SPX 2016 is in the books! Comic books, I guess. Yeah, I know. I'll try to keep this amazing weekend recap brief...
While I have done this show for years, this one felt different. I was nervous, even anxious beforehand. I think it's because I'm now in the active part of restarting my life. This is where I put rubber to road, nose to grindstone, and other cliches that fit the bill. I spent time to make sure my table looked good, and complimented my books. Usually I focus so much on the comic end of things, that it's a not as good of a presentation as it could be. This post may seem a bit rambly, maybe even obvious, but it meant a lot to me. I felt great about my set-up, and my offerings: How To: Life Karaoke and Dating & Relationships, Fucking Forty preview comic, and I offered my services on personalized, custom comics. Forty was still a big mover, but How To: Life did pretty well. Lots of interest, and great feedback. It's only just getting started!
I shared my table with my amazing friend Ali Cantarella, and my pal Mike Wagganer. He has done the show with me before, and we also have a podcast together. Those two made for a fun time behind the table. We actually had quite a Chicago contingent at the show, with our row including Joel Siegel, Jonathan LaMantia, and Isabella Rotman, too!
Friday night Mike and I took time to catch up, as he lives in Orlando, and we don't get to talk nearly enough these days. He crashed afterward, and I attended the SPX exhibitor mixer with my friends. I got to see old comics pals, some of the excellent staff, and made some new connections for myself and my Chicago peeps.
Saturday was busy, per usual. After a delicious bagel breakfast at Izzie's, the doors opened and it was just like a conveyor belt of people all day. One of the best things about SPX is that it's a show about BOOKS. Not toys, not costumes, not back-issues. Spider-Man has no power there. It's also super-diverse in creators and attendance. Age, race, sexuality, nerd subsection, geography, fashion... They're all under one roof because they love the medium of comics, and they're looking for new stories to connect with. It's magical.
We missed the Ignatz Awards Ceremony , which is usually over-crowded, but we had a nice, large group of people for dinner. Joined by Mike and my friend Ian, who is a fan of our podcast, and patron of artists. Always great to see that dude!
After dinner it was time to change (for me) for the post awards cocktail party, and SPX PROM! This year had a theme: Haunted. More like spooky/1982/Stranger Things, actually. Of course, I love ALL those things. I had way too much fun putting together my costume, and even invested in a great 70s/80s wig finally. I looked authentic, and once was mistaken for Barb, from Stranger Things, as well as Jeffery Dahmer. Five times.
Aside from some dancing, and much mingling, I had the privilege of catching up with cartoonist, teacher, graphic novelist, and creative guru Jessica Abel. Earlier this year, feeling motivated, but scattered, I signed up for her Creative Focus Workshop. It really worked for me, and we got to chat about the results, my new book, and what's next.
Sunday was interesting: usually it's a slower day, but whereas there were slightly fewer attendees, there were more sales. This is based both on my experience, and from asking some friends. Anyway, I did make myself break free of the table a few times, but it's just not enough when you're surrounded by so much incredible work. It's daunting, as well as inspiring.
The show closed down, and on the hotel patio I got to contemplate what a great community it is. The next day we flew away from "Camp Comics," wishing we could stay in the alternate reality of SPX a little longer. Our own warm, colorful "Upside-Down."
I'll have more info coming soon about what's next, and when you can purchase your own copies of Fucking Forty, or the How To: Life books.