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Small Press Expo in DC

SPX 2013

SPX 2013

This past weekend, myself and hundreds of other comic book nerds and graphic art fans, traveled to the middling, quiet suburbs of Washington DC for this year’s annual Small Press Expo (SPX)! Hosted at the Bethesda Marriott Conference Center, SPX 2013 was possibly the biggest showing of attendees in SPX’s history. The sheer volume was absolutely overwhelming. Colorful and frenzied, the conference hall was bursting at the seams with vivid, graphic art, literally hot off the presses.

Some artists were well-known veterans but many were self-published artists, making their debuts to a crowd of people as equally excited about comics as themselves. While chatting at one table, I was asked, “Do you make comics too?” When I responded that I was merely an observer, I was quickly met with a, “Hmmm…maybe not yet.” At SPX, there was no real line between vendors and buyers. Only hundreds and hundreds of avid fans (and friends), some who make their own comics and some who don’t…yet.

SPX Signing Schedule

SPX Signing Schedule

The festival lasted two days, although I was only able to attend Saturday, with a lineup of talks, Q&As and signings. Bigshots like Adrian Tomine and Frank Santoro were there signing merchandise. The topics for the talks ranged from funding comic projects to “queering the mainstream,” finding ways to make queer comic books and comic writers more available and open mainstream audiences. There was definitely something for everyone.

Adrian Tomine, “A.C.,” originally from Summer 2011 issue of In the City

But the best part of SPX had to be the End-of-Festival-Haul! My advice to anyone planning on visiting SPX in the future: bring lots of cash and, maybe, a sack. You will leave poor but with plenty to show for it. I was able to walk away with an alternative history of DC, galactic romance, experiments in sound + text, and countless personalized business cards to keep me busy for months. SPX was a great way to cap off the summer.

I would also recommend checking out SPX’s pretty sizable and impressive tumblr presence. For more stories & photos of the fair, sneak-peeks at what you can expect at next year’s, or just to follow what’s going on in the small press/comic book world.

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