This was my first visit to APE so you’ll have to forgive me for my somewhat haphazard, non-veteran, not-quite-insiders look at the whole thing. I missed most of the big names like Gene Yang and Renee French, and I completely ignored art spiegelman doing his signing, though I made it a point to sit in on the panel discussion.
I even tried my best to stop by all of the major publishers, but in the end, I thought it safe to assume that they’d still be around afterwards with their businesses, websites and overall presence in the scene.
The spirit of the event really hit me when I walked up to Liz Baillie‘s table and she showed me the usual stack of comics for sale, and then, with just as big a smile, directed my attention to some B&W xeroxed versions available to anyone willing to do a trade. Of course! The biggest star at this convention was the ocean of self-publishers and independent artists, and I wasn’t about to let this opportunity to see them all in one place pass me by—the plentifulness just about flattened me.
As I made my way around, I noticed that each person had their own style of selling themselves. Some were quite friendly and loquacious, some were serenely knitting geegaws, others all but tossed snickers bars at me, and one performed an impression of “Deer Bathed in Headlight.” I myself fared no better than some of the ones who were ill-at ease, so I decided that rather than asking too many scary questions about the product at hand, I would find out about the exciting discoveries they themselves made at the convention.
The following are some folks I spoke to and what they recommended to me:
Sour Milk Sea‘s Melina Mena is the queen of cute, but she manages to be so infectious that rather than coming up bland, she manages to bring fun and devilishmess to her cute comics. She writes on her Myspace page, “Her comics, which involve robots and toasters, ragdolls and nerds, make her giggle; they seem to make others giggle too, but in a hundred years we’ll all be dead, so who cares . . . ha ha ha!” She recommended the “charming” boys at the Hot Mexican Love Comics table. Her friend Katie recommended an unnamed artist who was at the same table as Jason Newhouse–I’m having trouble finding the name of the specific artist, but I think she is married to Newhouse.
Liz Baillie, who does My Brain Hurts, traveled all the way from Brooklyn for the convention. She seems to be a big fan of cartooning conventions, visits the MoCca whenever she gets the chance, and has a manservant named Zane. She marveled at the beautiful silk screening on the cover of a comic by Hellen Jo, and Zane was quite excited about Chris Wisnia of the pulpy stories and monster tales.
I didn’t manage to take a picture of the Two Fine Chaps. The team consists of Jon and Tom, who incorporate letterpress tech into their elaborate and detailed comics, which include a re-telling of Beowulf. They displayed their latest project, Lucretious, a gorgeous, four-page, fold out comic. Jon recommended Kitty Face Kitty from the Atrox table, and Hyper Toast from Justin Decarlo of the Turk Street Projects table.
More pictures and recommendations to come…