picked up a book when something about the cover made me curious, and 2) I only bought that book when something about the insides made me smile.

So I'd walk the aisles, scanning the tables for an image or title that would make me go "Hmmmm ... "

To those first two rules, I guess I should add a third—that I'm only going to tell you about those comics and creators I actually enjoyed enough to want to track down more of their work and whose work I think you should track down, too.

East 9th St.

What caught my eye about the unfoldable comic by John Mejias was the dark ink and stark art of the handmade woodcut print. What made me buy it was that the punchline of the short strip made me smile. I thought of the incident he described as rather Pekar-esque in its pacing, though East 9th St. made me happy, which is something Pekar never does. Studying it further after I got home, I wished I bought more of his stuff. Luckily, you and I can both click to his online store.

Book Comic

I picked up Phil McAndrew's comic because of the title (well, which is it, a comic or a book?), and because I liked the goofiness of the couple on the cover. Then I started reading the story about a man and a woman comparing notes on the books they were reading, one illustrating the differences between how (some) men and (some) women view reading. I didn't read the whole thing while standing at his table, just enough to know I wanted to see how it turned out. Which seemed a good enough reason to purchase it. Once I read it, I liked it even more. You can see the first four pages below (in the comic, there's a panel a page, and it's in black and white rather than color). It turns out that you can read the whole thing here. But don't let that stop you from buying a copy.

At Least It's Company

What attracted me about David Huyck's work wasn't the comic I actually ended up buying, it was the print below. I loved the whimsy of it. I didn't buy one, though, because I didn't feel a need to bring more artwork into my life (hey, I passed on a chance to own another Gahan Wilson original), and I was looking for something narrative. The title At Least It's Company made me curious, as did the illustration of a man eyeing a cloud that was eyeing him back, and once I read the first few pages, and got to the spread that explained the meaning behind the title, I smiled and was won over.

Seven More Days of Not Getting Eaten and Is It Bacon?

Matt Wiegle was the only creator whose work seemed so interesting that I bought two of his books. I was taken by the titles of both of these, and the first few pages of each lived up to them. I'm fairly ignorant of the zine scene, and had no idea of Wiegle's reputation, so it's only now that I've discovered the first book, which is the more substantial and which I liked the best, was nominated for a 2007 Ignatz Award for Outstanding Mini-Comic. I'm glad I liked these before I knew there was any buzz. Seven More Days of Not Getting Eaten is about a fish trying to do just what the title suggests, in a fairy tale kind of way. You can check out a preview of Seven More Days of Not Getting Eaten here and Is It Bacon? here.

The Life & Times of Baby Otto Zeplin: Volume 1

What attracted me about the first volume of BT Livermore's series was the elegant design of the cover. (Covers, actually, as multiple volumes were for sale.) And the head of a winking baby, printed layered with gold ink. Then I picked it up and flipped through, reading a surreal account of the daily life of a baby at the beginning of the 20th century. You can see two sample pages below (the books themselves are a panel—and a day— a page). I liked the whimsy. (As you can tell from all I've said so far, I'm big on whimsy.)

This was my first Small Press Expo, and I'm already looking forward to going back next year. I'm hoping that it and Capclave continue to keep their weekends separate!
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