Priorities are priorities, and my top goals of SPACE 2022 were to 1. Finally meet lots of small press acquaintances in person, some after over 30 years; 2. Introduce a lot of people to Phoenix Productions books and 3. Have some quality time with my daughter. Not necessarily in that order. And on all three counts, it was Mission Accomplished.
But going to a show, especially a self-publisher show like SPACE (as opposed to a sea of longboxes), means that you also hope to leave with a little more creative material than you arrived with. In some cases, that means buying books from other exhibitors. In others, it means trading. Personally, I like the act of a small press comic trade. There’s an inherent respect for each other in the act of trading, a sign of friendship that says, “I’d rather share your creativity instead taking your money.”
So here’s my haul. If memory serves correct, I traded for roughly half of the books and bought the rest. There were a couple of times where we may as well have traded as we bought each other’s books at the same price. But all in all, looks like a nice pile of self-published reading material. Check it out!
I believe that the first book I acquired was Ben Wright-Heuman’s A Mother’s Love. Ben and I figured out that we live in the same town, which is pretty cool!
This collection of strips about cosplay life is pretty funny.
A cool reflection on a favorite song. Ben has quite an artistic range.
Joseph Morris sent me Quixote Coyote #1 as his United Fanzine Organization application book, so I was excited to get up to date with the storyline I already had.
My next door neighbor, exhibitor-wise, was Justin Madson from Wisconsin. I swear I saw this book somewhere before – probably on a comic preorder site or maybe on social media, but the dystopian genre is something that appeals to me. (Even before COVID! Must be my Gen-X upbringing.) Madson takes a scary subject – toxic air – and humanizes it, which works quite well.
Dayton’s Chris Vickers and I had a big trade, landing these three hero books in my pile. The art is really good, and I look forward to seeing if the story matches up.
Another exhibitor neighbor, Seattle-ite Arthur Moxley Stoermer was displaying these amazing hardcover books made from reclaimed brown paper bags and corrugated cardboard. Seems weird, I know, but they were really well done. This book was his combination of book making instructions and other cartoons.
The prolific Michael Neno had Odysseus Rex for sale, and its Liefeld/Image-inspired art made it a must-get. Michael also threw in an actual copy of The Odyssey to go with the minicomic!
James Coats – who searched me out when he learned that I had new Tony Lorenz art (Tony’s a celebrity in small press circles due to his Power Comics mentions) – had this impressive Ninja magazine.
Some really nice sketchwork inside this one.
Every purchase from James was accompanied by a Geoff Darrow homage samurai mini-poster. Nice touch (says the guy who handed out free posters)!
Maryanne Rose Papke handed out this free minicomic that used a folding and cutting format that I have never seen before.
The whole interaction was awkward – I could tell she was talented from a quick perusal of the book – as I needed to get back to my daughter. I wish I had time to stop and talk to her. Probably would have picked up more of her work.
My only professionally published purchase of the show, sold by local comic shop and show sponsor The Laughing Ogre. We had a great conversation about using the comics medium to tell stories with some weight – something that appeals to me as indicated by HEROES NOW: PATRIOT and other material on the way.
And I’ve wanted to get some Guy Deslisle material for a while, having stupidly passed on his books when they were offered on my preorder site.
Show organizer Bob Corby has a bunch of self-published minicomics of his own, this one collecting a number of vignettes.
Notice how this cover was hand-stamped from a custom-made stamp press.
This book, Stars, uses the same cover printing method but then adds another color.
Interior-wise, I love how he superimposes a cartoon character over his own rendition of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”.
An autobiographical piece, poignant.
Bob told me these were his three most popular books, and I can see why.
Steven Hager had maybe 15-20 of these Dutchy Digests, where we has playful fun with the Amish/Mennonite lifestyle. Having literally worked in Amish Country in Indiana, I can tell you the stuff rings true. It’s a stritch! If Steven comes back to SPACE, I’ll definitely be grabbing more.
Tim Fuller from Cincinnati was the beneficiary of my biggest purchase of the show. This was a story that he drew for Charlton Bullseye just as Charlton was failing. He kept the art, recolored it and self-published the stories all these years later!
As a child of the 70’s, I find this cover-to-cover spoof of TV Guide hysterical. All the way down to the ads, everything in the book makes you at least crack a smile if not laugh out loud.
The big one – a collection of six issues of Sham Comics. Tim Fuller apparently takes Golden Age books now in the public domain and rescripts/reletters them with laugh out loud results. The man is a talent, and the book is immaculately put together.
David Caldwell came up from Tennessee and was my exhibitor neighbor. This is a collection of his minicomics from earlier in the 2000’s.
Last but not least, the SPACE program! While containing all the logistical info anyone could want (exhibitor list, room layout, etc.), there also were easily half a dozen one-page strips. Plus…
How could I not mention the Phoenix Productions ad in the program! Many thanks to Larned Justin for the kind quote. I wish I was more confident that HEROES NOW #1 would have been finished in time for the show, but the submission cutoff was early and there were a couple things in the air. I was already taking a risk in saying HOLOGRAM #5 was going to be ready!
A nice haul? Definitely. A giant haul? Not when considering the volume of material available. I need to figure out how to balance the exhibitor and customer thing better next time. So much creativity on display!