Contribution to Comics Bulletin Goes to SPX 2016: Comics Can Be Spectacular

Originally published September 22nd, 2016

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Ray Sonne: Elkin said it with more beauty than I could ever muster, quite frankly, but I will try to evoke something from underneath my new mountain of indie books. Yes, mountain.

You might feel FOMO for not attending other cons. Aw, all my friends are hanging out without me at San Diego Comic Con. Wah, my favorite cartoonist is making their first public appearance in 5 years at New York Comic Con. But even with that disappointment and ostracization, you still feel that relief, don’t you? The relief of, my bed feels very nice and I made the right choice to not put up with that gridlock of loud, rude, crowded, angry garbage.


For the most part, comics convention organizers initially intend their cons to function as a haven for fans. But once the cons become too large or start to focus on the wrong things — like how SDCC has reached fame for its Hollywood and television presence, not comics — they lose their fun. SPX, on the other hand, maintains everything about the ideal comics convention. That FOMO you felt this weekend is the realest FOMO you have ever felt, my friends, because SPX is the realest con.

If you read or work in direct market comics, you may find yourself absorbed by the corruption of the industry caused by its small scale and barely-hanging-in-there capitalism. And sure, SPX is still about capitalism in some ways. Its organizers are proud that their goal is to help cartoonists make more money, and Exhibitor Coordinator Sam Marx (you’re the best, Sam!) bragged to me about how much money attendees withdrew from the ATMs last year. But getting to the core of it, SPX is about comics as a medium. It’s about art, human imagination, and the limitlessness of what you can make with your bare hands. And it’s about making positive, human connections via comics and the passions expressed within them.

Speaking of human connections, you will have to look hard to find another con where the attendees have so much fun that they can carry it out onto the balcony when the event’s fog machine sets off the hotel fire alarms. There certainly won’t be another con where you and your friends might wear the same shirt two days in a row (as Comics Bulletin Small Press Editor Daniel Elkin and I did, on purpose and then accidentally) and keep pulling each other back onto the show floor to buy more books after you had repeatedly declared yourselves done (as CB Interviews Editor Joe Schmidt and I did). Maybe you will have your first date with one of the exhibiting artists at another con, but sorry, they won’t be as pretty as mine. All in one weekend? Yes, you can get all that — or experiences similarly deep in heart and fulfilling in soul — in one weekend at SPX.

Give into the FOMO of this year. Come hang and discover all the amazing things you didn’t know comics could do next year. Small Press Expo is meant for everyone.


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