The Small Press Expo

More insightful folks than me will be blogging about this event, and when they do, I�ll be sure to add some links to this entry. The Small Press Expo is the annual gathering of independent comics writers and publishers, a sort of mini-con held in Bethesda�s Holiday Inn. I say �mini� only because there wasn�t one big huge room, or huge snaking lines for celebrity autographs. Everyone was not only laid back and friendly, but much cooler than what you�d expect if your previous convention experience consisted of, say, Gencon.

The indy comics scene is an incredibly vibrant and diverse collection of people intermingling at the confluence of traditional superhero, pulp, and fantasy influences on the one hand, and the gritty autobiographical counterculture stuff (exemplified by folks like R Crumb) on the other. At one table you can thumb through glossy pages of an Amazonian epic fantasy, while at the next you�ll be chatting with a blue-haired 20-year-old who writes edgy black-and-white strips about herself and her friends. Or you�ll stumble across comics about a wacky space monkey.

Wandering through the rooms, I played sidekick to friends with far more comics clues than I. This helped make bearable the fact that I was there without any money burning a hole in my pocket. There was a lot to like. Here�s a list of good stuff that I saw � both titles that I would have bought if I had the money, or have already read and enjoyed:

Finder, by Carla Speed McNeil
Two-Fisted Science, by Jim Ottaviani
Artesia, by Mark Smylie
Astounding Space Thrills, by Steve Conley
Box Office Poison, by Alex Robinson
Strangers in Paradise, by Terry Moore
Al Williamson Adventures, by various folks.

Additional coverage from Jim Henley, Eve Tushnet, and Sean Collins.