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The Alternative Press Expo, or APE, returns to the Concourse Exhibition Center in San Francisco this weekend. The show’s special guests are Groo creator Sergio Aragonés, Flood creator Eric Drooker, all three legendary Hernandez Brothers, The Cardboard Valise creator Ben Katchor, jobnik! creator Miriam Libicki, and Weathercraft creator and giant pen owner Jim Woodring, all of whom have spotlight panels over the course of the two days. In addition, other guests attending the show include Shannon Wheeler, Stan Mack, Justin Hall, Derek Kirk Kim, Jason Shiga, Thien Pham, Jamaica Dyer and many more.
In addition to the spotlight panels, the show has panels on politics and comics, censorship, queer cartoonists and a “Gigantes” meet-up with the Hernandez Bros. and Aragones. They also have workshop panels if you’re interested in making comics and a “creator connection” that allows aspiring creators to find writers or artists to work with.
The show is usually one of my favorites of the year, mainly because it’s so easy going and loaded with opportunities to discover something new and cool. Here’s a round-up of some of the folks you can see and buy cool stuff from at the show, as well as things to do inside and outside of the Concourse:
Fantagraphics has stuff going on both inside and outside the Concourse. Saturday night the Cartoon Art Museum will kick off Love and Rockets: A 30th Anniversary Celebration, and Jaime, Gilbert and Mario Hernandez will be in attendance. They’ll also be at the show, where you can find them at the Fantagraphics booth all weekend. Here is their booth schedule:
Saturday, October 13th
12:00-1:30 PM Mark Kalesniko
12:00 – 1:00 PM Shannon Wheeler
1:30 – 3:30 PM Jim Woodring
3:30 – 5:30 PM Gilbert Hernandez // Jaime Hernandez // Mario Hernandez
5:30 – 6:30 PM Justin Hall // Mark Kalesniko
Sunday, October 14th
12:00-1:00 PM Justin Hall // Mark Kalesniko
1:00 – 2:30 PM Gilbert Hernandez // Jaime Hernandez // Mario Hernandez
2:30 – 3:30 PM Jim Woodring // Shannon Wheeler
4:00 – 5:00 PM Gilbert Hernandez // Jaime Hernandez // Mario Hernandez
5:00 – 6:00 PM Jim Woodring // Mark Kalesniko
Fantagraphics will also debut Jim Woodring’s Problematic: Sketchbook Drawings 2004-2011, and will also have many of their other recent releases on hand. Find out more on their blog.
BOOM! Town, the “literary” comics imprint of BOOM! Studios, will be on hand with their line of books. Joining them at their booth will be Too Much Coffee Man creator Shannon Wheeler, who has a number of projects through the imprint, and Carol Lay, who will be signing bookplates for her as-yet-unreleased book Illiterature. “We will have exclusive tip-in plates available for Carol Lay’s Illiterature that fans can get signed, and copies of Illiterature will be shipped to them later this month,” BOOM!’s Filip Sablik told me. “We’ll also have copies of the gorgeous Mattias Unfiltered sketchbook on hand alongside copies of various BOOM! Town titles and Adventure Time comics.”
Top Shelf is bi-costal this weekend, split between APE and the New York Comic Con. Brett Warnock will be holding down the fort this weekend for APE, and joining him are Rich Koslowski (BB Wolf & the 3 LPs, Three Fingers), J. D. Arnold (BB Wolf), and Wayne Shellabarger (Veeps: Profiles in Insignificance). So drop by their booth for Shellabarger’s “savvy (and sardonic) analysis” of last night’s vice presidential debate.
Drawn and Quarterly
Drawn and Quarterly will welcome Adrian Tomine (Optic Nerve, Scenes from an Impending Marriage) on Saturday only, from 1 to 3 p.m. They’ll also have Moomin and much more for sale at their table.
California College of the Arts
Matt Silady, chair of the college program at the California College Of The Arts, will be at the show debuting an anthology created by a group of 15-year-old cartoonists who attended a comics boot camp this past summer. See the cover above, which features characters by each high school student in the class.
“Our big, big, big news is the debut of our brand new MFA in Comics program,” Silady told me. “Anyone interested at creating comics at the graduate level is encouraged to stop by and speak with our students and faculty to find out what making comics at CCA is all about.”
You can find more information at the program’s website, or in this great interview with Matt at the Comics Reporter.
Highway 62 Press
Highway 62 Press will be exhibiting at the show, bringing copies of both Strangeways graphic novels, as well as preview pages from the upcoming The Land Will Know. Writer Matt Maxwell will be there to sign copies, talk shop and write up five-minute stories.
Copies of the limited chapbook version of Tug on the Ribbon will also be available, but those are a strictly limited supply, as they say in the business.
Stan Mack will bring his new book, Taxes, The Tea Party and Those Revolting Rebels: A History in Comics of the American Revolution and will be signing throughout the weekend at the NBM booth, #203.
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
You’ll be able to find CBLDF at booth #318, where they will have signed premiums and exclusive autograph sessions with APE Special Guest Ben Katchor. They’ll host a panel on censorship Saturday at noon, and Katchor will be at their booth Saturday from 2 to 3 p.m. and Sunday from 1:45 to 2:45 p.m. More details here.
Jamaica Dyer (Weird Fishes) has a table at APE this year, booth 645, and will have a self-published run of her Fox Head Stew graphic novel printed in full color. “I only have 30 of them on hand, so they could go fast,” she said. “I’ll have some beautiful large art prints available fresh off the press, some original art for sale, and a new pen and ink diary comic called Ultimate Bedhead.” She is also hosting one of APE’s worshops, a watercolor demo at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Ethan Young will be at booth 404A selling his new book Tails: Book One, published through Hermes Press and reprinting the first nine chapters of his webcomic. He’ll also have prints, T-shirts, buttons and bookmarks.
Isotope Comics will host their annual APE Aftermath party at their shop on Saturday, with “one of SF’s best on the wheels of steel, DJ Bearzbub, and our master mixologist Kirsten Baldock on the twin cocktail shakers,” Isotope’s James Sime told me. The party goes from 8 p.m. until midnight. Also, if you’re wondering about the annual Isotope minicomics awards, which are usually presented during APE weekend, Sime said this year would have been the 10th time they’ve presented the awards and he wanted to make them “extra special.”
“Given all the extra work we needed to put in to make MorrisonCon happen, we didn’t have the time to really give that 10th annual the love we felt it deserved. So we decided to just skip this year,” he said.