Being more involved in comics means actually going to conventions. This year, a buddy of mine and I decided to hit up SPACE in Columbus Ohio. Sadly, I did not have the presence of mind to bring a camera or take pictures with my phone.
We met up Sunday morning at the Ramada Hotel. It’s close to a more run-down part of Columbus, but the Ramada itself was pretty nice and despite the renovations ongoing, it was pretty clean.
Admission was $5. I think that’s a huge deal for more casual folks. Ultimately any money you pay to the organizer doesn’t get to the artist, because you have less to spend on comics and art. The goal of these things is to buy comics and meet people, right?
Nate Powell was the famous guest du jour. I read Swallow Me Whole in 2009 around the same time I was reading Abandon the Old in Tokyo and Goodbye by Yoshihiro Tatsumi, and it made a big impact on me at the time. I was struck by Powell’s beautiful cartooning, and how unabashedly he had discussed mental illness. Unfortunately, I forgot my copy of March, V.1 at home, so I got to stand around awkwardly while my pal got his copy signed. We met Nate fairly early in the con, and it takes me a while to warm up to unplanned social interaction, so I was pretty quiet. I don’t think I even introduced myself.
I had a nice conversation with Becca Hillburn, who was debuting a collection of her comic, 7” Kara, a book about a Lilliputian tomboy and her new big people family. It’s a book with beautiful full color cartooning, all lush water colors, steered towards younger readers. Interestingly, it was edited by another, different Alex Hoffman, so small world, I guess. We talked for a bit and had a good chat about Sailor Moon, of all things; she had just tabled at MoCCA and had expressed her frustration at how busy it was and how it made it harder for a relatively new/unknown artist to meet people. I’ve only heard the positives about the improvement in MoCCA, so this was enlightening. Becca’s work can be found at her website, Natto Soup.
One of the corner tables had a lot of varied work from multiple publishers; John Procellino of Spit and a Half Zine Distro and King-Cat Comics was tabling, and I had a quick chat. I was able to get copies of Night Animals, Over the Wall, The Boy In Question, Blobby Boys, and “Life Zone” which was pretty cool. Most of these books I had intended to grab while at TCAF, but it was nice to meet someone who was so passionate about indie comics. John has a book coming out this fall from D&Q; I’m interested in getting a copy.
After a beer at the North High Brewery and lunch, we met up with friends and trekked out to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum to see the Bill Watterson and Richard Thompson Retrospectives.
Watterson was a huge figure in my childhood; I started reading Calvin and Hobbes in the early 90’s and bought and subsequently read to death all of the anthologies. Having the original art right in front of my eyes was really exciting, and reminded me how much I love Calvin and Hobbes and how I need to get all of those anthologies again. The amount of corrections Watterson made to each strip was remarkable; some of the strips seemed like they had a primer coat of corrections fluid.
Unfortunately we got there about an hour before they closed for the weekend, so I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with Thompson’s work. Cul de Sac wasn’t printed in my local paper growing up, so I didn’t have a lot of experience with his cartooning, but what I saw at Billy Ireland was quite lovely.
There wasn’t much in the way of morning programming on Sunday. I suppose we weren’t at the con at the right time. SPACE was a smaller, more intimate thing than I know TCAF is going to be. Being small has a lot of value in that you’re not pushing by people and can actually stop and talk to someone for a good amount of time, but without programming to go to, it basically felt like a dealers room. I’ll see if I can get in on Saturday next time around.