THE EARTH WILL MOVE, but that’s not going to stop SPX. There was some worry about the Bethesda Marriott, the hotel and event center that plays host to the Small Press Expo, otherwise known as Camp Comics. We’d been warned that they’d been hit hard by the earthquake and that the damage might have been bad enough to split the con up over two floors. This wouldn’t have been the end of the world, but there was even talk that the bar would be out of commission. If you’ve been deprived of an SPX experience, know that the bar and balconies are the hub of what is essentially a sleep-away camp for cartoonists. There’s plenty going on in the individual cabins, but you need the big campfire scene. A large cheer to all the Marriott folks for getting the job done and for quelling our qualms in advance. Apparently, Marriot Silver Elite status has its privileges, though we have no idea what that even means.
In addition to the earthquake, there was that whole hurricane thing. We were fine here in New York. Although we were disappointed that our local karaoke bar was closed, others had it even worse. In fact, the CCS Schulz Library was battered by a shipping container that went floating along the White River. While this was yet another weather-related comics catastrophe, the upshot of this story was pretty inspiring. Loads of volunteers saved every last book and mini. You can get more of the story here and you can donate to the library here.
If you want further evidence of comics people being the best people you can find, take a look at these Philip K. Dick cover illustrations here. Guided by Floating World Comics out in Portland, the proceeds from the sale of these guys (and two days’ worth of Floating World’s sales) will be headed toward paying off Dylan Williams’ medical bills. It’s amazing how easily bad news can turn into inspiration. We may be a silly bunch, but comics people should be proud.
Speaking of pride, we are sad to say that Mike Dawson was too shy to don his Boy Scout uniform for the Troop 142 release party at Bergen Street Comics. We also sold out of a couple dozen copies of Troop 142 in about as many minutes. That’s what we all get for being modest! However, we had a blast selling comics to people in an actual comics shop, which we haven’t had a chance to do in a while. Beyond our own books, we sold copies of Bulletproof Coffin, Wonton Soup, Ganges, Box Office Poison, the Incal and Zegas, to name a few. We even heard back from one reader that he had fallen in love with Stephen Gaedel (on page 354 of Box Office Poison, to be specific) and that Glenn Ganges had reduced him to tears.
The crowd included a chunk of the Dawson family who had previously appeared in Freddie & Me and who were nice enough to sign copies of the book. We got to talk to Tucker Stone about the new(ish) DC Comics, which would appear to be both a guaranteed flop and a huge success. We met Matt Seneca, who didn’t seem quite as bloody-minded as his writing sometimes suggests. We met Michel Fiffe and picked up a Zegas or two of our own. We got to chat with MK Reed, Matt Madden, Jessica Abel and Dean Haspiel. It was largely packed with people hanging out until about midnight. Several very lucky customers went home with Troop 142 patches.
The rest of the patches will be dispersed at SPX, where we will have Troop 142 in much larger quantities. We will be missing Edie Fake, who is too kind and has to cover for his Quimby’s co-worker while that guy is off at SPX. Edie has not forgotten you SPX folks. In celebration of its Ignatz Award nomination for Outstanding Mini-Comic, there will be a new batch of Gaylord Phoenix 5 on hand for SPX. This is a beautiful, handmade thing that was originally produced in very limited numbers for the NY Art Book Fair (Edie will be at that one, if you’re around). To celebrate Gaylord Phoenix‘s nomination for Outstanding Graphic Novel and to offer proof that he is worthy of the title of Outstanding Artist, Edie’s also made a five-layered silkscreen print. There’s only going to be 25 of them and they will look something like this. SPX is likely to be your only shot at picking up Edie’s print, Gaylord Phoenix 5 and a Troop 142 patch. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. If you’re not going to be there, check out Mike’s Troop 142 trailer. That ought to tide you over until the book makes it way to you.
Surely, you’ve been sweating out your voting choices for the Ignatz Awards, but we’re here to make it easy. Vote for Gaylord Phoenix 5 for Outstanding Mini-Comic! Vote for Gaylord Phoenix for Outstanding Graphic Novel! Vote for I Will Bite You! for Outstanding Anthology or Collection! As for Outstanding Artist, you really only have two options in Joseph Lambert or Edie Fake. Don’t look at us. You’re on your own with that one.
See you at the show! We’ll be back to re-cap on the other side.
Barry and Leon
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We're back on our Scuttlebutt blog with our Comic Arts Brooklyn report, and our Brooklyn Ale House party report and our Grumpy Bert show report and our year-end report and a tiny, little look ahead to next year. CAB is, for us and lots of other comics people, the start of the holiday season, so we're a little Auld Lang Syne-ish about the show. There were hiccups this time around, and no Cartoon House (see the post for an explanation of that) but CAB still has the best exhibitors at any show, making Brooklyn proud. Speaking of heart-warming, many thanks to the folks at Grumpy Bert. Someone came all the way from Philadelphia just to see Theo and the brand new second book of his Understanding Monster trilogy. That's the kind of amazing that made 2014 our best year ever. We owe everyone a big thank you for reading our books and, really, for reading. You guys are the best. Normally, in our last post of the year, we babble about all the new stuff coming your way. We can't do that anymore. We're joining the likes of Koyama Press and Uncivilized Books and Nobrow at the good distributorship, Consortium. Sure, that's business stuff, but it's a big deal for Secret Acres. Still, we did manage to sneak at least one 2015 comic into this final blathering. Read on...
Comic Arts Brooklyn is today! I'll be signing at the Secret Secret Acres table!
Join us and Theo Ellsworth and everybody else tonight for a gallery show and some Comic Arts Brookyln pre-gaming at Brooklyn’s own Grumpy Bert! You can beat the CAB crowd to the punch and get your very own signed and sketched copy of Theo’s latest, the Understanding Monster Book Two. Book Two picks up where Book One left off, following Pharoah Tellitome, Inspector Gimble, Turtletree, Master Sponko and Minnow on their collective quest to awaken Izadore and re-establish his identity and memory. Get to Grump Bert early enough and you can really lord it over folks: the first ten to arrive get a limited edition Theo print made just for tonight’s show. Of course, there will be free beer and bubbly, too. What more is there to life?