This was the first SPX I’ve tabled at in a good long time and while I certainly can’t complain about sales so steady I couldn’t get away from my table, I’m afraid that situation doesn’t make for a very exciting con report. But here goes…
First and foremost: SPX 2015 was the debut of Oyster War! How did it go? In short: I took a ton of books–far more than I imagined I’d sell–and sold every single one. Huzzah! More on that later, though.
Backing up a bit, I hit the road on Friday morning so I could rendezvous with some fine Richmond VA cartoonists: Rob Ullman and Jared Cullum. We stuffed Rob’s Jeep SUV about as full of comics and luggage as I can imagine. I felt pretty bad about taking up far more than my fair share of the available space with seven giant boxes of Oyster War (that’s 72 books) because I didn’t imagine I’d sell half of them, but at least I volunteered to sit in what was left of the back seat for the drive up to Bethesda.
I managed to behave somewhat responsibly on Friday night, getting to bed at a reasonable hour so I could get up early enough to grab a bit of exercise in the hotel gym then get my table in gear. I figured I wouldn’t table again until whatever book I do next comes out (which at the rate I work could be some time), so I shelled out for a full six foot table. I thought I’d have room for some originals, but my books and minis pretty much filled it up:
Hey, check out that fancy sign! Saturday was steady start-to-finish and by mid-afternoon was kinda cray-cray. I didn’t think I’d be able to get to any panels and indeed I didn’t–not even this nonexistent one that I made up:
Can’t believe I missed #spx2015 panel that was a MMA match b/t Scott McCloud and Dylan Horrocks to decide the correct definition of comics.
— Ben Towle (@ben_towle) September 19, 2015
Andrew Neal was wandering the floor and he gave me one of his new minis: I was right next to the big Cartozia Tales table and the Cartozia folks gave me a copy of the new issue. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but right off the bat I was blown away by the Tom Motley story, which is done in the style of Gustave Verbeek’s Upside-Downs comics–meaning: each panel is read first right side up, then upside down. Like this: As far as I could tell, the only person dressed up at SPX was this lone furry: JP Coovert had a relatively recent mini out, which he was kind enough to give me: I bought the new issue of King Cat, which is all about the death of Maisie the cat. I foolishly started reading it on the floor but had to stop because I was about to burst into tears. I still haven’t read the end of it. I picked up Joey Weiser’s new mini as well: My favorite purchase I just happened upon was Gigant by Rune Ryberg (published by Adhouse). I was reading some comics news sites over Sunday morning coffee and saw an article on the book… and it just so happened that Rune Ryberg was at SPX. This book is really gorgeous: Rune had traveled to SPX all the way from Denmark, but apparently invulnerable to jet lag, he did this killer sketch for me:
My one non-comics purchase was this purse/messenger bag for my daughter. What does the fox say, anyway?
SPX has changed a lot in the years since I first started attending back in the old hotel down the Pike in Bethesda proper. But there’s one thing that’s remained relatively constant: the Saturday night chocolate fountain.
Craig Fisher had come to SPX with students from his graphic novels class and after mentioning the fountain to them, I was made to seek it out Holy Grail-style. (For future reference: it’s now upstairs near the exhibitor floor rather than downstairs.) The chocolate fountain was the subject of much discussion both in person and online Saturday night.
GUYS, THINK OF HOW MUCH HUMAN DANDER AND SKIN FLAKES ARE FLOWING THROUGH THAT SPX CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN
— Brittney Sabo (@BrittneySabo) September 20, 2015
SPX protip: Don’t ever think about that. Seriously.
Anyway… SPX was a fantastic show for me in the sense of just generally being a blast (it’s always fabulous in this respect) but it was an unprecedented show for me sales-wise. I brought my last fifteen copies of Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean with me and sold the last one Sunday afternoon. I’d sold around forty-five copies of Oyster War by the end of Saturday and I sold through the remaining twenty-seven by late afternoon Sunday. I even sold the pawed-through sample copy for $10 to someone who’d come looking for a book after I’d sold out. Needless to say, big thanks to everyone who bought a copy! I worked hard on that book and I hope you dig it.
I had nothing left to sell by five on Sunday so I packed up and spent the last hour or so of the show in the hotel bar reading comics. Sacred Heart is great, by the way!
What did I do with my new-found comics wealth, you ask? I was in need of some socks this week, but instead of buying a sixer of my usual crappy Walmart socks, I shelled out for some fancy 95% cotton Wigwam King Cotton socks. OUT OF THE WAY, YOU SWINE! A CARTOONIST IS COMING!