Locust Moon Comics Festival’s Halloween Weekend

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Photo by Dan Mazur

The Locust Moon Comic Festival, Philadelphia’s rapidly growing independent comics expo, has announced a star-studded guest list and an expanded slate of programs for its fourth annual event, to be held on Halloween of this year.

The historic Rotunda on Walnut Street will play host to a cross-section of the greatest artists, writers, publishers, designers, and makers in sequential and graphic arts. This year’s guest list includes Bill Sienkiewicz (ELEKTRA: ASSASSIN), Craig Thompson (HABIBI), Chris Claremont (UNCANNY X-MEN), Alexa and Denis Kitchen (KITCHEN SINK PRESS), David Mack (KABUKI), Mark Beyer (AMY + JORDAN), and Noah Van Sciver (FANTE BUKOWSKI).

“For the first time, the festivities will extend for three days across the weekend,” says organizer Chris Stevens. The festival kicks off with an all-star Drink & Draw at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, open to the public and led by all of the aforementioned special guests, on Friday night; and following Saturday’s main event, the fun extends through Sunday afternoon with a long pancake brunch for exhibitors. This will be a weekend to remember for artists, authors, and readers alike.

“The intimacy of our festival is what sets it apart from other shows,” says co-runner Josh O’Neill. “What other convention would invite its attendees to have drinks at an art museum with Bill Sienkiewicz and Craig Thompson? It’s not about fans meeting creators and getting books signed. At Locust Moon Comics Festival we all come together as lovers of comics and have a great party.”

The donation-based event on Saturday, October 31 is free to children under 12, and will feature complimentary programming for kids including comic-making workshops, face-painting, and a Halloween costume contest.

Programming throughout Saturday at the Locust Moon store will include a conversation with Chris Claremont, a panel on underground comics featuring Denis Kitchen, Mark Beyer, Pat Aulisio and Noah Van Sciver, an exploration of what it takes to “Draw on Life” with Craig Thompson, Dean Haspiel and Andrea Tsurumi, and a discussion on comics in fine art contexts with Ronald Wimberly, Bill Sienkiewicz and David Mack.

More than just a convention, this community-focused event will honor comic creators and their creations, and for one day, break down the barriers between professional creators, passionate fans, aspiring artists, and curious new readers.

Says organizer Stevens, “Locust Moon Fest brings the world of comics to Philadelphia, and the comics of Philadelphia to the world.”

Find further information about the event and more guests on the Locust Moon Comics Festival website (locustmoonfest.com), Facebook (facebook.com/locustmoonfest), and Twitter (twitter.com/locustmoonfest).

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– Schedule of Events –

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 30
6pm-9pm: Drink & Draw @ Philadelphia Museum of Art (2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy)

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 31
11am-6pm: Comics Festival & Kids’ Activities @ The Rotunda (4014 Walnut St)
12pm-6pm: Panels @ Locust Moon Comics store (34 S 40th St)
8pm-???: Halloween/After-Party @ Locust Moon Comics store (34 S 40th St)

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 1
12pm-3pm: Artists’ Brunch @ Locust Moon Comics store (34 S 40th St)

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QUARTER MOON: REVENGE to Debut at MoCCA-Fest!

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Have you been wronged? Mistreated? Betrayed? Cut off in traffic? Dumped, dissed, kissed off, cussed out, ripped off or robbed?

Well, the law firm of Kitchen, Seitchik, Woods, Dougherty, Simple, Turbitt, Heimer, Comey, Proch & Krayewski is in your corner.

But it’s not justice we offer. It’s REVENGE.

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The fifth issue of our quarterly comics magazine features eleven jaw-clenchingly vindictive tales of retaliation, comeuppance and just desserts from many of the finest, angriest cartoonists working today.

It premiers at New York’s esteemed Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Festival on April 11th & 12th, from 11am to 6pm. So come find us at table 316, and we’ll seal your copy with a spiteful kiss.

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You could also order one from our web store today!

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Then come join us the following weekend on Saturday, April 18th for a ruthless evening of retribution and reprisal. A book release party to flaunt our joy and success in the faces of our many enemies and detractors.

Bring your grievances and grudges. We will drown them in blood.

An eye for an eye. A tit for a tat. A comic for you, you heartless, blood-thirsty hate machine.

BYOBile.

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Angouleme, Je T’aime

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Angouleme. Jeez — I’m not sure what just happened. I dreamt that this quaint little French hillside town with cobblestone streets and half-century-old churches it was descended upon by over one hundred thousand of the world’s finest comic-makers and -lovers for four long days of bizarre and beautiful graphic revelry. I dreamt that the winding lanes that spill down towards the river were thronged until the crack of dawn by a tipsy horde of friends and strangers united by the common love for this glorious and powerful medium of art.

Show Floor 2In size, in stature, in ambition, in variety and seriousness of purpose, Angouleme dwarfs every other show I’ve ever been to. If you could stir together the best parts of San Diego and TCAF in an antique tea cup, maybe you would wind up with something halfway resembling this insane event. And the wildest part is that everyone kept telling us how slow it was. This was apparently the dreariest Festival International de la Bande Desinee in recent memory. Mon Dieu!

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We were at the show as the humble guests of the one & only Peter Maresca of Sunday Press, the finest archival imprint in the business, the publisher of the impossibly beautiful broadsheet-format Little Nemo editions that inspired our own LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM — the bizarre, glorious, star-studded tribute anthology whose coattails we’re riding all over the world. After one whirlwind day in Paris, during which Andrew and I hoofed it all over the city trying to check off the obvious tourist sites (Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, Serge Gainsbourg’s house), we somehow packed our gigantic boxes into Pete’s tiny rental car, loaded up on sandwiches and pastries, and headed south through the miserable, appropriately existential rain on a highway that looked less like my cliched vision of the French countryside than it did like the Pennsylvania turnpike en route to Pittsburgh.

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But we were happy to have a few hours in the car with Pete to talk about comics, life and France. And our arrival in Angouleme, despite the awful weather, was joyous. Centuries-old buildings covered in cartooning — the cognitive dissonance of it is shocking and delightful. Hey, there’s Tintin peeking out of an abbey window. Look, the side of that stately manse is covered with laser-blasting jet-propelled robots. Check it out, a garage with a 40-foot mural featuring nearly every Simpsons character.

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It’s too much. The comic-loving mind delights. So what if we had to claim a parking spot near our tent and hoof our suitcases a couple miles across the river to our AirBNB spot? We were here now. Wet and beat and happy. See, look how happy Andrew is.

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On Thursday at the show we heard a lot of talk about slow traffic, as the rain persisted and the heightened security made it kind of a hassle to move from tent to tent. Every 15 minutes or so the loudspeakers would blare with messages which, tranlated into English, took on an unintentionally (?) Orwellian cast: “Please surrender your belongings to the controllers.” “All barriers to the movement will be removed.” Police squads and bomb-sniffing dogs roamed the show floor. It all contributed to a strange, anxious urgency that I think brought out both the best and worst in a lot of people at the festival.

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Friday the weather was worse still, but foot traffic picked up considerably. We had promising meetings with a lot of companies about the prospect of foreign-language editions of Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream. Otomo was appointed president, to general joyousness and acclaim. The table that we shared with Peter was awarded the official Angouleme prize for Most Gigantic Books.

Giant BooksWe tried to see Junji Ito speak, but were stymied by the sold-out crowd. We soothed our disappointment with pastries.

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There’s so much at this show that I wish I could tell you about — the talks by Brian K. Vaughan and Brecht Evens, the drawing display by Jiro Taniguchi, the awards ceremony — but meetings and tabling kept us too busy to really enjoy most of the asethetic fruits of this glorious, abundantly programmed show.

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The programming at most American conventions — even the really great ones — feels like a bit of an afterthought, an added enticement to the main offering of the show floor. Maybe it’s the government-funded, arts council-supported nature of this European festival, but the programming — the endless talks and exhibitions and screenings and debates and ceremonies — seemed like the real main course here. The signings, what few there were, felt informal and ad hoc, took place at publishers’ humble tables, and were free of charge. This gathering is a celebration of an art form, not a lucrative exploitation of an ever-burgeoning fandom.

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Was the slow attendance due in part to the fear of terrorist attacks? I’m not in any position to speculate — but Charlie Hebdo and Je Suis Charlie/Nous Sommes Charlie images were everywhere (including all the official festival programs and banners, which must have been hastily rebranded at considerable expense), and the still-fresh horror and sorrow of the events of January 7th gave the proceedings a powerful and intense gravity. Comics and cartoons are no joke. The stakes are high — truth and meaning and freedom of expression hang in the balance. In the US that feels like a fact that we comic folk have to defensively insist upon and constantly, self-consciously reaffirm. In Europe, at least for the moment, that seems to be taken as a given.

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But the seriousness and significance of all this certainly didn’t preclude joy or revelry, as the hundred-thousand-some of us, editors and authors and publishers and readers, flooded the streets of this charming little town, bouncing from bar to bar and hotel to hotel with wine glasses in hand, greeting old friends and meeting new ones. (It seems like all the bars in town must have lost a lot of glasses, as people ordered drinks and treated their tumblers and flutes as to-go cups. But, as folks ditched the glasses wherever they ended up, it probably evened out into a sort of informal glassware exchange program.)

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A 12-piece brass band popped up out of nowhere and blasted out what turned into an impromptu dance party on the cobblestones. We got down with the brilliant Israeli illustrator and Locust Moon contributor Keren Katz, which is an activity I highly recommend to all human persons.

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Angouleme is a place huge, wild and capacious enough to contain its own alt-comics anti-festival, FOFF (short for FUCK OFF — its message to the FIBD), which featured a lot of awesomely porny stuff and turned into a weirdo dance club after hours towards which a lot of the nightlife gravitated, where wonderfully nerdy French rappers presided over roiling mosh pits.

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Saturday at the show the weather finally began to break, the crowds really got crazy, and all of our calves started to get very toned from walking up and down the hill. There were some endless lines to navigate, and the town’s infrastructure seemed stretched to its very capacity. Still, we were told this was a pale shadow of Angouleme years past. Do people get trampled to death at peak Angouleme? Our sales picked up, and by Sunday morning we had managed to find happy homes for all of our LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM editions and wrap up our schedule of meetings, which gave us a little more free time to explore the endless expanse of this bottomless show, including visits to FOFF…

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An eye-opening display of Chinese comics…

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The Jack Kirby exhibition…

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And, closest to my heart, the Calvin and Hobbes exhibit, lovingly curated by Jenny Robb and Caitlin McGurk from the Billy Ireland museum at Ohio State.

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Calvin and Hobbes was the piece of art, more than any other, that kindled the undying love of comics and cartooning in my young heart. My enthusiasm Bill Watterson’s work has somehow only grown with age, and my only hope as a comic creator and comic publisher is to ever be involved in making something that can impart even a fraction of the joy that reading, re-reading, and re-re-re-re-reading these strips has given me over the last 32 years. Being in the presence of Watterson’s original line art, to see the effortlessly, dashingly minimal brushstrokes that formed Hobbes’s tiger stripes, was an almost comically humbling and moving experience. I had to resist the urge to touch them . There was a moment, when contemplating the beauty of one of my favorite strips, that I began to tear up. I felt silly, and a little ashamed of myself. But I looked around the room and saw a dozen other people gazing at this transcendent work with equally rapt, awe-struck religiousity, and I knew I wasn’t silly. I was Charlie. I was home.

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[Please forgive my terrible photography. All the decent photos here were taken by Andrew.]

-Josh O’Neill

Mice ‘n’ Ape

This weekend, October 4th & 5th, Locust Moon is pulling off our first dual coast expostravaganza.

Josh hits Cambridge, MA for MICE (the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo), while Andrew brings the party to San Francisco, CA for APE (the Alternative Press Expo).

All the while, of course, Chris will be stationed at Locust Moon HQ back in Philadelphia, PA.

Each of us on the road will have a small stack (small in number — huge in size) of Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream advance copies, so find us quickly if you can’t wait till the full release later this year.

Here’s where you can find us, and all our partners in slumber, on our expocades:

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At MICE you’ll also find Nemo contributors Maria & Peter Hoey, Box Brown, Mark Mariano, Maris Wicks, and Jerel Dye.

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And at APE you’ll find Nemo artists Jim Rugg, Paul Pope (Sunday only), Tom Scioli, Jen Tong, Grim Wilkins, Jenna Trost, and Mike Lee. Also look for Sunday Press, who produce the definitive, full-sized Nemo reprints we love so much.

Locust Moon Press (Josh O’Neill) at MICE: Table A22

Saturday, October 4: 10am – 6pm
Sunday, October 5: 11am – 4pm

University Hall at Lesley University
1815 Massachusetts Ave (Porter Square)
Cambridge, MA 02239

www.micexpo.org

Locust Moon Press (Andrew Carl) at APE: Table 403B

Saturday, October 4: 11am – 7pm
Sunday, October 5: 11am – 6pm

Fort Mason Center
Festival Pavilion
2 Marina Blvd.
San Francisco, CA 94123

www.comic-con.org/ape

On the West Coast – Rose City Comic Con

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This weekend, Andrew takes advantage of being our West Coast satellite by representing Locust Moon at ROSE CITY COMIC CON in Portland, Oregon.

In addition to all our regular books, he’ll have a very small stack of (very big) LITTLE NEMOs on-hand, too – at Artist Alley Table H-15.

So all you Portlanders, get ready! Locust Moon’s finally hitting the fabled land of the every-cartoonist. Can’t wait.

Where & when:

Oregon Convention Center
777 NE MLK, Jr. Blvd.
Portland, OR 97232

Saturday, September 20
10 am – 7 pm
Sunday, September 21
10 am – 5 pm

SPXcellent

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SPX

SPX, it seems generally agreed, is the most fun weekend of convention season. So much more than a small press marketplace, it’s a celebration of comics with a quirky character all its own. Our time in Bethesda was filled with booze and belly laughs, as we caught up with old friends, sold a veritable buttload of comics, and even busted out some serious dance moves.

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Andrew Carl, Rafer Roberts, Dave Proch

Oh, and also, we debuted LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM.

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Sean getting his Nemo signed by Andrea Tsurumi (right page)

After two years, we finally had books to sell. It felt almost surreal. Having spent so much time with these beautiful pieces, having bickered & bonded over every page placement, every design element, having written endlessly about McCay and Little Nemo, having given interviews to any & all who would interview us, having generally turned ourselves over the last eight months into single-minded Nemo-making-and-promoting machines, here we were for the very first time with copies of the book to put into people’s hands. DREAM ANOTHER DREAM has attained such a giant status in our minds, as a tribute and collective effort and crowd-funded passion project, that it’s easy to forget that in the end, it’s a book. You can buy it if you want it. It’s up to you.

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Alexis Ziritt admiring those insane colors on his Nemo page (right)

We didn’t have many copies — there are only 50 in the US at the moment, having been overnight shipped and smuggled across the border at great expense and vague legal peril. We’ll be parceling them out over the our hectic convention schedule (come see us at Rose City in Portland, MICE in Cambridge, APE in San Francisco, and NYCC in NYC!), a few at a time, to tide you all over until the LOCUST MOON COMICS FESTIVAL, when we should have our bulk shipment in stock and we can sell them freely and – even more importantly – begin fulfilling the rewards of our beloved Kickstarter backers.

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Jen Tong seeing her Nemo page for the first time in print

But that’s getting ahead of ourselves. Here we were with 18 (quickly sold out) copies of this majestic creature, on the lushly-carpeted floor of one of the best and most exciting comics conventions in the world. We were tabling with our old pals & brothers-in-arms (and Nemo contributors) Farel Dalrymple and Jasen Lex, which gave our booth a grandeur and a comics firepower befitting the glorious book we were debuting. We thought we were making good sales, but Farel blew us away — there wasn’t a moment all weekend when he didn’t have a long line waiting for him to sign copies of THE WRENCHIES. The way our tables were combined, I think a fair amount of confused people thought that Locust Moon was THE WRENCHIES’ publisher. I sincerely wish we were. It’s one of the greatest comics of all time.

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Farel making his mark on a soon-to-be-epic copy of Nemo…

We discovered when inspecting the SPX floor plan that, including the two fine tablemates just to our left, 26 of the book’s 140 contributors were exhibiting at the show. So Andrew made heavily annotated maps marking each of their locations, and we sent the proud new owners of LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM off on scavengers hunts to get as many signatures as they cared to or could. I jokingly offered a free prize to anyone who got all 26. A constant sight on the show floor throughout the weekend was people stalking from booth to booth with an unwieldily gargantuan book under one arm and a marked-up map held aloft with the other, like some kind of alt-comix version of The Amazing Race. When a number of people returned to the table with every contributor checked off, I had to figure out what the hell kind of free prize I could offer them.

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…Rawn Gandy adding to the now well-scavenged set of signatures

SPX has always been a youthful show. For all the incredible comics luminaries they always have on hand, it’s always been the show where people are most excited about handmade books and self-published minis. It’s a show that thrives on New Comics Energy, and we couldn’t have been happier to contribute to that influx of medium-sustaining novelty with an unusual and unlikely project of our own. (Many thanks to Warren Bernard for helping us make this magical weekend happen.)

As usual, half of the reason for the glory of SPX is due to the Bethesda Marriott Hotel, whose comfy confines are given over completely to the endless array of misfits that we call a comics industry. It’s more than just a con venue — it’s the eye of the storm, for one brief weekend this one building is the center of the comics universe. You exhibit there, you drink there, you draw there, you sleep there. (You eat elsewhere and abruptly realize there’s such a thing as outside.) By the end of the weekend it feels like home. I’m not sure Jesse Reklaw ever put on a pair of shoes. To the maids and bellhops it must be kind of like going to the zoo, if the animals were all inside of your house. Their hospitality was stunning, and can in no way be attributed to the eight bazillion dollars they generated in overpriced drink sales.

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Ben Sears, Andrew MacLean, Chris Stevens, Aaron Conley, Zack Soto

This SPX was heavy on the social events, from the Ignatz awards (whose many unfamiliar nominees were a welcome reminder that comics is bottomless, and we should all be reading more than we are) to the baffling spectacle of Simon Hanselmann’s wedding (we missed the vows, but walked in at the very end to see Simon making out with Gary Groth while a five piece brass band played All You Need is Love), to the SPX prom, facilitated and arranged by our own homegirls the Dirty Diamonds, which featured a jam-packed dance floor, an inspiring interpretive performance of Madonna’s Express Yourself by R. Sikoryak and Kriota Willberg, and this majestic photo, which should really be featured here at least twice and, even if the con were a total failure, completely justifies the weekend.

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SPromX

Fashion round-up: I wore a beautiful Nancy tie that Denis Kitchen gave me, a fact that I’m surprised hasn’t found its way into more post-con blogs and recaps. My own sartorial beauty was outstripped only by Tom Scioli, who was sporting french braids woven by the dirtiest of diamonds Claire Folkman, and Simon Hanselmann, who was wearing a wedding dress, which seems like cheating.

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Nancy

We scored a lot of amazing books and prints, including Dustin Harbin‘s NoBrow dinosaur leporello, Andrea Tsurumi‘s remarkable new YA sci-fi collab with Molly Brooks, Kelly Phillips‘ hilariously revealing Weird Al superfan autobio, and one lone copy of Ben Marra‘s storied, seemingly-always-sold-out TERROR ASSAULTER, which Dave, Andrew and I read aloud to each other while eating chicken nuggets in our hotel room. I’m pretty sure that’s how Ben intended the book to be enjoyed.

Oh SPX. I hope that thoughts of you will sustain us through the meat-grinder shit-show known as New York Comic-Con. You only get one chance to make a first impression. I’m glad that SPX was ours.

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Josh O’Neill, Andrew Carl

– Josh O’Neill

Nemo Weekend at SPX!

2014 marks Locust Moon’s first year exhibiting at the always-amazing Small Press Expo, right outside of Washington, DC. SPX has been one of our favorite, and simply one of the best, comics festivals in the world.

Specially for this year’s SPX, we’ll be debuting the first ever advance copies of LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM to be available for sale.

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And luckily enough, there will be a bunch of Dream Another Dreamers scattered around the room to drop a signature in there for you – including Alexis Ziritt, Andrea Tsurumi, Andrew MacLean, Becky Dreistadt, Frank Gibson, Benjamin Marra, Box Brown, Brendan Leach, Carla Speed McNeil, Dave Plunkert, Dave Proch, Dean Haspiel, Farel Dalrymple, Gregory Benton, Jen Tong, Jeremy Baum, Jim Rugg, Nate Powell, R. Sikoryak, Rafer Roberts, Roger Langridge, Theo Ellsworth, and Tom Scioli.

That’s in addition to the tons of OTHER amazingly talented cartoonists who’ll be there, of course. Basically, you don’t want to miss this show.

So find us at TABLE G2 this weekend to say hi and take a peek at all our latest books, including Nemo.

Details for SPX:

September 13-14, 2014

Saturday: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Sunday: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Marriott Bethesda North Hotel & Conference Center
5701 Marinelli Road
North Bethesda, MD 20852

www.spxpo.com