Alternative Press Expo
The Alternative Press Expo, or APE, kicked off today in San Francisco, and I made the trek up north to partake in comic culture-dom. I missed the show last year, and in fact haven’t been to a comic convention since SDCC in 2010, so it was fun to get back into the con groove. And APE is just the place to do it, with its laid back vibe and focus on making, buying and talking about comics.
Like I said, I missed last year’s show, so I have no idea how the crowds compared or the size of the place compared. Since I first started attending the show in 2007, they’ve switched up the layout of the place, and it seemed much bigger, with more exhibitors, than it has in the past. There seemed to be a bunch of people there, many with kids, and the folks exhibiting who I talked to for the most part seemed to be happy with the turn out. The weather was beautiful, which can sometimes be a hindrance; San Francisco doesn’t have that many days per year where there’s lots of sunshine and it’s very warm outside, so you never know when someone might decide to hit the park instead of, say, a convention. It’ll be interesting to hear what the CCI folks say about attendance this year
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:
Prism Comics, the nonprofit group that supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender creators and comics, has opened submissions for this year’s Queer Press Grant.
The grant is awarded to writers/artists or teams working on comic books, comic strips, webcomics or graphic novels with significant LGBT characters and themes. Creators don’t need to be LGBT to apply; entries are judged by the Prism board and past recipients based first on artistic merit, and then financial need, proposal presentation and the work’s contributions to the LGBT community.
“The Queer Press Grant is a significant resource to help promote LGBT themes in independent comics, and to support up-and-coming cartoonists bringing their projects into the world,” Justin Hall, Prism’s talent relations chair, said in a statement. “Every year, the QPG gives both financial support and extra publicity to a worthy recipient.”
Past winners include Robert Kirby, Eric Orner, Megan Gedris and Ed Luce.
Guidelines can be found on the Prism website. The deadline is Oct. 1, with the winner announced at the Oct. 13-14 Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco.
Distributors | Johanna Draper Carlson catches a couple of tweets from publishers indicating that independent-comics distributor Haven, formed in 2008 from the assets of Cold Cut Distribution, is shutting down at the end of the month. Calls for confirmation this morning to Haven’s Skokie, Illinois, offices went to voicemail. The company’s closing would leave Diamond without any significant competition for independent comics distribution — print comics, at least. As Johanna notes, the industry giant still has a rival in another quarter: digital distributor comiXology. [Comics Worth Reading]
Legal | The defense rested in the Michael George trial Tuesday after the comics retailer, who is accused in the 1990 murder of his first wife, chose not to take the stand. His lawyers argued that if he were to do so, his testimony would become the sole focus of the trial. George’s current wife Renee, who was kept out of the courtroom for most of the trial in case she was called as a witness, also did not testify. Closing arguments are scheduled for Thursday, and then the case will be sent to the jury. [Detroit Free Press]
Legal | Defense testimony began in the Michael George trial Monday after the judge denied a motion by the defense to order an acquittal. George’s daughter Tracie testified that she remembers her father sleeping on the couch in his mother’s house the night in 1990 when his first wife Barbara was shot and killed in their Clinton Township, Michigan, comic store. Another defense witness, Douglas Kenyon, told the jury he saw a “suspicious person” in the store that evening and that Barbara George, who waited on him, seemed nervous. [Detroit Free Press]
Conventions | Last weekend’s Alternative Press Expo inspired Deb Aoki to offer a burst of suggestions on Twitter as to how it could be made better. Heidi MacDonald collected the tweets into a single post, and the commenters add some worthwhile points (including not scheduling it opposite the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, which attracts much of the same audience and is free). [Deb Aoki's Twitter, The Beat]
Awards | Ian Culbard’s adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness won the British Fantasy Award for best comic/graphic novel, presented Saturday by the British Fantasy Society. [The British Fantasy Society]
Comics retailer Isotope Comics in San Francisco is once again hosting their annual mini-comics award competition, and — AHHHH!!! — entries are due Monday by midnight!
“It’s my favorite time of year, when we get an opportunity to help spotlight a creator who is toiling in the underground making something magical that almost no one has seen yet… seriously, what could be more exciting?!” said Isotope retailer James Sime, “I consider the winner to be the comic industry’s Miss America for the year, it’s the Isotope’s job to get their work out there to the comics press and reviewers. And I’m proud to say that winning this award has helped some amazingly talented folks get noticed and published by some of the best and coolest comic publishers in our industry. So don’t be shy… I know that many of you out there are hand-crafting some mini-comics brilliance, let us help share your work with the world!”
Past winners of the award include Joshua W. Cotter, Max Riffner, Daniel Merlin Goodbrey and Danica Novgorodoff, among many others. To enter this competition, simply send five copies of your mini-comic to Isotope’s address (326 Fell St. San Francisco, CA 94102) before the Sept. 26 deadline.
Wheeler is also one of the special guests at the show this year, which also include Kate Beaton, Daniel Clowes, Craig Thompson, Matthew Thurber and Adrian Tomine. APE runs Oct. 1-2 in San Francisco.
Over on the CBR mothership, two potential “book of the year” candidates are talking about what makes them tick. First up is Daniel Clowes, author of Wilson. In a report on Clowes’s Dan Nadel-hosted spotlight panel at APE, CBR’s Karl Kelly reveals that Clowes thinks none too highly of the readability of classic comics even by artists he admires:
“I realized at a certain point that the thing that keeps me drawing comics and the thing that has always moved me along is that comics history is really disappointing,” Clowes responded. “It’s not the same as the history of novels, history of art, history of movies, the body of work is pretty spotty. The things we imagined don’t really exist. We imagine that Alex Toth did really amazing comics in the 50s that really worked, that were like Howard Hawk’s movies, but he didn’t do that. He never made a comic you could read. It’s terrible, and I say that thinking that he was one of the greatest geniuses of the 20th Century.”
Pigeon Press wuz robbed! Publisher Alvin Buenaventura reports that his new publishing venture had two copies of the legendary, gigantic, expensive hardcover anthology Kramers Ergot 7 stolen from its table at APE this past Sunday morning. Buenaventura, who’s had a rough enough year as it is, is looking for help from any APE exhibitors and attendees who may have witnessed the thieves in action. With a book that size, they’d be hard to miss.
If you were at APE and you saw something, say something! Not only will you help catch a thief and (hopefully) facilitate the return of some very expensive merchandise, you’ll also help solve the mystery of how anyone could waltz away with two copies of a book roughly the size of a Great Dane.
While Saturday in San Francisco was beautiful, Sunday brought rain — so what better way to spend time indoors than to hang out at the Alternative Press Expo? I got there a little earlier on Sunday than I did the day before, so it was a little less crowded when I arrived. That would change as the day went on.
I had about half an hour to kill before the Writers Old Fashioned panel at noon, so I headed to their booth to find a copy of Pete Hodapp’s award-winning minicomic. Retailer James Sime, who runs the Isotope minicomics awards every year, had tweeted that the winner would be APE selling copies of his book, so I wanted to make sure I picked one up. Hodapp was at the WOF table with Kirsten Baldock, who works at Isotope and is a writer as well. I missed the party the night before, but Baldock had great things to say about his acceptance speech, and I was glad I got a copy before they were all snatched up.
After that I started slowly making my way toward the room where the panels were being held, stopping at a few tables to see what people had. I met Barry Deutsch, who was there with copies of his book Hereville, and we talked while he moved from one table to another. I also met Charles Yoakum and bought a copy of his crime comic, The Carnival. Yoakum worked for years as an inker, doing books like Bloodshot, Turok, Magnus Robot Fighter, Batman: Outlaws and many more. He said he stepped away from comics around 2000, and only recently returned. He inked Paul Gulacy’s pencils in the Radical series Time Bomb, and he’s writing and drawing his own comics as well … which is what brought him to the show.
I’ve still got plenty to say about the Alternative Press Expo, which wrapped up today, but for now I thought I’d share a few photos …
His comic, The Possum and the Pepper Spray, is “a true story about rural living and combat with the critters who live there.” Hodapp was in from Wisconsin this weekend to accept the award and then head to APE today, where he had copies for sale at the Writers Old Fashioned booth. You can check out some sample pages and find info on ordering it online here.
Previous winners of the award include Joshua W. Cotter, Danica Novgorodoff, Rob Osborne, Will Dinski, Daniel Merlin Goodbrey and Max Riffner.
It was beautiful yet windy day in San Francisco yesterday as I headed to San Francisco for the Alternative Press Expo. I got there a bit later than I’d hoped, due to a quick pit stop in Mountain View that turned into a traffic nightmare. The lot behind the Concourse was already full by the time I arrived, a hint of the crowds that had gathered inside. And inside, everything was different. The layout of the floor was basically flipped, so what used to be the back of the building was now the front of the building. They also had part of their programming slate, the comic workshops, out in an open area up on one of the landings, which I thought worked nicely.
My first stop was the Writers Old Fashioned booth, where I said hello to Jason McNamara, Storm, Matt Silady, Stephenny Godfrey, Emily Stackhouse, Josh Richardson, Danger Bob and the rest of the crew. They were sporting some new eye-catching banners. I also met Greg Hinkle, who worked with several of the WOF crew on a new horror comic called Parasomnia, which they had at the show … and which you’ll be able to see right here on Robot 6 the week of Halloween. I picked up copies Storm’s second Princess Witch Boy and Godfrey’s award-winning Panorama, and Stackhouse showed me her artwork from her next comic, Miner’s Mutiny, which she should have soon.
AdHouse Books returned to APE this year, bringing Adam Hines and his book Duncan the Wonder Dog. I picked up a copy; it’s a huge and mammoth volume that I’m looking forward to reading. I also have to give props to the folks at the Devastator table, whose excitement was infectious. I picked up the first volume and bought a subscription for the next three.
After an engaging spotlight panel, Daniel Clowes was signing at the Drawn and Quarterly booth, drawing a huge line of folks with everything from issues of Lloyd Llewellyn to his latest, Wilson, for him to sign. Renee French was close by, signing her latest, H-Day; we talked briefly about blogging (check out her always interesting sketch blog here).
It looks like rain today, so I should probably start making my way to the Concourse to see if I can get a better parking space …
The Alternative Press Expo, or APE, is coming up this weekend in San Francisco. The show runs this Saturday and Sunday at the Concourse on 8th Street. This year’s special guests include Daniel Clowes, Lynda Barry, Tony Millionaire, Renee French, Rich Koslowski, Megan Kelso and Tommy Kovac. In addition to an exhibitor’s room packed with comics of all shapes and sizes, they also have panels, workshops and even a “speed dating” event to help pair up writers and artists.
Here’s one more round of stuff to do/buy at the show. I’ll be there both days and will hopefully get a chance to blog from the floor.
The Alternative Press Expo, or APE, is coming up this weekend in San Francisco. The show runs Saturday and Sunday at the Concourse on 8th Street. This year’s special guests include Daniel Clowes, Lynda Barry, Tony Millionaire, Renee French, Rich Koslowski, Megan Kelso and Tommy Kovac. In addition to an exhibitor’s room packed with comics of all shapes and sizes, they also have all sorts of panels and even a “speed dating” event to help writers find artists (and vice versa).
One thing I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet is that this year they’ve added a full slate of creator workshops, where you can learn how to draw facial expressions with Raina Telgemeier and market a comic that’s easier to read than to describe with Larry Marder, among many others. In other words, APE isn’t just about talking about and buying comics, it’s also about learning to create and sell them yourself.
Prior to the show, I’ll be posting what various companies and creators have planned for APE. If you’d like to be included, email me the details on where you’ll be, what you’ll be selling and all that good stuff. (I’d send them quickly, though, since the show starts on Saturday and I’ll likely just do one more round-up tomorrow).
And now let’s see what folks have planned …