It’s a week out from SPX 2015 and I’ve had a chance to
compile my thoughts from last weekend’s show.
Overall, I had a wonderful time, probably the best time I’ve
had at a comics show yet. Having a majority of the people you are interacting
with staying at the same place is pretty unique to SPX, in my limited
experience. I was able to eat and talk with people who were a few hours
previous sitting behind tables and selling comics, and while that happened to a
lesser extent at TCAF this year, it really blew me away at SPX.
This is also probably the biggest haul I’ve taken away from
a show, partially fueled by trades of my review zine Selections, which I passed
out a lot of over the weekend. A few creators sold out of books I wanted to
grab at the show (Katie Skelly and Sam Alden both come to mind) but I think
that overall I got most of what I wanted, and plenty I didn’t know I wanted.
The book of the show was certainly Liz Suburbia’s Sacred Heart. Giant stacks of these
books slowly dwindled to near-nothingness over the course of two days. Review
to come dear readers. 2015 is turning out to be a fantastic year for comics.
The few panels I went to were great; Keith Knight’s Black
Art Matters panel was the best of those I attended. The panelists (Whit Taylor,
Spike Trotman, Darryl Ayo, and Ron Wimberly) all had very different opinions and
perspectives on the depiction of black experiences in comics. I had the prescience to livetweet the
Small Press Panel on Sunday, and despite Tom Spurgeon’s warning, I really
enjoyed the Royalboiler Redux panel hosted by Brandon Graham.
Black Art Matters panel gets rolling (pictured, L to R – Keith Knight, Whit Taylor, Spike Trotman, Darryl Ayo, Ron Wimberly)
One of the cool things about the show was my ability to
spend a lot of time with creators I admire. The highlight reel includes a nice
and long conversation with Cathy G. Johnson and Liz Suburbia Sunday morning, and
playing a giant group game of Magic: the Gathering with Hazel Newlevant, Sam
Marx, Jen Vaughn, and Ananth Panagariya Sunday night. I also rudely stole a bit
of Ryan Sands’ floor time talking about work stuff, while I’m sure he could
have been selling books. William Cardini was my roommate for the show, and it was a pleasure getting to know him better.
Food was middling to great, depending on where you went, and
I ate pho for the first time, which was a delight. I had a solo dinner Sunday
night at a City Perch Kitchen + Bar, and had porchetta and brussels sprouts,
which was decadent in all the right ways; as eateries come, this one had a
flair for the hipster, and we’ll see if it’s around next year.
The Ignatz Awards went about as I expected; while I’m not
certain I agree with the selections on each slate (and I assume most people don’t,
honestly), I think that the community rallied behind a set of great artists.
That all of the Ignatz Awards were given to such a diverse group of women is an
affirmation of the changing vision of comics that the latest generation of
young people is bringing along with it. Other folks have talked about this more
eloquently than I have, but I think that seeing less of the privileged straight
cis white male perspective is representative of a community that is growing and
expanding. I think this growth is necessary for comics to survive and thrive as
As an aside, Eleanor Davis’ acceptance speech (pictured below) made me cry.
Eleanor Davis accepts the Ignatz for Outstanding Anthology or Collection.
Part of the daily grind of writing about comics is that sometimes
you get a bit worn down, and shows like this are revitalizing. Having my own show attendance
take place in the Spring and Fall feels right, somehow – breaking the winter
fast, and building a larder for the cold. I met some fantastic people, some
great artists, and a few folks that fit into both categories. Thanks to all the
folks at spx for running a good show. I’ll see you next year.