This is my third year going to the Small Press Expo #spx in Bethesda, Md. It's my second year volunteering, and my first year to have one of my daughters with me. I talked about the show with her and she was well prepared for it. She knew we would be working as volunteers, and that I had some panels I wanted to sit in on. She had her gameboy, a sketch pad, and a phone(just in case we got separated). When we got there she bought a babysitter's club book from Raina Telgemeir, and another book that had caught her eye (Red Moon), at another booth. Also, she had a very strong desire to really experience the show. She had saved up a good bit of money on her own, and had some ideas as to the sort of things she wanted. She loves comics of all sorts. She's a fan of Manga as well as superheroes, she loved Smile and Scott Pilgrim almost equally, as well as Tiny Titans, Sonic the Hedgehog and Pokemon comics, Owly, etc. I love SPX, I think my daughter is pretty awesome, but I still wasn't certain how she would like the show.
I will jump forward a bit and say right now that she loved it. We were there six or seven hours on Saturday, and we went back on Sunday almost exclusively because she requested it. She met and talked to a good number of creators, and spent nearly as much as I did on comics. Her comics purchases will be detailed in another post, just as mine will. I'm hoping I will be able to get her to write down or dictate her take on the things she purchased, but we'll have to see.
From my perspective (and everyone else's I have read) It was a great show. There are so many genuinely cool people at that show, of all styles and levels. The demographic of the show from what I could see was pretty diverse in about any way you can judge diversity. The exhibitors tend to skew a certain age range for the most part, but that's to be expected I think. One thing I think you see at SPX that you don't always see at more mainstream focused cons is a pretty great concentration of female fans and creators. I can't pretend to guess the ratio, but it is something that more people should take notice of. I can't be certain, but I also swear that of the decent number of kids that were at the show, the majority I saw were girls, and I didn't see any of them looking miserable (I am certain there were some kids there that weren't loving it, but I didn't see them.)
I also feel that there were more people there with Comics that might appeal to an all ages, or especially a Young Adult audience. Comics Bakery, Make Like a Tree, Top Shelf, Red Moon, Hey Pais, Metaphrog, a2alien, and more were there with some top notch stuff, and they are just some I am pulling off the top of my head (some of those are the name of the business, and some are the comic I think.) In addition to that, there were a lot of other comics (trades and minis) that if they weren't specifically made with kids in mind were perfectly fine for kids or young adults. The cool part for me was when Tyler (that's my 11 year old daughter's name) Chatted up people at one booth while I was at another, and they had pointed out to her things she might like that would be age apropriate. There were also tons and tons of comics way over her head, or wildly inapropriate for her. Even so, with a moderate application of parenting, she already understood that, and most exhibitors made a point to let me know, or had no issue answering my questions, etc.
Tyler and I got to talk with Raina Telgemeier, which is always nice. She had just read my copy of Smile, and had previously read Raina's first three Baby Sitters Club graphic adaptations. We spent a good bit of time with Jerzy Drozd who is a pretty awesome guy. We had a discussion (all three of us on equal footing) about how cool Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends was, as he drew a great picture of Edwardo from that show for her in her sketch book. I got to meet Jaime Hernandez again, and get the third volume of Love and Rockets new stories before it was on the shelves anywhere. We both got to have a really nice time chatting with the talented creators of Beyond the Canopy(Jonathan Griffiths) and Winters in Lavelle (Kasey Van Hise) (whose tables were next to each other). I'm leaving a lot out, I'm sure, but I am sure I will cover things in other posts.
I am going to end this post now, or I will never get anything posted again, ever. Sorry for running out of steam on this.