Small Press Expo will take place on Saturday and Sunday, September 10 and 11 this year, once again at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Bethesda, Maryland. I hope you appreciate that I am posting about this early enough for you to start saving your money. This is a show that you can enjoy without spending much. but it presents an opportunity to sample a great deal of small press and independently produced comics. It has also had some pretty great programs in the past, Including features involving cartoonists such as Jaime Hernandez, Carol Tyler, and Bryan Lee O'Malley (To name a few sessions I personally attended and enjoyed).
This years lineup of special guests includes a pretty diverse group of creators as you can see from the Flyers I have attached here from the SPXPO site. (Craig Thomson and Dustin Harbin respectively). The artwork, flyers and posters that are made for SPX are always pretty awesome, and these are no different.
Write-ups for this year's guests can be found at the Exhibitors and Guests page on the SPX site. This year they were written by volunteers. I wrote the blurbs for Jim Rugg and for Johnny Ryan. I have been a big fan of Rugg's since I picked up Street Angel from him at a Pittsburgh Comicon a number of years ago, before it was in trade paperback form. Despite loving his work, or maybe because of my love for his work, my blurb is a bit drier than I had hoped it would be, as I didn't want to break down into blathering about just what a great guy he seemed like, and how interviews done with him are some of the better comic related discussions you could want to read. Not wanting to turn a little blurb into an editorial love-fest, I went with a cut and dried approach and it is boring but respectful.
I felt a bit more comfortable being a little looser with the Blurb for Johnny Ryan. Up to the point of asking to do his writeup, I had only read one issue of Angry Youth Comix. I had wanted to become more familiar with his work, so I asked to write it and then bought at least one trade volume of each of his collected works, etc. Given the nature of his work, it made it feel a bit easier to joke while still being respectful of a cartoonist that really knows what he is doing.
It was fun being a part of this build up to the main event in the fall. SPX is a fun event to volunteer at, in addition to being one of my favorite comics related events in general. There is a large selection of wildly varied material, and behind nearly every table is someone that is genuinely excited about being a creator and getting their work in front of people. If you haven't been to it, you really should give it a shot. If you are a fan of comics and comics creators, then this is something that can really rekindle enthusiasm for those things. For the past several years I have gone and I have volunteered, and each year I leave the event having met some really awesome people at all levels of the comics experience.