Destroy All Monsters

ALL THE MONSTERS descend on comics island this weekend. No one can resist the siren call to the Small Press Expo. The artist headcount officially crept over 500, with nowhere to go. SPX makes the most of one-stop shopping, keeping everyone together because everything is on site. So much for suburban sprawl. Speaking of large, indoor gatherings, the SPX gang kept the safety on for all the big guns, with everyone tested, vaxxed and masked, with a max occupancy of two per table. At least we can breathe a little easier after seeing some seriously stupid bullshit going on at comics shows. Like SPX, Secret Acres lives to serve our comics community, and we are proud of our people at MoCCA, at TCAF and SPX for sparing us the super spreader part of our main events.



The main event at the Secret Acres tables took a decade to make. Adam Griffths brings Washington White home to the District (or pretty close, anyway). More than a few of you got lucky and picked yours up early. After picking up the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo’s Cupcake Award and MoCCA’s Best of Show, Washington White goes super spreader at SPX ahead of going viral everywhere. The viral metaphor fits the world of Washington White, where the President authorizes covert testing of a mind-control disease, a greedy developer is gentrifying the universe within the disease, and the black owner of a local tabloid, Washington White, threatens to expose the corruption—because his evil, white tycoon dad is the one behind it. If it sounds to you like it’s ripped from the headlines, you’re right. Washington White is also the true story of Adam Griffiths’ grandmother, Peggy Griffiths, a lawyer for the U.S. Civil Service Commission’s Appeals Review Board, best known for winning a landmark bias lawsuit against the federal government in 1977 for wrongfully being denied a promotion. Does this count as futurism?



The other part of our two-top table duo takes the shape of none other than Zak Sally. Speaking of a decade in the making, Recidivist IV returns to IRL, printed in a six-color, metallic process, with some text and figures are only visible in light, some only in shadow (and there’s a bunch of hand-stamped pages, too, because we get it right, dammit). This comic literally makes you wrestle with it, but form follows function. Part resignation letter, part manifesto, the stories in here comprise a medium-defying visual experience of the freedom in obscurity. As old pal Chris Mautner puts it, Recidivist IV “rewards you with its tightrope act as the reading experience and the content cohere into a breathtaking whole.” Buckle up!



Where’s everybody else, you ask? This SPX, the Secret Acres gang’s omnipresence constitutes a veritable mini-fest of its own. The satellite show includes the “Trans Identities in Fantasy and Fictional Storytelling” panel, moderated by they who brought you Flocks, our very own L. Nichols. Sean Knickerbocker, of Rust Belt fame, totes the new issue of Rust Belt Review, which even we need to catch up with. Supergenius Keren Katz grabbed a pair of Ignatz Award nominations for Outstanding Series and Outstanding Story with her issue of Ley Lines, co-published by the aforementioned L. Nichols. Palefire powerhouse MK Reed moved out of the Secret Acres table and got her own place. They grow up so fast. Finally, on a related note, it appears Chris Pitzer and AdHouse Books are moving on. If Chris actually makes good on his threat to bounce forever, you kind of have to come to the show.

If you require more of an invitation, we got nothing for you. How much do you people need, anyway? If you skip school, you can come right back here for the Cliffs Notes Scuttlebutt on all things SPX, possibly a tearful goodbye to Mr. Pitzer, plus a sneak peek at next year. See you in a few…

Your Pal,


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