This post is a sequel to the one I did a while back about Cleveland’s Genghis Con. It was there at the Beachland that I met the folks at Panel, a group of Columbus cartoonists and writers. One of the things I walked away from their booth with was a flyer for SPACE. I’d never heard of it but it seemed to be up my alley, and so I made half-hearted plans to check it out when it came around. I vacillated about whether or not I would actually do it, until a few weeks before hand when I got a random message from one of the organizers on Facebook, reminding me to check it out. That decided things easily enough.
On Sunday, I made a happy return to my beginners yoga class (and was rewarded with free bread) and then headed down to Columbus. The rain was pretty ridiculous – a beautiful and scenic drive was spotted with monstrous downpours that at one point stopped everyone on the freeway. It was nice again when I got to Columbus, thankfully.
I missed the signs telling me where to go in the hotel, so I wandered around a bit, finding the Model Talent Search being held upstairs. They didn’t have any better idea of where I was supposed to be going, so I turned around, and luckily wandered in the right direction this time. Again, though, I went in the wrong way, right into the show, and had to go back out to pay, so I didn’t feel like I was cheating anyone. Once back inside, I immediately started the meet and greet.
There were a lot of people here. The interesting thing was, looking back, I don’t know how many actual pure-exhibition goers there were. I kept being asked where my table was, or if I had a table. I think the vast majority of people there actually were exhibitors. This may at first seem like a bad thing, but there really were a ton of people (compared at least to Cleveland’s show – I haven’t been to too many comics shows). Anyway, I had just driven over two hours, only had a slice of free bread to eat, and I’m going around chatting it up with artist after artist. I was a little overwhelmed.
One of the first folks I got to meet was Ed Piskor. He was manning the table he shared with Jim Rugg and Paul Hornschemeier (ooh, embarrassing, I just realized I pronounced his name wrong to his face – guess he did need a pronunciation guide on his business card), who were off doing a panel. I fucking loved Ed’s look – skinny white guy with a cool black, handsome hat, glasses and a Public Enemy t-shirt. I had forgotten that I knew his name mostly in connection to Harvey Pekar, hometown hero, so the two of us talked about Cleveland for a little while. Apparently the other week there was a huge hacker’s convention there that Ed attended. Always learning something new.
I either didn’t know or had forgotten that Rugg had done a Cold Heat Special, a big newsprint number. It was early in the show and I didn’t want to buy anything yet so I passed. Same too with Rugg’s Rambo 3.5, which he debuted at the show. I have to say this, there was some great cartooning in there. Burned into my memory is a page that is done in an old cartoony style (Roger Ramjet-like) where some learned fellow is addressing a complicated weapon schematic. No panels, just a big black shape inter cut with white blue-print lines. In hindsight, I probably should have picked this up, if only for that spread. Maybe he’ll continue to sell it elsewhere. Beautiful. Small book, I imagined it would have been bigger. He also draws a pretty fine looking George W. Bush.
I got to meet some Dave Sim afficianados, Margaret from Friends of Cerebus and Steve Peters, frequent Cerebus-jammer. The other item I kind of wish I had brought home with me was a comic with a beautiful collaboration with Sim that was apparently the first thing he drew after finishing Cerebus #300. Oh well.
I gave up on taking pictures after Ed Piskor, partly because I was kind of just stumbling from table to table (that’s ok, there are lots more pictures and stuff here). Eventually I needed to take a break and get some food. Of course the other folks in the otherwise abandoned bar room were show goers (exhibitors, of course) so I got to talk with them for a bit.
Back to the show, I chatted up with a Kris from Mean Goat Comics who I had met at Genghis Con. He was kind enough to have remembered me and had even taken a look at Spoilers. I also met up with some of the Panel folks who I had met before. After making the rounds at least once, I pulled out my wallet and started supporting the arts.
Some cool things I got: A book inspired by the drawing books by Ed Emberley (you know you had them when you were a kid). I really got into the concept of making comics based on those little additive lessons – these are the comics I love, inventive and experimental formally and maybe a bit cutesy. A really solid book overall, it wasn’t until I got it home that I realized it had stuff from Warren Craghead (who I am realizing I really love his work), Dave Kiersh (really nice Xeric grant winner who gave me tons of great advice about applying), Jeffrey Brown, Sam Henderson, and Dan Zettwoch (co-conspirator along with Kevin H of the amazing Leon Beyond)! This one was a veritable goldmine, highly recommended. It was put together by Joe Kuth (who I got to speak with for a bit).
Lavapunch 2, an anthology of mostly manga/anime inspired work. I was drawn in by the beautiful cover, mostly expecting to be less impressed by what was inside. I was wrong this time, as the work is varied in approach but showing uniform dedication and ambition. And it was on sale (you was gonna hafta have it anyway – Gallagher)! And I got it signed by one of the contributors (without even asking), Coey Kuhn, who had a portfolio of illustrations, which I of course only had eyes for the FLCL and Tekkon Kinkreet among it all. The editor, Jillian, warned me I was getting a sequel book but book 2 had more artists, and frankly, it was the one I saw first.
Then there was a little book with a green cover and this kind of frog-thing with a flower growing out of its head (I know, I couldn’t resist). The title page informs me it’s called stampy and the magic geight, though since everything else on the page is mispelled, not sure if I believe that. Each of the four stories are interesting and worth checking out in their own right, but the work by Jessi Zabarsky, “Parts,” really sticks out to me. A girl who is basically divided up into slices, trying to keep them all together as she goes out in the world. I respond to the style, the subtle nature of the metaphor, and just the possibilities the concept holds for a comic. A++
I eventually got to meet Paul Hornschemeier, and we talked for a bit. He’s got a lot of big books out, but I decided to purchase his little, Muppet-inspired Bleep Blop Bloop – a silly comic to say the least.
I also got a chance to talk with the super super friendly, Nate Powell. Again, a lot of great work on sale there, but I opted for the new Papercutter, featuring a story by Powell about Carlos Santanna and other nice strips by a few other folks. (A bonus was when I found Dalton Webb in both this and the Ed Emberley book).
While I was meetin’ and greetin’, I spent some time talking to a couple of art students from Michigan (my birth state). Practically everyone at their table had shiny ink on the covers of their books, and I got a free button for being born in Ann Arbor (the bestower of the button lives there). The shock of the whole expo was when I was mentioning my webcomic and the Ann Arbor girl was like “Wait, what was it called?” “Spoilers,” you know, thinking she might find that name funny and I could explain that I thought it was a fitting name for a comic on the internet. But to my surprise she’s like “I’ve seen that!”
Color me impressed.
I don’t know at all how Stumble Upon works, but apparently it led this random stranger from my birth state to my webcomic, which in addition to many things, is about how everything is connected. I bought a little drawing of Harry Potter going in for the Snitch from her. (Ok, I went to the site to link it… it’s kind of like cat roulette?)
After that, I tracked down cartoonist extrordinaire Pat Lewis, who I had also met at Genghis Con last November. He remembered me more from my celebrating the work of his buddy Katie Skelly (of Nurse Nurse fame). We talked for a little while, definitely the most amicable and comfortable of my conversations that day.
After that, I scanned my way around the conference center one last time. Feeling like I had seen everything, and had stayed as long as I was planning to, I packed up my comics and the remains of my Vidalia Onion Petals, stole some water, and headed home.
Overall a really positive experience. I am very glad I went and in all likliehood, I’ll have a better answer for people next year when they ask where my table is.
BUT THE COMICS DON’T STOP THERE
A couple weeks ago I ordered the new comic by Lala, Yonic Clonic and the End of the Universe. To my delight it arrived in the mail on Monday. You guys know about Lala from what I’ve written about on here before, you’ve been to her website, you love her work, I know. Go buy a copy of this comic while she still has copies.
One of the greatest things about her work is she just owns the space on the page. The entire spread is available to her stretching, dripping drawings, deftly moving you across up and out to the next page. Her typography is really great as well, word balloons are made out of lava lamp fluid, with the letters cut right out of them.
On my side of the universe, I’ve added a little scene to Chapter 13 of Spoilers. It’s right in the middle of the comic so you might not notice it at first. This is what it looks like.
Even though I always wanted it to be kind of subtle that Amelia really does disappear, I think this extra bit of clarity is a nice touch. What do you guys think?
ALSO – BREAKING NEWS
That’s all I got for now (I know right, that’s all?). I’m working on the next two chapters of Spoilers, as well as some more add-ins for the title sequence. I don’t post all that often or regular, but when I do, I try not to fuck around.
We’re getting close to the end, folks!
Take care, you guys.