August 27, 2017

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Who's Got the SPX Spotlight? We do! 2017 Edition is a Go!



Hey look, we've managed to get almost to September of 2017, the year that's bound and determined to be as horrible to everyone I love as possible, thank to politics in both the United States and abroad! I'm so happy you're reading this, I'm so happy to still be here, and as long as I'm here, I'll both struggle to make the world a better place--and to promote good comics!

No one can live by just anger alone--we need a way to recharge, and comics is part of how I do that. If you're a Panel Patter reader, I bet that's true of you as well. Even if it's reading the amazing comics at The Nib, which are political as hell, it's still a great way to remind yourself that even in a shitty world, there are good things.

And one of the best of those good things is the Small Press Expo, or SPX. It's the show that changed how I read comics forever, starting with comics from Joey Weiser and Sean T. Collins and Rafer Roberts, and progressing right though to publishers like Ad House and Koyama. It's where I bought my first Oni Press books. It's where I first learned to actually set a budget when attending a show.

It's honestly why Panel Patter exists, and I'm forever grateful for that.

For those who don't know, SPX is the premiere small press and indie comics show, and by this, we're referring to Fantagraphics on the high end of Small Press and indie as self-published work, whether it be minis or full length graphic novels. Someone like Valiant, which is indie by technical definition, would be unlikely to show up at SPX. It's really not that type of show. This is more for those who want to explore the side of comics that isn't going to get featured in most major articles.

In other words, it's the kind of comics that are Panel Patter's bread and butter. And if you're here, probably yours as well.

Located in Bethesda, Maryland, the show will be held September 16th and 17th, at their usual location of the Marriott North, which is not too far off a Metro line, if you're able to commute. It's from 11-7 on Saturday and noon to 6 on Sunday, because people need to sleep in from the Ignatz Awards Ceremony, which is voted on at the show and announced on Saturday night.

There will be a ton of programming, and I encourage you to sit down and listen to people discuss comics, as it will be some of the best paneling you'll see anywhere. But really, SPX for me will always be about finding the latest comics from old friends and discovering new work from people I've never heard of before. The act of browsing the aisles and picking up material that might just be a future star's first mini (we still have one from Kate Beaton, which we got in a zine trade!) is something that SPX provides that's really special to me. There's almost 700 people in the list this year!

Sadly, I can't make the cross country trip--San Diego was my big thing this year--but we are hoping to have a member of the team on site this year, returning to the show to provide extra coverage. Regardless, over the next three weeks, we'll highlight some of the creators we think are must-sees at SPX this year, both old friends and new.

I don't like to brag too often, but this Eisner nominated site has for many years done all we can to provide one of our favorite shows with as much coverage as possible, and I don't think anyone else does it quite like we do. You can see it all (both past and current) using our SPX Spotlight tag.

If you live within a 4-5 hour drive of SPX, you owe it to yourself to go. Odds are, you'll make that trek, year after year, just like I did--and hope to do again someday. Tell everyone Panel Patter sent you!