|Poster by the great Peter Bagge.|
That thin line is blown all to hell in the annual pre-show event held at Atomic Books in Baltimore, Maryland. At the show, creators mingle with fans, drinking beer, talking about anything that comes to mind, and listening as some of the guests of the show get up and do readings/presentations from their work.
For those who don't live in the Batlimore area, Atomic Books is arguably the most indie-comics friendly bookstore I've ever met. They not only carry the usual suspects (Fantagraphics, D&Q, Top Shelf), but also have a special spinner rack set up for mini-comics. You can go there and get the latest from Retrofit or Oily, but also locally produced mini-comics and even ones from folks ranging across the spectrum, like Liz Prince or Noah Van Sciver. It's really an amazing store, and a must-visit if you are in the area.
Those coming in for SPX who are able to make it Friday night owe it to themselves to make the trip up the interstate and attend. Peter Bagge, who has worked for everyone from DC to D&Q, will be there at 6pm to sign books. There will also be readings from Michael Kupperman (a personal favorite of mine), Sam Henderson of Magic Whistle, T. Edward Bak, Anya Davidson, David Plunkert, Brian Ralph, and Frank Santoro.
It's a relaxed atmosphere, with everyone feeling like they are on an equal footing, just hanging out and talking about whatever comes to mind after applauding for the readers. You can bee a mini-comics pro, a rookie, or just a fan, and as long as you enjoy a good beer and a VERY CROWDED SPACE, you'll have an awesome time.
Be sure to buy a book or two while you're there, as well. Atomic not only sells comics, it had a great selection of prose, often of the quirky variety you might not find elsewhere. I hope to see you there!