SPX Spotlight 2014 is here!

It's hard to believe, but we're now only a month away from one of the best comics conventions held every year, the Small Press Expo!

While I am sad this will be the first SPX I've missed since attending for the first time in 2008, I am so happy for all my friends in the comics community and for all the fans (new and old) who will gather around in Bethesda, Maryland to pick up copies of everything from a person's first mini to a veteran's latest efforts to amazing collections from Fantagraphics, Top Shelf, Alternative Comics, and many, many more.

Last year's SPX saw the show grow to take up the entire upstairs space, displacing the confused wedding parties and beauty contests that often got stuck up against us crazy creative types. With great size comes great responsibility, and SPX is acting accordingly, making a few changes to how it handled tabling this year and also increasingly the price of admission slightly.

The guest list is still as solid as ever, and those who have a strong love for the lamented alt-weeklies will find many reasons to go to the show, as that is the focus of this, the 20th year. Naturally, there are plenty of other special guests, including long-time Panel Patter favorite Box Brown, who has exploded with his Andre the Giant bio-comic. You'll also get to see Tom Tomorrow, Lynda Barry, Jen Sorensen, and Brandon Graham, among others in the special guest slots.

But the biggest part of SPX for me (and it should be for you, too) is getting to meet/visit/experience the hundreds of folks who table at SPX. Whether they're in the debut group or long-time show vets such as the gang from the DC Conspiracy or upscale manga/graphic novel publisher Fanfare/Ponent Mon, the real reason to go to SPX is not the best-known guests (which is cool), the often-intellectual panels (which are stellar), or the chocolate fountain that's part of the Ignatz Ceremony--it's buying mini-comics and graphic novels from people who pour their heart and soul into every page.

Like SPX, Panel Patter has also changed a bit. In the past, most of the coverage was by me, with some help from Erica and Sarah. This year, however, while I'll still be taking a lead role, there will be SPX Spotlights from new team member Guy Thomas, along with Whit Taylor, James Kaplan, and of course Erica Satifka, who beat me at Ascension and now gets to cover Farel Dalrymple instead of me!

In addition, in my absence, Guy will be covering the show itself for the blog, probably doing a better job of it than me, because my general reaction to SPX is like a seven year old at Christmas, and I tend to always miss something.

So please keep an eye on Panel Patter for what I am going to immodestly say is arguably the most comprehensive pre-show coverage for the Small Press Expo anywhere around. You can keep track of it by using the SPX Spotlight tag.

The Small Press Expo will be held September 13th and 14th, 2014, at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center. Hope you'll be there!