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Timely mentions: A Girl and Her Fed are bustin’ out the bwow-chicka-wow soundtrack, and Paul Southworth’s Ugly Hill is still pining away for your wholesome love. Won’t you go take a look, please? Guy just had a kid, you owe him for doing his part to populate the planet with cool kids.
So, final notes from SPX — it’s not a webcomics specific show (really, what is?), but it’s got the same aesthetic as webcomics: lots of creative people, each one saying I made this, and other people responding with emotional and financial support. Witness, if you will, this entirely typical verbal exchange from Saturday afternoon:
Raina Telgemeier: That will be one dollar.
Me: I cannot purchase this comic for a only dollar, I must give you more money (but cannot buy the Babysitter Club books without looking creepy).
Raina Telgemeier: Perhaps you would like a bundle of my Take Out minicomics?
Me: Yes, and please Dave Roman, I require a set of your Astronaut Elementary comics as well.
Dave Roman: Here you go, already signed to you Gary (because Dave Roman is fleet of pen and awesome-sauce).
This sort of thing was going on all weekend, and while not every exhibitor in the hall is as cool and talented as I hold Raina and Dave to be (not to mention lovely people — we’d been introduced previously, but this was the first time we’d had a chance to talk), every exhibitor in the hall was held in that regard by somebody. And chances are, that somebody came to buy.
What they tend to buy is on some form of wood — prints, art, books, Chris Yates’s incredible jigsaw puzzles — rather than t-shirts, which makes this an unusual audience for the webcomics creator. Although there were shirts to be had, and I did purchase one from Leah Riley (in the past my CBLDF boothmate, once one of the Lovely Ladies of Lulu, currently half of the husband-and-wife creative team behind Robohobo and Willrad, and always one of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet). Not because my wife needed another t-shirt mind you, but because the design of a squid forming a heart with its tentacles was just so damn good. Missed my chance for her fabric sculpture robots because they sold out too quickly, dammit. But my point being, if it’s fabric and it’s good enough, it’ll still sell.
I’ll also note that those are just starting out in webcomics would find SPX an attractive place to get the word out. Case in point, I met a couple of guys named Doc and Todd walking around and dropping the business card for their new collective, Killjoy Comics. Five years ago, they probably would have spent most of the year producing minis and hitting two or three shows with cheap tables, trying to get the word out. Today, you can still do those minis, but you don’t have to wait to pull your readers in, because you can continuously post your work to the web while accumulating enough material for print.
We’ve really reached that happy point where the distinction between indy/small press comics and webcomics is largely academic. So if you read this, if you love webcomics like I do, make your plans for Bethesda next year — there’s a mountain of talent and it’s all deserving of your support.
Photos below the cut.
- Turnabout is fair play: Dave Kellett lookin’ goofy.
- Tha’ BLC Posse: David Willis, Howard Tayler, Dave Kellett’s back, Kris Straub; not shown: Brad Guigar.
- David Malki !‘s Cavalcade of Fun table: Aaron Diaz, Colleen Venable, Nick Gurewitch, Malki !’s head, Chris Yates (obscured); not shown: Bernie Hou.
- Malki ! practices his death stare at the genial and bemused Chris Yates.
- Joe Sayers of Thingpart wonders if that ape on his badge is a portent of things to come.
- Josh Fruhlinger-moderated panel where things were said about comics, the web, and money: Ted Rall, Keith Knight, Gurewitch, Bill Griffith, Fruhlinger.
- Dave Kellett, fueled by cheap hooch, perpetrating another artistic slander on the character of the saintly Brad Guigar. Shameful.