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The Small Press Expo arrives in Bethesda, Maryland, this weekend. I’ll be there Saturday (assuming this current stomach ache clears up), covering the event for CBR, yakking it up on one of the panels and just generally enjoying myself. I’ll be wearing one of my traditional black video game shirts (Capcom no doubt) so be sure and say hi if you see me.
In the meantime, I thought I’d take the time to offer a quick list of suggestions regarding what to buy and what to see. I also heartily recommend checking out Comicsgirl’s SPX dining guide and her general survival guide to the show. Reding them will save you a lot of time and worry.
Ten comics that everyone will surely be buzzing about:
1. Map of My Heart by John Porcellino. The King-Cat author’s latest graphic novel makes its debut at the D&Q table. Porcellino also did the art for the show badges, which are pretty cool.
2. Ganges #3 by Kevin Huizenga. This is easily the most anticipated book in Fantagraphics’ Ignatz line and possible one of the most anticipated indie comics of the year.
3. Driven by Lemons by Josh Cotter. This one’s a bit of a maybe in that AdHouse may or may not have copies ready. If they do though, I expect them to go quickly.
4. Cold Heat 7/8 by Frank Santoro and Ben Jones. The latest chapter in Santoro and Jones’ trippy sci-fi adventure is always good news. The limited print run means it will be a bit pricey, but still worth it.
5. Monsters by Ken Dahl. The first few chapters of Dahl’s semi-autobiographical tale about his adventures in the land of STDs has made for a gripping read. I look forward to getting the completed version this weekend. He’ll be at the Secret Acres table.
6. Years of the Elephant by Willy Linthout. Linthout was supposed to be a guest at this year’s event but had to back out at the last minute for various reasons. Still, I imagine his heart-rendering story of how he came to terms with his son’s suicide will still manage to garner interest.
7. Pim and Francie by Al Columbia. Good lord, how long has it been since we’ve had a new book from Al Columbia?
8. The Buenaventura Press 3-Pack. Rather than list every single comic separately, I’ll merely note that BP will be selling the latest issues of Injury by Ted May, The Aviatrix by Eric Haven and I Want You by Lisa Hanawalt in one glorious bundle. They’ll also have the latest issue of Matt Furie’s Boys Club on hand. (Oops, that makes 11.)
Five panels I’d want to attend (if I were staying the whole weekend)
1. 12:00 Saturday — Jerry Moriarty: Jack Survives. I’ve always been curious about the man behind those “Jack Survives” strips. Now’s my chance to learn more.
2. 5:00 Saturday Gahan Wilson in the Spotlight. Wilson’s the big star of the show, and from what I understand a good raconteur (he’s certainly dabbled in everything), so this should be a fun event.
3. 3:30 Saturday — Critics’ Roundtable. Ok, this one’s cheating a bit, since I’m going to be one of the critics on the panel. Still, I’m genuinely curious to hear what some of the other folks on the panel — like Jog, Tucker Stone and Sean Collins — will have to say.
4. 1:00 Sunday — Carol Tyler Q & A. Tyler’s memoir, “You’ll Never Know” has garnered great praise from those who’ve read it and I’d be interested in hearing her talk about its development.
5. 3:30 Sunday — The Future of the Comic Book. Alvin Buenaventura, Kevin Huizenga, Matthew Thurber, Hellen Jo and Noah Van Sciver talk about what the future holds for the pamphlet format. I’m hoping it includes jet packs.