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

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the palace of ice

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this is the book that launched my love affair with little nemo and winsor mccay. up until receiving this book as a christmas present, i had only heard of this master artist and cartooning genius. this book held pure, unbridled wonder from cover to cover, and it was impossible to read it and walk away unchanged. over the years the particular copy i have has acquired a kind of totemic power for me; although i know its contents by heart, opening it up has a mesmerizing effect, a feeling of being transported that i can’t quite describe.

hopefully someone will have that feeling when they open LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM.

maybe they’ll be able to describe it better than i.

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–chris stevens

The Locust Moon Top 40: March 2014

40. DESTINO

This is what it looks like when Walt Disney and Salvador Dali sort of collaborate. Sure makes you wonder what could have come of a deeper partnership.

39. BASEWOOD

Another delicious fruit of the Kickstarter era. Never before would a work as personal and idiosyncratic as Alec Longstreth’s BASEWOOD have seen publication in such a beautifully produced oversized edition, a handsomely made book containing a flawlessly cartooned story of loss, survival and connection.

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38. GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

OK, so none of us have actually gotten around to seeing it yet. But we’re so happy to have more Wes Anderson in the world that we’re listing it anyway.

37. MONSTERS & TITANS – the BATTLING BOY art book

Finally, we can see BATTLING BOY artwork the way it deserves to be seen: BIG.

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36. This Terrifying Short Film

Watch if you’re sick of sleeping, and would prefer never to do it again.

35. New Wu Tang Album

They are pressing one single copy of their new double album, which will be sold to the highest bidder. Something tells me we won’t end up finding this one for $3 in the bargain bin of the Princeton Record Exchange, like we did with 36 Chambers in 1997.

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Tuesday Tease

This week’s tease is a little different than most. Here’s a project that we put a great deal of love and work into, but sadly just didn’t come together in the end.

The right ingredients were there: Atlantic City, mysticism, kung fu, heaven & hell, boardwalk vagabonds, a heavy helping of Bruce Lee, and a dash of David Bowie.

But for the time being, here lies AMERICAN MONSTER BUFFET, and all the awesomeness Chris Stevens (story) and Jimmy Comey (art) brought to it.

– Andrew Carl

QUARTER MOON and ANNIVERSARY PARTY!

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It’s our one-year anniversary bash, and we’re rolling out the first issue of our quarterly series. This first issue is an all-silent outing with work from Charles Fetherolf, Alexandra Beguez, Sophia Wiedeman, Alex Eckman-Lawn, Rob Woods & Chris Stevens, Farel Dalrymple, and Jeremy Baum. It’s been a heck of a first year and we look forward to celebrating with y’all.

Friday, July 19, 7:00 pm
Locust Moon Comics
34 S 40th St, Philadelphia, PA 19104