Wednesday, March 5, 2008


[S.mall P.ress A.lternative C.omics E.xpo]

I feel funny doing a report on S.P.A.C.E 2008 because oftentimes it feels like a disjointed experience. I think I spend too much time being wary of being “pitched to” while perusing the exhibitors. My critical cynicism may be getting the better of me, but I’m also worried about these comic book hopefuls thinking I’ve wasted their time. I’ve been where they’re sitting, hoping someone will take an interest in my labor of love.

Once again the guest of honor was Dave Sim, best known for his Cerebus series and idol of those who independently produce their own comic books (Dave’s been doing it successfully for 30+ years) I’ve already lapsed into a routine at SPACE – talk to Dave, attend his Day Prize awards ceremony for comics I’ll never read, and make two circuits of the exhibitors. There were a large number of exhibitors, but they far outnumbered the patrons.

Talking to Dave Sim is always enjoyable. It’s hard to find a nicer guy in comics. He’s generous with his time and eager to hear what fans have to say. He remembered my friend, Ted Haycraft, who was name-checked by a letter writer in a column printed in Cerebus #300. Dave signed a Cerebus poster that I either had hanging in my dorm or apartment at some point (hence the sticky tack remnants). He remarked that it isn’t one he sees much of. He signed it and drew a Cerebus head sketch, as well as posed for pictures with me and the poster (currently held hostage on Ted’s camera).

Behind Dave was a display featuring the original art pages for his upcoming comic, Judenhass. The book is an examination of the holocaust. I found just the art (without words) very moving and was thrilled to get a noselength away from Dave’s linework. It’s in the latest catalog for shipping in May, so ask your local comic shop to order a copy for you.

Another SPACE staple is Kirbyesque artist Tom Scioli. I first met Tom a few years ago at Mid-Ohio Con. Back then he was selling his self-published cosmic comic, The Myth of 8-Opus. He’s since gone on to higher profile projects, notably GODLAND for Image Comics, leaving 8-Opus somewhat unfinished. In response to fans wanting to see more of 8-Opus, Tom has produced a homemade b&w photocopied issue #7. I have to admit I never understood this comic, but Tom’s “New Gods” style and far out ideas still endear me.

The big find for me was one exhibitor who’s putting together a tribute book to children’s author Ed Emberley. There was a stack of Ed Emberley’s ‘how to draw’ books on display. I have to say I haven’t given a thought to Ed Emberley in 25 years, but seeing those books I was suddenly 8 years old again. How many times did I check out ‘Make a World’ or the ‘Big Orange Drawing Book’. I used to marvel at the illusions in ‘The Wizard of Op’. I thought the $5 admission to the show was very reasonable, but this nostalgia trip was priceless.

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