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Oct
13

SPX 2007 – Day 1

Yesterday, Friday the 12th, began the first day of SPX in Bethesda, MD. For Adam Casey and me, traveling from North Carolina, it unfortunately got rolling a bit late as (predictably) our progress toward the Bethesda North Marriot and Convention Center ground to a near-halt as we neared the metropolitan D.C. area. After a grueling 45 minutes of fighting beltway traffic (traffic in general being something us small town types are generally unaccustomed to, and thus complain about more profusely) we finally rolled into the Marriot parking lot at about 3:15—a good hour and a half after the show began.

I’d figured arriving a bit late wouldn’t be a big deal, since generally Friday afternoons can be pretty slow at SPX. In this I was wrong… The place was uncharacteristically packed when we wandered in and my table remained busy enough that it took me nearly an hour to get my wares properly set up. More than one person at our table block remarked that this was the busiest SPX Friday they’d experienced.

And sales? My verdict is: If I had anything to sell, I would’ve sold it. With the Midnight Sun graphic novel coming out in December, I wasn’t really looking to sell the early “floppy” issues of the series, since anyone who liked the story would then have to buy the GN containing in part the same material in a few weeks. I wound up selling sets of the first three issues for a buck per set, and just writing it off as a promotional endeavor. I had maybe ten such sets and sold them all in the first couple of hours I was at my table. So far other folks seem to be reporting good sales anecdotally.

With a gazillion books debuting from tons of publishers it’s going to be a tough call on what turns out to be this year’s “buzz book.” Dark Horse’s The Trial of Colonel Sweeto, the hardback collection of Perry Bible Fellowship strips, seems to be a early contender.

The show stayed open until 8:00 on Friday, which seems like maybe an hour longer than last time. If so, it’s a good idea I think, given that the floor was pretty packed still at eight when they powers that be started giving everyone the boot.

One of the odd features of the host hotel is a curious paucity of elevators, which last year resulted in a truly unpleasant pileup of people at the one bank of elevators right at the end of the show. I figured I’d avoid this entirely by just knocking back a beer or two while the lemming-like pileup died down. Beer in the hotel bar was expensive but cold and provided some much-needed down time. I hung out with Chris Reilly, James and Kirsten from Isotope Comics, Whitney Matheson from USA Today, Dustin Harbin from Heroes Con, and a few other assorted folks for a bit then grabbed a quick bite to eat from among the few restaurants within walking range.

The post-Expo hoopla downstairs was curiously unpopulated, with (I’m guessing) most folks being unaware of it until word of mouth spread to the bar upstairs. Eventually, J. Chris Campbell, Rob Ullman, the Adhouse crew and some other folks wandered down and things picked up. Last call at midnight dispersed folks back to various hotel rooms for further revelry.

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(SPX setting up pre-opening Saturday Morning)

 

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