Archive for the ‘SPX’ Category

Fotographical Friday: Me at the Small Press Expo, subbing at R. Sikoryak & Kriota Wilberg’s booth. 

September 22, 2017

My heroic pose did not help sales. 

Misc SPX photos

September 19, 2013


Kriota Willberg, R. Sikoryak and me (in my vintage Witches in Bikinis shirt)


John Martz strikes a pose with the Ignatz Award he won – which is an actual brick a la Krazy Kat.


I thought it would be a few years before I’d be introducing my three-year-old to my particular brand of nerdom, but I ended up bringing him along. He was unimpressed until he got a balloon.

Small Press Expo 2012

September 19, 2012

In recent news, I went to SPX last weekend and the only photo I took was of friend Jen Sorensen as I was casually stalking her.


SPX and the adventure of the man-purse

October 2, 2011

So a few weeks ago I went to SPX, the Small Press Expo, which, as its name implies, is about indy comics. Everything from one-person self publishers to “biggies” like Top Shelf. (The quotation marks weren’t meant to be a slur at all. Top Shelf is great and “big” in many respects, it just that it’s not huuuuuuge in the traditional sense.)

The biggest question when going to an event such as this is: Which man-purse am I going to use?

Yep, I call it a “man-purse.” Not a satchel or messenger bag.

And, yep, I have numerous man-purses.

Most of the ones I have came from other countries – a fact I use as a defense if someone gives me lip about it. And they are also different in size and what they can carry. For my trip to SPX I needed to be able to carry a couple of bricks of postcards (for the Jay Kennedy Scholarship and for my personal projects like Infant Fred and Dadding Badly) to leave on the freebie table. (Do I need to explain the freebie table? You’re all intelligent folks, right?) I also wanted to take a couple of Bo Nanas books with me in case I see someone I want to give one to. And, y’know, I might just want to buy some stuff.

So those were the perimeters. Looking on the hooks inside my studio’s closet door, I knew I needed something like a soft-sided briefcase. I have a couple (not from other countries) but they either had stuff in them or were just not to be found without a major search. (And since I’ve cleaned my studio for baby-proofing, there’s even more stuff in the already-bursting closet, making finding anything that’s not floating on the surface tricky.) So in the end, there was only one bag that fit the bill:


This is a bag I got as a holiday gift from my friends at MAD Magazine, which happens to be owned by DC Comics. The problem is, I don’t want to be “that guy.” (This is along the lines of my abandoned Summer T-shirt Spectacular!! experiment.) I don’t want to look like I’m advertising my comics nerdom. Although I’m not ashamed of it. (Or am I? Hmmm.) That aside, I didn’t want to be wearing the logo of one of the big two mainstream comics companies at an indy comic con and to be secretly sneered at by cooler-than-me hipsters. (Or outwardly sneered at for that matter.) So what to do? Simple – I’d just wear the man-purse with the logo facing in.

The problem is that the logo is on the flap so to get inside you have to maneuver a bit to get it open. To make this easier on myself I figured I’d just leave the flap unflapped, hanging to the outside. After all, this would mean that only the inside of the flap is showing and the logo is on the outside so it can’t be seen…… right?

Well, this is what it looked like.


So not only was it evident that I was wearing this logo, it was obvious that I was try to hide it.

What a nerd.

SPX memories 2009

October 6, 2009

100_8143 Doug Bratton and John Kovaleski by mgrhode1.

Doug and I bumping elbows while we sign books.
Photo courtesy of
comics scholar Mike Rhode, from his ComicsDC blog.

Had a great time at the Small Press Expo last weekend. (Well, it was really the weekend before last. You know how I like to be timely.) Just a couple of bulleted points:

• My table partner was Doug Bratton of Pop Culture Shock Therapy and we couldn’t have had a nicer time. (And his wife Pam tracked down lunch for us both days. Extra points.) We had a couple of moments of near-disaster as we set up Doug’s jerry-rigged PVC pipe display. It fell over three times. I swear our neighbors started a pool about when it would fall and kill a hipster.

• Speaker of hipsters – it looks like handlebar mustaches are making a comback. Can straw boaters and sleeve garters be far behind?
• Got to have dinner with R. (but you can call him “Bob”) Sikoryak and Marek Bennett and finally got to put face-to-name of Chris Mautner (of Robot Six) and Johanna Draper Carlson (of ComicsWorthReading).

• A very nice lady flipped through one of my Bo books and I did my spiel, “It’s about a talking monkey in the human world.” She said she didn’t see any monkeys in the book. I said I personally guarantee that there is at least one monkey in each and every strip. (Doug said maybe she thought my monkey drawing was a dog. I told him that my friend Chuck often jokes that I’m actually drawing Alf.)

• We were talking in depth about comic strips with a very nice guy and then all of a sudden I said “I gotta go to the bathroom” and lit off. I had no choice. (I believe it was a roast beef wrap I had. It didn’t smell or taste bad but I must confess, the meat was kinda gray.)

• I brought a book with me by a certain cartoonist who was a SPX special guest to have it signed for a certain little boy (who occasionally read this blog so I’m being cagey). It didn’t seem like the certain cartoonist had any times listed for signing and I didn’t want to be one of “those guys” who stalks a certain cartoonist, then pounces for an autograph. I was bitching about this to Doug when, low and behold, the certain cartoonist came right down our aisle. Case closed.

• There was only one time that I was away from our table for an extended period. When I came back Doug told me that a woman wearing a t-shirt that said “math is delicious” stopped by. She was very excited because she recognized Bo from the Washington Post and said she would come back. Guess what? She never did. My faith has been shaken – I no longer believe that “math is delicious.”

What I’m reading this week – SPX loot

October 2, 2009

The question is, what am I not reading? I came home from Small Press Expo last weekend with a small armload of stuff – student work from art schools, mini comics, books bought from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund table, comics done in lieu of college papers, etc. And some terrific books from my friends:

From my Nicaragua-sister-city brother Marek Bennett.

From my Upstate-New-York-comics-scene pal Frank Cammuso.

And from my table-sharing-compadre Doug Bratton…no image unfortunately. His new book isn’t up on his site yet, but you can see his other great books here.

SPX and X-students

October 14, 2008

One of the extra added bonuses of being at SPX was seeing former cartooning students. I knew a few of my  recent students would be there but I also ending up running into one of my older former students, Ira Marcks. We chatted and exchanged books and it was really terrific. To sound like a completely softie, it warms my heart to reconnect with my former students. When I introduced Ira to one of my more recent former students, Serge Ragno, he said, “Hello, Second Generation.” (I’ve been teaching off and on for -gasp!- 15 years at Gettysburg College and before that at the Rochester Institute of Technology.) Most of the x-students I’m in contact with took both  of my cartooning classes (“Intro to” and “Sequential Art”) and a couple did independent study with me.

Below are links to their recent work. (I’ll take credit for all the great stuff they’ve done.)

Cody Constable

John Golden

Ira Marcks

Sergio Ragno

Sara Parysz

SPX jam

October 7, 2008

On Sunday night, after John Martz and I got home from SPX (and after we had stuffed ourselves silly at a great Chinese buffet), we decided that, even though we were tuckered, we would do a jam. You’re probably thinking, “Does he mean like jelly or preserves?” Nope, I mean cartoon jam where one cartoonist draws something, another cartoonist adds to it and so on. (It is named after what jazz musicians do in a desperate effort to sound cool.)

We decided on a six-panel story and that we would each start a story in the other’s sketchbook. Since you don’t know what the other person is going to draw, it can be a challenge to figure out how to continue the story. On the other hand, it’s cruel fun to try to make it tough for the other guy. Here’s the one we did in my sketchbook. A classic John “They Don’t Call Me Robot Johnny For Nothing” Martz robot starts us off. (Don’t rush through. Take a moment with each panel and think about what might come next, just like we had to.)

As you can see Johnny’s second-to-last panel could’ve easily ended the story. But there was one more panel to go so I ripped a page out of the “Twilight Zone” playbook.

SPX memories

October 7, 2008

Or more aptly titled, “SPX – what I can remember.”

With my half-o-table mate John Martz somewhere in the skies tween our country and his (you may not know this to look at him, but he’s Canadian), it’s time to do a rehash of the weekend. (Johnny will probably be doing the same on his site and – since he’s younger and more nimble of mind – doing a better job of recalling it.)

John Martz and another guy also with the name John

John Martz and another guy also with the name John

Saturday morning was a lot of getting-up-at-6:30, packing-the-car, breakfasting-on-Cliff-Bars-and-coffee-laced-with-zombified-dairy-product and driving-to-Bethesda. At the hotel, our box hauling was made almost completely painless by my wife’s red New York-style shopping/laundry cart. (It’s really the kind of thing you never see outside of NYC – and it hadn’t been used since her move from wilds of Brooklyn.) We split our half-o-table into a quarter-o-table each and squeezed our merch into 1.5 feet. I had brought my now out-of-print Bo Nanas comic strip collection “Monkey Meets World,” my “Jack N. Box” comic and a couple of mini comics – one Bo; the other Great Scott. (Unfortunately, my new Bo collection was – and still is – in shipping limbo.) Johnny brought some prints, original art and his fantastic books including his new one, a collection of warm-up drawings.

As with any event like this where you sit a lot and occasionally sell an item, there’s a lot of nothing punctuated by brief moments of something. Thus the narrative structure of this post will now deteriorate into random bullet points.

• To pass the time Johnny and I count what people are wearing. We pick specific items of clothing. I get non-baseball-cap hats. He gets mass-market-pop-culture t-shirts. Hats wins by a long shot.

• A person squats at an empty table and sells out all of their mini comics, making more money in an hour than I do all day.

• Johnny and I compare sketchbooks. His is filled with great drawings, most that could be collected in book form (and have – see above.) Mine is filled with hearts, rainbows and unicorns. (Not really, but mine is pretty unimpressive.)

• After the Ignatz Awards, we’re just too tired from a long day so we wuss out, go up to the hotel room and fall asleep watching a Mythbusters marathon. (Did they get the lead balloon to fly? Somebody please tell me!)

• Sunday morning the hostess at the Silver Diner seats us then immediately asks us to guess where she was last night. Before we can mutter “Uh…” she tells us that Saturday night was homecoming and that she got stuck in an elevator for 2 1/2 hours with nine other students (and an old lady) and that she had spent an hour and $40 on her hair and when they got finally got out it was this big…(holds hands up on either side of her head like she’s showing how large the fish was that got away.)

• I was told that my sales would be better but I’m “not enough of a cute girl.” (A point I could not argue.)

• The personification of commitment is a guy with an entire comic book page permanently displayed on his body as a tattooed sleeve.

• Another guy walked around in a yellow super hero suit of his own design. He strolled by a number of times so he seemed to be promoting something, but since SPX has very little in the way of super hero material (bordering on none), I’m not sure what he could have been promoting. (The first time he went by he had a trench coat over his get-up, which I thought was a subtle statement about the role of identity in our society. Or the lack of coat racks.)

All in all, it was a fun time. Good energy, got to meet some nice people, sell some stuff. Sign me up for a 2009 1/4 table.

Tune in tomorrow for the jam Johnny and I did after getting home on Sunday.