There is no better feeling than setting up a table of comics within spitting distance of our nation’s capitol. Just think: President Obama could waltz into the Marriott Bethesda North Hotel & Conference Center and see my work! The chances of this happening were small (and in fact it did not happen) but were much greater than at any other show I have ever exhibited at.
I was able to stop by the Prez’ house on my way out of town. Barack was not in (I tried knocking) but I did get to see the Presidential Beehive, so nobody can say I went away empty handed. My hands were full of honey, which is okay because I paid for those bees.
This was my first SPX, and I could not have been happier with the outcome. Sure, I’d heard success stories from my friends. My tablemate Reid told me of the year he sold 40 foldy comics. Kenan, always the optimist, recalls how he had “a great show, which for anybody else would be considered a mediocre show.” Neil, never one to kiss and tell, considers SPX the best show that he doesn’t help organize. These stories aside, there is no better way to experience a good show than to actually be at a good show.
SPX helped me rack up a few new personal achievements. I sold a book to a man from the Department of the Interior and I was interviewed for National Geographic’s website. I had my second-best show saleswise after ComicCon. I got to meet one or two people who have been reading Falling Rock for quite some time. I’ve said this before: the best part of going to conventions is being able to chat in person with you, dear readers. It is the best. The best.
Chris Ware, the rare rockstar cartoonist, was one of the many, many excellent guests at SPX. Although I wasn’t able to attend his panel, I did run into him on the convention floor. He was incredibly nice and not at all the awkward misanthrope as portrayed in his comics. When I told him I was a big fan of his work, he smiled and thanked me, as though nobody had ever said this to him before. The awkwardness was all on my side of the conversation, dear readers. I did pull myself together enough to offer him a copy of Scenic Byways, which he took and presumably threw on the pile of mini comics he keeps in a barn on his sprawling estate.
The Ignatz Awards (for excellence in making comics nearly no one reads) happened Saturday night. They are named after Ignatz Mouse, and they are real bricks. It was such a good feeling to be surrounded by fellow cartoonists, recognizing the work of my peers. This show, more than any other, made me feel like I was a part of the comics community. I cannot overstate how good it feels to be lumped in with these dudes. It truly is a long way from showing my parents comics I drew in my sketchbook.
The most moving part of the Ignatz was the very first Gold Brick, awarded to Richard Thompson as a sort of lifetime achievement award. Richard has, among many other things, drawn Cul de Sac for the past five years. Tom Spurgeon said a few words about Richard’s amazing talent and his bravery (and good sense of humor) in the face of the evil forces of Parkinson’s Disease.
Let’s not end this post on such a weighty note. On my way out of DC, I finally saw my opportunity to show the world what I think of Ronald Reagan. At the Reagan Blah Blah Blah Building, I went inside and used the bathroom. I peed on Reagan!