Though I wasn't able to make it the first year due to personal issues, I had an awesome time when I went last year, as I noted in this con report. A combination of a few bigger names (Steranko was the special guest in 2013) along with a ton of indie creators and publishers from around the Philadelphia/New York area, it actually did a great job of complementing the Small Press Expo, not copying it. Sure, a few folks were the same, but I also found plenty of people I hadn't come across yet, selecting some new comics to try and add to my ever-growing roster of indie creators that I follow.
This year looks to be just as good, if not better than their last show. I really wish I could make it, but as with SPX, going to shows on the other side of the country is probably out of the question, at least for now. Still, if you live within a few hours drive or bus ride from Philly and are into the kinds of comics that we feature here on Panel Patter, then you definitely need to make plans to go. The show is free, with a suggested donation.
Need convincing or want some help on who to see at the show? Here are some of the people I'd be looking for if I were going. All links go to profiles of the creators written up by Locust Moon, which really saves me some time (thanks gang):
- Alisa Harris's collection of cat comics, Counter Attack, should be available at the show, She also has other minis available, too.
- Bill Roundy has moved more from autobio work and short, funny minis to being the guy who can tell you where best to get a drink in New York City. Either way, he's got a great eye for detail and is a lot of fun just to talk to.
- Bill Sienkiewicz has evolved into one of the most distinctive creators in all of comics, using a combination of realism and extreme abstraction in a way no one else can match. If you're old, you may remember his early 80s Marvel Covers, which set a bar that others are still reaching for.
- Brian JL Glass is the writer of Mice Templar and Furious, among other projects.
- Carey Pietsch is one of the Dirty Diamonds crew, and does amazing work with watercolors. She was recently featured on Panel Patter in an interview by Whit Taylor.
- Cathy G. Johnston was an Ignatz nominee this year and is one of the newest creators I've started following. She, like Carey, also works well in the area of watercolors.
- Cody Pikrodt is another person to have an interview on Panel Patter, this time by Rob Kirby. He runs a small publishing line (Ray Ray) and has his own series of mini-comics.
- Farel Dalrymple is part of Portland-based Study Group, and that's where I think I first ran into his work, which also features watercolors. He's a creator on the rise, so make sure you check him out now, before he explodes in popularity.
- Jamie Tanner created The Aviary from AdHouse Books, one of the strangest comics I've ever read. If you like your stuff on the tightly drawn but weird side, look him up.
- Kelly Phillips is another of the Dirty Diamonds, and has started a new mini-series about her time running a Weird Al fansite. So yeah, obviously, she's a person of interest to me!
- Nobrow Press is a small publisher with a line of great comics that are not to be missed.
- Pat Aulisio is a comics creator in his own right and also publishes via subscription as Yeah Dude. He'll do everything from abstract work from stoner jokes, sometimes in the same comic.
- Paul Pope is doing an ongoing series of books about Battling Boy, from First Second. I loved both that have come out so far, as well as his oldie but goodie, Batman: Year 100. Battling Boy was one of the best-received books in 2013.
- Rafer Roberts is a long time friend of mine, and has been getting his well-deserved due by appearing in all of the Valiant 25th issue specials. What you must get from him at the show is Nightmare the Rat, about a creature from a Laurel and Hardy film who steals teeth.
- Retrofit Comics really got the subscription service for mini-comics idea on the map, even though I know others were doing it, too. Representing them will be co-publisher (and Big Time Star) Box Brown along with Josh Bayer. Box's Andre the Giant was critically acclaimed, but my favorite work of his are when he gets a bit more abstract and uses his art style in very geometric ways. Meanwhile, Josh Bayer taught me not to dismiss comics in the raw style, between his anthologies and work like Raw Power and Theth. This is a must-visit stop when you go to the show.
- Tom Sioli is the man best able to fill Jack Kirby's shoes, and if you ever wondered what the King might look like doing Transformers and J.I. Joe, look no further than Tom's newest mini-series from IDW. He'll also have Godland, 8-Opus, and plenty of other great, Kirby-infused stories.
- Whit Taylor is the Ignatz-nominated creator of The Anthropologist as well as the editor of the new collection, Sub Cultures. I hear she writes for an indie comics website, too. Can't think of the name...