September 29, 2009

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SPX Day Two Write Up

Slightly delayed write-up of the second day of SPX.

The day started with looking at purchases, making some copies, and yummy Chipotle before racing (just in time) for the time-constrained comics panel.

The panel itself went in a bit of a different direction than I'd expected, as the panelists themselves noted that the talk kind of drifted a bit from the idea of a time-limited comic to the idea of writing comics about what you are doing at the time, how to balance the two, and preventing people from doing stupid stuff just to get into your comic. There was also quite a bit of referencing autobiographical comics as well, since at least two of the panelists used their comics to chronicle their lives over the course of time. This panel was also notable by featuring Maxime de Radigues, a Belgian gentleman who helps organize 24 comics. It was nice hearing the perspective of someone from another country.

Had I know they moved the Center for Cartoon Studies to 5pm, I'd have gone to the Source-based comics panel. So no Kate Beaton for me. Instead, I made what I thought was my last main swing through the tables, picking up yet more things from the DC Conspiracy, finding the latest edition of Subterranean, and grabbing my only "large" publisher purchase, both volumes of "A Distant Neighborhood" from Fanfare, who told me they were doing well.

Once I learned of the time change, we went back in to grab yet more comics, because hey, why not? Erica hit up Top Shelf for some Jeffrey Brown goodness, and I mentioned we needed more Top Shelf because making a $100 order right before SPX wasn't enough. I tried feverishly to remember if I missed anything I really wanted. (Turns out the answer was yes--I totally missed AdHouse. Sorry about that, guys!)

Then it was on to listen to Jeffrey Brown, Erica's favorite indie creator. They showed a bit of Brown's feature in "Drawing Between the Lines" before talking about his creative style (Brown apparently does a lot of his work straight in journals, flattening the heck out of them for reprinting) and some of his projects. He's come an amazingly long way from self-publishing Clumsy all the way to Simon and Shuster. Although I wonder how that will affect him going forward when he wants to do something a bit odder than his patented autobiographical material.

Brown also talked about his approach to different pieces, like how he used "real" comic paper for the Simpsons work but uses a journal for the personal books. There were quite a few nods at the idea that he may be in trouble if certain resources ever become unavailable. A fair number of questions were asked out the personal level of his material, but I asked the really important question: Did he hate Marian Hossa?

But Jeff got me back--he told me that Detroit had enough Stanley Cups, they weren't "desperate" for them. Touche, sir!

(Complete digression--Brown hilariously referred to Hossa as the guy who tried to help Pgh win a cup and didn't, then went to Detroit to help them win a cup and didn't. Good luck this year, Chicago!)

The Center for Cartoon Studies workshop ended things for the day, and spent a fair amount of time covering ground that I think, honestly, most of those in the room already knew, namely panel construction. That didn't leave enough time to really workshop, though I was happy with my 5-panel thumbnail, even if my drawing skills are for crap.

We left just a bit early to see if Brown could sign a book for us, and he and I talked a bit, after Erica reminded him I was the guy who asked the hockey question. (Thanks, hon.) We then talked for a few minutes about hockey, with Jeff insisting I grab Robert Ullman's hockey mini-comic, which I of course did. One does not argue with Jeffrey Brown.

The plan is for Pittsburgh and Detroit to meet up at the Stanley Cup for a third straight year, and drive the rest of the NHL crazy. I approve of this plan. Again, one does not argue with Jeffrey Brown.

All too soon, it was time to go. We took a last look around, and grabbed our friend the Warriorsmurf, who managed to empty her comics budget rather quickly, an easy thing to do at SPX.

SPX 2009 was even more fun for us than last year, and really made me think about how I read comics, why I read comics, and what type of comics I read. But that's for another post for another time.

For now, I look forward to next year, look forward to reading our vast number of new comics, and smile in the knowledge that for one small moment, I got to be a hockey comics geek with a great comics creator. It's the kind of memory you can only get from something like SPX.