Small Press Expo
The annual Small Press Expo, better known as SPX, will arrive at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Convention Center in Bethesda, Maryland, Saturday and Sunday. This particular SPX promises to be excellent — mayhap the bestest SPX evar — so allow me to run through some of the goings-on if you happen to be in that area this weekend.
Ohio State University has announced it will establish the Dylan Williams Collection of small-press and self-published comics in honor of the late creator and publisher of Sparkplug Comics who passed away Sept. 10, 2011. The collection will be part of the university’s Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. From the announcement:
Beyond his leadership as a small press publisher, Dylan was a constant advocate of under-appreciated artists, and a champion of raising awareness of cartoon art history among his contemporaries. As a friend and disciple of Bill Blackbeard, whose San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection resides here at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, a collection in Dylan’s name also serves as a fitting acknowledgement of that lineage. Though Dylan’s impact on the comics world is irreplaceable, his spirit lives on through the small press publishers that have risen in Sparkplug’s likeness, the artists who have thrived from his influence, and this collection which is intended to represent and support both as he would have done.
The collection will place a special emphasis on handmade works and small-press comics published since 1970, and in-kind donations are welcome. The library’s Caitlin McGurk will be at Small Press Expo this weekend and will participate in a panel on Institution Building and Comics on Saturday afternoon.
The nominees were announced for the 2012 Ignatz Awards, which will be presented during the Small Press Expo, held Sept. 15-16 in Bethesda, Maryland.
Named in honor of the brick-wielding mouse in George Herriman’s Krazy Kat strip, the awards recognize achievement in comics and cartooning. Nominees are selected by a panel of five cartoonists — this year it was Edie Fake, Minty Lewis, Julia Wertz, Dylan Meconis and Lark Pien — and then voted on by SPX attendees.
The nominees are:
• Marc Bell – Pure Pajamas (Drawn & Quarterly)
• Inés Estrada — Ojitos Borrosos (Self-published)
• Jaime Hernandez — Love and Rockets: New Stories (Fantagraphics)
• Craig Thompson — Habibi (Pantheon)
• Matthew Thurber — 1 800 Mice (Picturebox)
Outstanding Anthology or Collection
• Big Questions, Anders Nilsen (Drawn & Quarterly)
• Hark! A Vagrant, Kate Beaton (Drawn & Quarterly)
• The Man Who Grew His Beard, Olivier Schrauwen (Fantagraphics)
• Nobrow #6, Various artists (Nobrow)
• Ojitos Borrosos, Inés Estrada (Self-published)
This just in from Fantagraphics HQ: Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez are going on tour next month, making personal appearances on a limited stretch of the East Coast to mark the 30th anniversary of Love and Rockets. There’s nothing north of Brooklyn (sadly, for this Boston resident) but they will be making appearances at the Small Press Expo and the Brooklyn Book Festival. Here’s the full itinerary:
The Small Press Expo has unveiled Chris Ware’s poster for this year’s convention, which will be held Sept. 15-16 in Bethesda, Maryland. You can see the full poster below, and in much larger form on the SPX Tumblr (which is kind of great, and deserving repeat visits and “likes”).
Ware will be a special guest at the event, along with Dan Clowes and Gilbert and Jamie Hernandez. It’s been several years since I’ve attended SPX, but it’s a terrific (and creator-focused) show. If you’ve never made the trip, this is shaping up to be the perfect year to change that.
Publishing | Heidi MacDonald catches word that Top Cow Publisher Filip Sablik is moving on to a new job, which will be announced next month at Comic-Con International (Rich Johnston contends that gig is at BOOM! Studios). Friday will be Sablik’s last day at Top Cow; Social Marketing Coordinator Jessi Reid will assume his marketing duties. [The Beat, Bleeding Cool]
Creators | Through its partnership with the Small Press Expo, the Library of Congress has acquired works by cartoonists Matt Bors, Keith Knight, Jim Rugg, Jen Sorensen, Raina Telgemeier, Matthew Thurber and Jim Woodring. Dean Haspiel’s minicomics collection was added to the holdings just last week. [Comic Riffs]
Creators | Rich Burlew discusses the staggering $1.25 million Kickstarter campaign for reprints of collected editions of his Order of the Stick webcomic, and reveals initial postage for the five waves of shipments is estimated at $350,000. He also delves into how much time he devoted to the fundraising drive, and his strategy for reinvestment. [Publishers Weekly]
Conventions | Table space for September’s Small Press Expo has sold out: “The hardest part about producing SPX each year is not being able to accommodate all of the awesome talented folks who would like to exhibit at the show. Even with our largest show floor ever we’ve sold through all of our available table space in record time.” [SPX]
Publishing | DC Comics associate editor Janelle Asselin has left the company, reportedly for a job with Disney. She clarifies on Twitter that, contrary to a report, she wasn’t escorted from the building on Tuesday but, rather, left “at my leisure.” Asselin had been with DC since 2008, working primarily on Batman books like Batman and Robin, Batman: Streets of Gotham, Red Robin, Birds of Prey and the relaunched Batman, Batwoman, Detective Comics and Savage Hawkman. [Bleeding Cool]
Publishing | Longtime editor Betsy Mitchell is taking early retirement from her post as editor-in-chief of Del Rey, where she helped create Del Rey Manga. Tricia Pasternak, a former Del Rey Manga editor herself, has been promoted to editorial director. Del Rey was established as a science fiction prose imprint; the manga line was created in 2004 and was mostly shut down in 2010, when Kodansha began publishing its manga directly in the U.S. However, Del Rey still publishes a handful of manga and graphic novels, including xxxHolic, King of RPGs, and Deltora Quest. [Publishers Weekly]
Legal | In a twist that sounds like something out of a comic (or even an ad from an old comic), a witness in the Michael George trial testified he saw someone wearing an obviously fake beard outside George’s Clinton Township, Michigan, comics shop a few minutes before George’s first wife Barbara was murdered inside the store in 1990. [The Tribune Democrat]
Welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading? Today our special guest is Kevin Colden, whose comic work includes Fishtown, I Rule the Night, Vertigo’s Strange Adventures and Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper, among others. He’s also the drummer for the band Heads Up Display.
To see what Kevin and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below …
Conventions | Executive director Warren Bernard said attendance at this year’s Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland, was up 10 to 15 percent, with exhibitors reporting strong sales and many sell-outs. “A great line-up of new material was partially responsible, but the region itself is also a factor — the economy around metro DC has remained relatively stable even in the recession, and a lot of people with good jobs seem to save up their money for the whole year just to spend at SPX,” reported Publishers Weekly’s Heidi MacDonald and Calvin Reid. Because of the growth, next year the show will move to a bigger room with about 50 percent more space. Daniel Clowes and Chris Ware scheduled to attend. [Publishers Weekly]
Organizations | The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, meanwhile, reports that it raised $12,500 at SPX, thanks to efforts like the Jeff Alexander Memorial Benefit auction and fundraising activities involving Craig Thompson, Roz Chast and Sara Varon. [press release]
Sales charts | Dollar sales of comics sold through Diamond Comic Distributors were up more than 15 percent in August, while graphic novel dollar sales rose by more than 31 percent when compared to the year-ago period. ICv2 puts the gains in perspective, noting that comic sales were down 17 percent in August 2010 and graphic novel sales were down 21 percent. August 2010 also had four ship weeks compared to August 2011′s five. DC Comics topped the August charts with Justice League #1, followed by Flashpoint #5, Fear Itself #5, Flashpoint #4 and Ultimate Comics Fallout #4. Serenity Better Days and Other Stories from Dark Horse was the no. 1 graphic novel for August. John Jackson Miller offers commentary as well as a look at the best-selling comics of this century, a list that will include Justice League #1. [ICv2, Comichron]
Comics | The Centers for Disease Control has awarded a roughly $145,000 contract to Terminus Media to create motion comics to educate young people about HIV. The comics will be offered on “internet-capable platforms” including desktop computers, laptop computers, video gaming systems, wireless phones and tablet computers. [Politico, Via]
The winners of the 2011 Ignatz Awards were announced this weekend at SPX, the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Md. Nominees for the awards were chosen by a jury of five creators and voted on by attendees at the show.
Congratulations to this year’s winners:
Outstanding Mini Comic: Ben Died of a Train, Box Brown
Outstanding Anthology or Collection: I Will Bite You, Joseph Lambert
Outstanding Online Comic: Hark! A Vagrant, Kate Beaton
Promising New Talent: Darryl Ayo Brathwaite
Outstanding Story: Browntown, Jaime Hernandez
Outstanding Series: Everything Dies, Box Brown
Outstanding Comic: Lose #3, Michael DeForge
Outstanding Graphic Novel: Gaylord Phoenix, Edie Fake
Outstanding Artist: Joseph Lambert, I Will Bite You
SPX, or the Small Press Expo, returns to the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Bethesda, Md. this weekend.
The show’s special guests include Roz Chast, Jim Woodring, Diane Noomin, Jim Rugg, Ann Telnaes, Chester Brown, Johnny Ryan, Craig Thompson and Matthew Thurber, and fans who attend will also have the opportunity to meet and/or hear from Kevin Huizenga, Anders Nilsen, Jessica Abel, Sarah Glidden, Alex Robinson, Brian Ralph, Mike Dawson, Meredith Gran, Roger Langridge and Julia Wertz, just to name a few. I would also be remiss if I didn’t point out that our own Chris Mautner will be attending and conducting a Q&A with Johnny Ryan on Saturday, so be sure to tell him hi for us.
Education | The Center For Cartoon Studies’ Schulz Library in White River Junction, Vermont, was damaged over the weekend in flooding caused by torrential rains from Hurricane Irene. According to CCS Director James Sturm, volunteers called in Sunday night were able to remove about 70 percent of the library’s collection and move the remaining materials to higher shelves. However, he indicated to Tom Spurgeon that the building itself may be a loss. [The Comics Reporter]
Publishing | Jim Shooter, former editor-in-chief for Marvel Comics, shares the story of how DC Comics almost licensed the publishing rights to their characters to Marvel in the mid-1980s. Obviously the deal never happened, which Shooter said was due to a lawsuit by First Comics alleging anti-trust violations. [Jim Shooter]
Creators | Gail Simone discusses her upcoming work on Batgirl and Fury of Firestorm. [TFAW]
Organizers have released the programming schedule for the Sept. 10-11 Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland, which includes panels featuring Jessica Abel, Kate Beaton, Roz Chast, Sarah Glidden, Tom Neely, Alex Robinson, Johnny Ryan, Craig Thompson, Jim Woodring and more.
Among the moderators will be Robot 6 contributors Sean T. Collins, talking with Thompson and leading a discussion about drawing the grotesque, and Chris Mautner, interviewing Ryan.
Held at the Bethesda North Marriott Convention Center, SPX includes the presentation of the annual Ignatz Awards, a festival prize that recognizes outstanding achievement in comics and cartooning. See the full programming schedule after the break.