Awards and Onwards

So… it’s a bit of a heady time here in the land of the Locusts.

Andrew went to San Diego, and came back with these things:

nemo_eisners

Those globes are actually spinnable, and the base is made of solid wood. But beyond even their fine craftsmanship, these objects also have symbolic value. They are Eisner awards, assigned by a jury of our peers, recognizing the transcendent beauty and Herculean it-takes-a-village communal effort that is LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM.

EISNER winnerOur collective labor of love was recognized as BEST ANTHOLOGY, and Jim Rugg’s gorgeous work on the package was singled out for BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN.

We’re humbled. So much dedication and care went into the crafting of the 118 beautiful pieces contained in this collection. And we couldn’t be prouder to be behind one of the projects spearheading this surprising and splendid Winsor McCay revival – between our anthology, IDW’s RETURN TO SLUMBERLAND mini-series, Taschen’s complete Little Nemo reprint, and Katherine Roeder’s academic work WIDE AWAKE IN SLUMBERLAND, our man was the recipient of, count ’em, eight Eisner nominations and four Eisner awards. These are some pretty voluminous coat-tails, and we’re riding ’em in good company, hanging on for dear life.

Voting open through August 31, 2015Then we turn around the next week and find that LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM has been nominated for two Harvey Awards, (BEST ANTHOLOGY and SPECIAL AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN PRESENTATION; voting open till 8/31), and Locust Moon Press was nominated for a Philadelphia Geek Award for COMIC CREATOR OF THE YEAR. The accolades for this beautiful book are coming faster than we can tweet about them. It’s a remarkable thing, to see the spectacular work and incredible passion of so many visionary cartoonists recognized by their industry and their colleagues.

BUT – lest you think we’re resting for even a moment on our laurels – we thought we might take this opportunity to give you a glimpse of what we’re working on.

Friends, this is the calm before the storm. All spring and summer long, we have been planting seeds.

Soon – the harvest.

Here’s what’s coming from Locust Moon in the next three months. Gird yourselves, comic lovers.

LITTLE NEMO’S BIG NEW DREAMS

LittleNemo_Toon_CoverWe’re pleased and honored to announce the newest incarnation of our seemingly endless Little Nemo revival project: we’ve partnered with TOON BOOKS, Francoise Mouly’s remarkable comics-for-young-readers imprint, home of beautiful children’s books by Art Spiegelman, Jeff Smith, and Neil Gaiman, to create a miniature, abridged edition of our ginormous compendium.

Gorgeously designed by Francoise herself, edited by myself, Chris, and Andrew, and featuring an introduction in comic strip form by none other than Art Spiegelman (!!!!), this beautiful new book is our attempt to create some version of our dream-tome fit for libraries, schools, backpacks, picnics, and budgets without room for triple-digit literary line items.

Due for release on September 1st, this edition is a sparkling treasure smuggled out of Slumberland while everyone was distracted by the cacophonous pomp of the LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM parade.

Some great early reviews of LITTLE NEMO’S BIG NEW DREAMS are already in from ICv2 and Kirkus.

SHAMAN

Shaman_Vol1_coverThis is a project that’s been bubbling away on Locust Moon’s most favored back burner for a couple years now, and it’s finally come to a boil. Ben Kahn and Bruno Hidalgo’s gleeful dismemberment of superhero tropes marks the long-form debut of two top-flight storytellers and one bitingly brilliant comics-making team. Ben and Bruno’s sharp, nimble, contagiously funny creative vision is about to be loosed on the world in the shape of a charming supernatural saga that’s sure to leave readers enraptured and hungry for more. In the never-ending battle between good and evil, the door between life and death swings both ways – and Shaman’s the asshole with the key.

SHAMAN: Volume One, featuring special appearances by the likes of Farel Dalrymple, Jim Rugg, and J.G. Jones, will be in comic shops everywhere October 15.

Make sure your store gets it! Diamond order code JUL151468.

QUARTER MOON: IMPRACTICAL CATS

Yes, this is a whole issue of Quarter Moon about cats. Mostly this cat…

inky

QM6_cover…but a lot of other cats too.

Our little quarterly-esque comics anthology is growing up, pouncing into the future with its wildest, prettiest and most ambitious iteration thus far. Featuring a cover by Lisk Feng and artwork and stories from a lineup of ringers including Paul Pope, Farel Dalrymple, Dean Haspiel, David Mack, Bill Sienkiewicz, Ronald Wimberly, and many more, this celebration of our furry friends prowls and purrs like the fine feline she is.

The sixth volume of QUARTER MOON will hit shelves by November. Our hope is that the slow boat from China gets it here in time to debut this creature at Comic Arts Brooklyn.

PROMETHEUS ETERNAL

We’ve been keeping this one a semi-secret outside of some slightly obnoxious vaguebooking, but goddamn. We’re just too excited to hold back any longer.

We’re teaming up with the Philadelphia Museum of Art (you know, from Rocky?) to produce a comic book companion to their upcoming WRATH OF THE GODS exhibition – a show featuring representations of Prometheus throughout history, including works by Rubens, Michelangelo, and Titian.

How do you answer the call to arms that comes in the form of a collaboration with one of the greatest American art museums, in a show featuring a number of old masters?

You recruit a lineup of the greatest cartoonists in the world. Our PROMETHEUS ETERNAL comic will feature illustrations and stories adapting the Prometheus myth by creators including

GRANT MORRISON
DAVE MCKEAN
LISK FENG
BILL SIENKIEWICZ
PAUL POPE
ANDREA TSURUMI
DAVID MACK
JAMES COMEY
FAREL DALRYMPLE
YUKO SHIMIZU

We’re bringing the visions of these incredible storytellers into a context in which it deserves to be seen: among other great works of art history. If our crazy plan works, this book will be the first of many, and this partnership between Locust Moon and the P.M.A. will mark the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

A little taste, courtesy of McKean…

Prometheus_McKean_p2panel

UPDATE: And now, Bill Sienkiewicz’s cover!

Prometheus Eternal Cover front

Advertisements

LITTLE NEMO meets CAROUSEL!

 nemo carousel

Please join us at the Society of Illustrators on Saturday, March 14th at 2pm for

                                                         LITTLE NEMO meets CAROUSEL

A performance and tribute to cartoonist Winsor McCay

Carousel, the comics reading & performance series, presents a tribute to Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo. The show features cartoonists from the Locust Moon Press anthology LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM, plus a special presentation by animation historian and Oscar-winning filmmaker John Canemaker.

Besides being one of the greatest cartoonists of all time, Winsor McCay was also a popular and innovative vaudeville performer, so this show is a perfect way to honor his amazing legacy.

With readings, animations, and performances by: John CanemakerMaëlle DoliveuxMaria HoeyAdriano MoraesDave ProchAndrea TsurumiRonald Wimberlyand special guests. Plus a slide show drawn by Dean Haspiel (not appearing in person).  Hosted by R. Sikoryak.

The Society of Illustrators, 128 East 63rd Street (btwn Park & Lexington Avenues), New York City.

Admission: $15 Non-members, $10 members, $7 seniors/students.

Also on display: an exhibit with original art from the Locust Moon Press anthology LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM. The exhibition runs through March 28, 2015.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Animation historian and Oscar-winning filmmaker John Canemaker presents animation’s first female personality: the spunky dinosaur Gertie, who celebrated her 100th birthday last year.  Winsor McCay’s breakthrough film is a masterpiece of early character animation, a type of individualization in animation whose legacy is the pantheon of Walt Disney.  Canemaker is the author of twelve acclaimed books on animation history, including the only biography of Winsor McCay. He is a tenured professor and head of the animation program at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and his short The Moon and the Son won a 2005 Academy Award as Best Animated Short. JohnCanemaker.com

Maëlle Doliveux is a French and Swiss illustrator, cartoonist and animator who’s clients include Newsweek, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and Motorola. She graduated from the MFA Illustration as Visual Essay program at the School of Visual Arts in 2013, has received recognition from the Society of Illustrators, the Art Director’s Club and American Illustration as well as having been a jury member for the Society of Illustrators in 2015.www.maelledoliveux.com

Emmy award winner and Eisner Award nominee Dean Haspiel created BILLY DOGMA, illustrated for HBO’s “Bored To Death,” was a Master Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, is a Yaddo fellow, a playwright, and the co-founder of Hang Dai Editions. Dino has written, drawn, and collaborated on many superhero and semi-autobiographical comix and graphic novels. http://www.deanhaspiel.com

Maria Hoey is 1/2 of Coin-Op. A studio started with her brother Peter in 1998. Together they create illustrations, animations, and comic stories. The best possible job on the planet.  Coin-Op studio is at www.peterhoey.com.

Adriano Moraes is a Brazillian born cartoonist working as freelancer in NY on almost all mediums from theater to film, illustration, animation, puppetry, burlesque shows, graphic design and advertising. He sucks at singing and dancing but that never stopped him. facebook.com/theadriano

Dave Proch is a Philadelphia based cartoonist and the creator of the ongoing serial book, “Mango Lizard”. He can be reached at www.daveproch.com.

Andrea Tsurumi is an illustrator and cartoonist who likes history, absurdity, dogs and monsters (in no particular order). Comics of hers have appeared in The Graphic Canon of Children’s Literature, Flashed: Sudden Stories in Prose and Comics, The Nib and Quarter Moon. Her work has been described as “strange and emotive.” She likes funny stories, lives in New York City, and you can see her work at www.andreatsurumi.com

Ronald Wimberly is an artist who works primarily in design and narrative. He is an accomplished illustrator and cartoonist, having designed several graphic novels as well as shorter works for DC/Vertigo, Nike, Marvel, Hill and Wang, and Dark Horse. His last work was the critically acclaimed Prince of Cats for DC/Vertigo. http://ronwimberly.com/

R. Sikoryak is the cartoonist behind Masterpiece Comics (Drawn & Quarterly).  He’s also recently drawn for The New York Times Book Review, The Graphic Canon of Children’s Literature, SpongeBob Comics, Hellboy, and more.www.rsikoryak.com

For more info: societyillustrators.org

More News From Nowhere

mailing nemo

February is a time of death. Not a time of dying — it’s the quiet beyond the grave, a time when long-past deaths persist, through all acceptance and despair. It’s the very bottom of the year, the moment when even the blackest magics have been exhausted. The month the earth stands still. February is what it feels like to be alone.

So come where the hearth and the hearts are hot. Eat with us. Drink with us. Make merry with us. For we have already died, and tomorrow we will be reborn.

On WEDNESDAY 3/18 we will be at the Society of Illustrators for the opening reception of the LITTLE NEMO: DREAM ANOTHER DREAM gallery exhibition.

mailing societyBy THURSDAY 3/19 we will be back, probably a little worse for the wear and still dressed in a rumpled rendition of our finest regalia, huddled together Drinking & Drawing.

The following week on THURSDAY 3/26 we will be hosting MAPS FOR EARTHMATES, a gallery show by Us & We Art (aka Joey Hartmann-Dow), who turns old maps into glorious creatures. Her work is original, funny and fascinating.

mailing joey
In the meantime, we’re hard at work on the second volume of ONCE UPON A TIME MACHINE (this time it’s sci-fi takes on Greek mythology), a book whose completion beckons ever closer. Seeing the work rolling in by Toby Cypress, Charles Fetherolf and Andrea Tsurumi reminds us that somewhere, there is an eternal springtime waiting to be made new.

Some pencils from my collaboration with surly-but-brilliant Monsieur Fetherolf:

mailing charlie
So come. Sit and read with us. We have thousands of books, and they are full of fire. Warm your hands and your godforsaken soul.

-Josh O’Neill

Angouleme, Je T’aime

Angouleme 3
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!

Angouleme
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.

photo
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.

Simpsons Mural
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.

photo 3
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.

Table 1
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.

photo 1 (3)

photo 2 (2)
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.

Show Floor 2
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.

Show Floor
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.

Show Floor 2
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.)

photo 1 (2)
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.

Brass Band
photo 5
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.

FOFF Afterparty
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…

IMG_3148

IMG_3151

IMG_3153

IMG_3154
An eye-opening display of Chinese comics…

Chinese Comics 2

Chinese Comics 3

Chinese Comics 4

Chinese Comics 5

Chinese Comics 6

Chinese Comics
The Jack Kirby exhibition…

Kirby 1

Kirby 2

Kirby 3

Kirby 4
Kirby 5
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.

photo 2 (1)Watterson 3photo 1 (1)
IMG_3159

IMG_3167

IMG_3169
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.

photo 1

[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:

miceMap2014

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

10-04-14 APE

 

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

RCCC13_FloorplanPg

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

spx_crowd

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.

prom_andrewraferdave

Andrew Carl, Rafer Roberts, Dave Proch

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

nemo_andreahoey

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.

nemo_alexis

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.

nemo_jentong

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.

IMG_2385b

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.

nemo_gandy

…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.

oosa_bros

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.

prom_andrewraferdave

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.

josh_nancy

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.

spx_byneilbramlette

Josh O’Neill, Andrew Carl

– Josh O’Neill