So, this past weekend, I packed up my girlfriend's car, kidnapped Sean T. Collins and David Paggi, and headed down to Bethesda, Maryland for my 3rd SPX show in a row. I can't emphasize how purple-nurple-ingly happy it makes me to be fortunate enough to live in the New York area and take advantage of shows like THIS. Just nice, open people stoked to make/talk about/sell/INHALE/swim in comics with each other. These people live and SCREAM the fucking things and if you've never been to a show like SPX or MoCCA or APE, then please take it upon yourself to go sometime.
And this year was great! PACKED on Saturday, nippy on Sunday, SPX also took us to the Pancake House where I had the best flapjacks I've ever eaten. I got tipsy at the Ignatz's after Sean gave an award and a cool speech, learned a little at the Critics Roundtable where Sean was a panelist (finally), talked Star Wars with Dave in the hotel room, and got home before dark on Sunday.
Aside from listening to the White Album for the first time ever while driving (THANKS, Sean) and getting a few new sketches in the Watchmen and ninja books (I'll post them later), I also picked up a buttload (boatload?) of new books. Smell my empty wallet below:
- Super F*ckers #279 (#4) - This was the final issue of James Kochalka's colorful superhero book bursting with colorful language (and action!). One of the top 5 funniest fucking series I've ever read and it took me about 40 years to finally get it. Pathetic.
- Pim and Francie - Al Columbia's mammoth art book filled with sketches and nightmarish images from Fantagraphics debuted at the show and it's probably the book I was most hyper to get my hands on. And with Columbia there, I snagged his signature and a smiley-face drawing. It's a beautifully produced volume and I broke my "don't buy books from publishers you can get online or at a comic shop" small press comic show rule to get it. But fuck the rules, I've been DYING for this thing!
- Tales from Greenfuzz #3 - I'd never heard of creator Will Sweeney before the recent Treehouse of Horror #15, but after seeing his unique style in there, I randomly found this single issue at the PictureBox booth. And after a brief flip-thru, I found a colorful maze of action scenes, fruit people, and action figure-worthy designs. Serial, it's like a Saturday morning cartoon took acid and listened to the RZA. (So I bought it)
- Drawing Between the Lines DVD - At San Diego this year, I ran into Jeffrey Brown and he told me he'd just been to a screening of a documentary about himself! Lo and behold, Jeffrey was selling copies at the Top Shelf table during SPX, so I grabbed one and I can't wait to watch and learn how one of my favorite creators creates.
- Boot Legs - I'm a sucker for smartly inappropriate parodies of mainstream superhero comics and you don't get much more smart than a Ghost Rider vs. Aquaman story (Fire vs. Water!!!) or much more inappropriate than Daredevil getting to third base with the Punisher. Fun-good times from Pat Aulisio!
CCS Graduates UNITE!!!
- Dark Corners - The all-new 4-Square anthology from the I Know Joe Kimpel peoples has a theme I love: HORROR! Caitlin Plovinick, Jeff Lok, and Denis St. John deliver a creepy good time, but the standout has to be Mario Van Buren's The Marsh part 2. I had no idea there was a second chapter to that chilling story, so HIGH FIVE!
- Only Skin #4 - Are you not reading this atmospheric creep-fest that appears to be a werewolf story wrapped in a character study of a small, dysfunctional town? Well then you're a jerk. I didn't mean that. Please borrow my copies. Then sleep with the lights on.
- Anchorless - A new anthology from One Percent press! Joe Lambert! Alexis Frederick-Frost! James Hindle! JP Coovert! All in one book about life on the water. I almost always neglect grabbing these books when they come out, though, cause the covers forgo title logos in favor of gorgeous cover layouts, and I forget which ones I do or don't have. So I'm especially happy I caught it this time thanks to a head-up from a buddy at the show.
- Untitled Ship Book - In this impossibly fun horizontal mini from Alexis Frederick-Frost, a ship leaves port and has an adventure on the ocean before your eyes. The ship remains stationary on each page, but the background changes, so it's almost like a flip-book adventure. And with each cover individually water-colored, the individuality deeper (as if it needed to!). This is another heads-up find.
- Knives and Come Back - Two new mini-minis from James Hindle detailing adventures in adolescence.
- Unsettled - An envelope packed with 3 other new minis from James Hindle! After flipping through Knives and Come Back, I didn't even bother flipping through these before buying them. And then I flipped through them in my hotel room and punched Dave in the side of the head, I was so excited.
- Rematch - JP Coovert, the captain of colorful (despite usually being black and white) cool comics makes me so mad. A book about him skateboarding into space to beat a malevolent alien at space-ping-pong? How did I not think of this?! And lookit that fun cover! Comics needs about 12 more JP Cooverts.
- Snake Oil #4 - The issue of Chuck McBuck's series dropped at the show with a cover style different from the construction paper screen-print covers of past issues. I love that new logo.
- A Bad Wind - When I bought Snake Oil #4, McBuck, in a polite move meant to be helpful, reminded me that it was issue #4 and asked if I had the first 3. I told him that not only did I have the first 3, but that I'd mistakenly bought 2 copies of issue #3 cause that one has 2 similar covers available. It was my bad, but to make amends, he offered this screen-printed beauty for free. Farts!
- Ten Thousand Things to Do #5 - There's a new issue?! I thought this diary comic from Jesse Reklaw was only running 4 issues! Out of all the comics I've read over the last 6 months, this one has had the most impact on me for a number of reasons, so I was floored when I found this at the Sparklplug booth.
- Miranda Baby - I'd never heard of Sean Christiansen, but I flipped through this mini at Sparkplug's table and giggled at his story about a keyboard and an annoyed kitty and I was sold. His site is rad, too.
- Head to Head - The very talented Matt Wiegle collected a handful of his neat-ass sketch gags into this dollar mini. I want to draw like him.
- Piece Meal - I haven't read Nate Beaty's BFF book yet (or anything at all by him, really), but this mini has a cool-looking story about making out and another about climbing a tree, so I figured I'd give him a try.
- 33 Beasties - My girlfriend Sam couldn't make it to the show, so she asked me to get her "something cute." She has a monster sketchbook and Drew Weing is a monster talent, so I grabbed his new mini of monsters sketches for her. But, really, this is like a husband getting his wife a fishing pole or a lawnmower for her birthday...
- Monsters - Ken Dahl went and collected his meticulously drawn epic about adventures with VD into one gigantic collection. I grabbed the first 3 issues he came out with (those screen-printed covers are NUTS!), but I win by owning this book, too, because it's got almost 3 whole additional issues worth of material! And the little Herpes temporary tattoo that came with the book is going right the hell on my lip.
- Papercutter #11 - The new issue of Tugboat's anthology series looks like a doozy. And Dustin Harbin did a sequential story inside! SQEEEEEE!
- Displacement #1-3 - Shawn Murphy and I were interns at Wizard together about 37 years ago, so I snagged the first three issues of his new series about a daydreamed doppleganger trying to murder and replace him. Pretty wild.
- Noah Van Sciver special - The young creator had these issues made especially for the show.
- SPX badge - With cute art by John Porcellino! It's bizarre how much the girl on that badge looks like me. Sean's VIP pass had a superhero on it.
- The Princess of Time - I like newsprint on my fingers, so I was glad to find Jon Vermilyea's fantasy epic at the show after having read his C.H.U.D.-inspired story in Treehouse of Horror #15 last week.
- Aviatrix #1 - I liked 2 of Eric Haven's 3 Tales to Demolish issues, so I was iffy on grabbing the first issue of this new book from Buneaventura. But then I read the two-page short in the front of the book about a zoo patron who calls an ant-eater "fat" and the ensuing carnage hypnotized me into buying this hilarious issue. I'm glad I did.
- Dharbin #2 - Since last year, when Dustin Harbin drew me a banana and a plate of poop, I've been following his exciting work online at his blog and on his flickr account. The guy can draw like whoa. And luckily, he's collected a bunch of that online content into this new issue of his one-man anthology of fun. Remember how I said we need 12 more JP Cooverts? Well, between his cavalier courtesy, immense talent, and just plain cool dude-ness, EVERYBODY should be Dustin Harbin. There. I said it.
- Redbird 1.5: VS - Dan Zettwoch did a mini told entirely from the perspective of an electric race track, but narrated by the two kids playing with the toy. FUNZZZ.
- Amazing Facts and Beyond #2 - Kevin Huizenga, Dan Zettwoch and Ted May answer all kinds of puzzling questions in this second collection of the fun sketch-blog experiment of the same name. Lime green screen print!!!
- Pope Hats #1 - Ethan Rilley won a Xeric for this book about a girl and her friend (and some ghosts and demons) searching for what they want out of life. The art has this terrific sketchy cartoony style.
- The Nervous Party - Ethan Rilley was also selling this mini about a bar party filled with one-page vignettes of the different guests and why they're anxious to be there. Again, his art is the star here and I love his backgrounds.
- SPX Program guide - Great! Another thing for me to start collecting: Program Guides for all the show's I've been to. And the stack is getting bigger than I expected...
- Legends of Super Wrestle - One of the final things I bought at the show (my money's tighter then, too, so my last purchases have really gotta impress me), this mini was described to me as "an action comic where an island is ruled by wrestlers and they have to fight to live." FUCK YES. And then the pencils/inks inside were so wonderfully vibrant! Like in the irreverent family of Seth Fisher or Jeremy Scott. Can't wait for more from these guys.
- Buzz #3 - It's not SPX without me buying a mini from Corinne Mucha and this one-lady anthology was this year's pick. And her book Shithole was listed as an Honorary Mention in this year's Best American Comics, so congrats to her!
- This is What Concerns Me - Susie Cagle's mini features art that reminded me of Lisa Rosalie Elsenberg's so I grabbed this sucker quickly. I also, for some reason, kept making eye-contact with Susie every time I passed her booth, so I apologize if you felt creeped out, Susie. I'm just an accidental weirdo.
Things I didn't get:
- Anything from the Microcosm booth - I just didn't find anything I wanted this year. So, instead, Dave and I would meet in the spacious, hidden area in front of their booth at the corner of the show floor to comfort each other when someone declined to do a Watchmen sketch for me or a Calvin and Hobbes sketch for him. We're sensitive nerds.
- Ganges 3 - It debuted at the show, but I was short on money! Matter of fact, I didn't grab the new Steve Ditko book or You are There from Fantagraphics, either. OR the 2 new Comics Journals they had. Gah!
- Driven by Lemons - Josh Cotter's abstract comic that I've been looking forward to.
- The PictureBox backlist - Those guys have some nuts books for sale and I'd love to just sit and flip through it all when I have more money one day. I'm glad their physical store isn't near me or I'd have to eat grass and rocks for lack of funds.
And that's that! It was a marvelous time, I ran into some good friends (Heather! Adam! Darren! Jeffery!) and made a few new ones (Dustin!) and talked comics an awful lot. PURE HEAVEN. Can't wait till next year, but till then, look forward to my post about the new additions to my Watchmen and ninja sketchbooks within the next week...