I returned from the Small Press Expo which took place this past weekend in Bethesda, Maryland. This event was a lot of fun. I mainly went there to network and to see what was selling.
Held in the North Bethesda Marriott, many from around the country had gathered in the ballroom to sell their comics, meet up with friends not seen for ages, exchange business cards, and talk about their creative passions.
The Small Press Expo was all this and more.
I came across one of my mentors Tom Hart and his own operation now in the state of Florida, the Sequential Artists Workshop. Set up in Gainesville, Florida, it’s a school where you can learn to make comics (not unlike the Center for Cartoon Studies over in Vermont). Anyone who lives in the area and wants to learn the art of comics should definitely check this place out.
The floor was nearly as packed as the New York Comic-Con last year. It was hard for me to move around and unfortunately, I had forgotten my digital camera. Thus for the Small Press Expo, I had to rely on my cell phone camera.
I met many people there and also bought a few things. One of the more notable items was a small hardcover book titled Atomb-Bomb Bikini. This book contains many bikini girls (and girls without bikinis) drawn by Robert Ullman. Just a warning though – anyone who’s offended by nude or semi-nude women should proceed with caution.
Another book I picked up was a collection of comic strips by Molly Lawless known as Frog and Owl. I actually read this book on the Metro subway system of Washington DC and while waiting for my lunch at Union Station (I had a savory bowl of gumbo BTW from a restaurant called America).
This comic is a very offbeat piece involving the constant mayhem of the two title characters. There’s no continuity – which is a good thing since you can just pick up any strip you want to read and have not missed a thing before or afterwards.
All in all, the Small Press Expo was a lot of fun and very fruitful. I definitely plan to return to it in the future.