SPX And What We Did There
So now we are home from the Small Press Expo, and it was pretty amazing. We decided to write our con report together so that you will get the full real-life stereo effect of us interrupting, contradicting, and arguing with each other.
Only read this if your are interested in the minutiae of our lives!!! TOTALLY BORING.
Elo: SPX is our one big con, so we’ve been prepping for it like mad for literally the past three months. It took some work to convince Drew that he cold NOT draw 60 pages of Set To Sea in half as many days, but thankfully he decided to work on Blar instead. I myself ripped my heart out getting The Beast Mother done on time for Fox Kit (19 pages in 40 days).
What our table looked like! That’s Eleanor behind the table, with a little bit of Michele to the left.
Drew: Despite our best intentions, Eleanor and I ended up working on stuff till the very last minute yet again. The special paper we ordered for the Blar covers ended up coming in first a day late, and then cut to the wrong size. We finally got the right paper Thursday morning, ran it out to Kinko’s where it promptly jammed the copier, ran back home to run through the laser printer, got halfway out to Kinko’s again before realizing I had forgotten to print the inside of the cover, and then came back home where Eleanor and I had to gently push the paper through the laser printer, due to it acquiring a slight curve from the first trip through that the paper feeder didn’t like. Then, finally, out to Kinko’s yet again to get it cut, and on the road at 12:30, practically buzzing with Rockstar energy drinks.
The rest of the our block – that’s Chris, Matt, and Joey behind the table (in that order)
Elo: Meanwhile David Youngblood, the man behind the Fox Kit anthology (where The Beast Mother was supposed to be printed), was the victim of a disgruntled airline worker who sent a whole planes worth of luggage all over the US. So, no Fox Kit, which was going to be my only new thing at the show!!! Without it I looked totally lazy even though I’ve been working like a crazy person all year!
Drew: This seemed to be the SPX for mis-shipped items. I heard about a good half-dozen different books or posters that ended up missing for the show. Anyway, we got to D.C. past ten, and went straight to Eleanor’s aunt and uncle’s house, about 20 minutes away from Bethesda in an imposingly new & ritzy Rockville housing development. Eleanor’s aunt & uncle were both ridiculously welcoming and generous, especially to two bums like us who would’ve been happy sleeping on the floor. Anyway, we decided to head to the Holiday Inn to see what was shaking on Thursday night. We found our Savannah friends Joey, Michele, David Yoder and the recently expatriated (read: he’s living in Vermont) Chris Wright, who had already polished off half a bottle of rum and was stewing about David Youngblood and the status of Fox Kit.
The view from our table, looking left. Our neighbors seemed pretty cool.
Elo: Which Chris is also in. Anyway despite (or maybe because of) being such a great artist Chris can be pretty intense when sloshed, so when Youngblood showed up we spent a good amount of time peeling Chris’s fingers off of his throat. (Not a joke.) Friday was the first day and of course I was thinking “Why was I even looking forward to this horrible nightmare?” Because it was stressful etc. We had a good set up this year, though. We shared two tables with our friends Joey, David, Hunter, Chris Wright, and Chris’s friend Matt. Also the incontestable Michele did these great tiny puzzles for our gumball machine!
The view from our table, looking right. The glowing, disembodied head of Joey Weiser floats in the foreground.
Drew: We spent a couple hours that night assembling the Blar components into finished books, so we we ended up trucking off to the con with only a few hours sleep. What was a twenty minute drive late last night, turns into a 45 minute drive in the morning traffic. And after we get parked (at the nearby parking garage, which was approximately 75% cheaper than the ridiculous hotel valet parking they’ve instituted since last con), and start setting up, we realize we forgot the three bolts that hold together our Little House standee. Eleanor tried to convince me to drive back to her uncle’s house for them, but using my natural ingenuity, I found a nearby Asian convenience store that happened to sell a small assortment of bolts (on only my second try, too!) So near-disaster was averted.
Chris and Matt looking pensive.
Elo: I’m (completely unfairly) crabbing at Drew, and there’s so many people, and the room is so big. But we did get to see Max for the first time in a couple years! That was cool even though he booked it after about 2.5 seconds.
Drew: He did manage to get his Olde English 40oz signed by Harvey Pekar before he went, though. The first day was pretty stagnant in terms of turnout, so I remembered to take a few pictures of our table and friends. which was good, because I completely forgot about the camera later on. That night we ended up eating dinner at Sala Thai with some of David Youngblood’s friends.
An unflattering picture of David Yoder.
Elo: Saturday went better, even though both of us were close to collapsing from exhaustion the whole time. We didn’t have much time to look at the other tables, though, which was probably for the best because we spent an insane amount of money as it was. We missed seeing a lot of people we wanted to, but we did get to say hello to some cool folks like Ed Brisson, Robyn Chapman, Kelli Nelson, Dan Zettwoch, Dean Trippe, Kevin Huizenga, Vanessa Davis, Hope Larson…
Drew: All of the Flight kids, a crew of Daily Grinders, Dave Roman, Jeffrey Rowland, Zack Soto, Alvin Buenaventura, Alec Longstreth… but we ended up being too intimidated to talk to Ben Jones or Harvey Pekar. I’m sure there’s tons more we’re forgetting, thus offending somebody out there. We sold out of all of the Blars we had assembled the night before, so I ended up crouching behind the table with a long-neck stapler and the paper cutter, desperately assembling more. At lunch time the lack of food and sleep started to get to me, so I made a bleary, seemingly endless trip to find the nearby Subway, and hit up the 7-11 for some more Rockstar energy drinks. Ah, Bethesda 7-11… you have saved my life on so many occasions.
Joey Weiser is enthused.
Elo: By the end of the con I was so exhausted that I started to hallucinate, so I missed seeing the Ignatz. I would have liked to have seen Alec Longstreth win best mini. (Alec’s beguiling Dovorak mini is single-handedly responsible for these last three sentences taking approximately 45 minutes to type while I try to learn what I now know is a better typing system. Be convinced!!!) But I did reconstitute in time for us to hang out a bit longer with Chris (and to have a tearful goodbye)…
The lovely Eleanor Davis.
Drew: And we completely slept through the picnic the next day (they did a good job of keeping the time and location of it secret, though.) That’s alright though, Eleanor’s Uncle Matt and Aunt Zoe treated us to a tapas dinner that evening. We passed around tiny plates of food and spent the evening talking about comics and art… It’s pretty rare to find “grown ups” who are interested in that sort of thing. When we got home they pressed bottles of fancy beers (Negra Modela, Oatmeal Stout, Heffenweizer) upon us, while Elo’s Uncle Matt showed us his collection of eastern European prints – exquisite, surreal depictions of religious and symbolic scenes. the linework was so tiny and perfect that it’s hard to fathom it being produced by human hands. Then he forced us to pick one out and take it! We couldn’t wriggle out of it.
Drew Weing with Beard Action.
Elo; Yeah my whole family is the hippest. So now we are home again and I still have a three page story about gangsters to do by monday. Sigh… it was an awesome weekend though!
Drew: We partied like rockstars.