SPX 2015 Recap

I left this year’s SPX feeling good about the world of comics and my place in it. Can’t say that’s a common post-con experience. This might be the #1 good vibes show.

I haven’t slept much since Friday night, so I’ll jump right to the highlights.

1. Women sweep the Ignatz for the first time ever
Women won in every category. Can you believe it? I was actually a juror this year. Most of this year’s jury (four out of five) are women. I have to believe this contributed to the high number of women on the ballot. And no one on the jury was a white male. I wonder if that’s a first too?
And what’s kind of awesome is that during the ceremony it didn’t even occur to me that only women were winning. I had to be told the next day. It’s a pretty great moment for women in comics, when something like this happens and it doesn’t even register as being unique.

2. Kilgore Books
I met Dan Stafford and Luke Janes, co-owners of Kilgore Books, and dropped a good chunk of change at their table. I’ve never been to their shop, but I’m a fan of their books (especially anything Noah Van Sciver or John Porcellino). I just learned that they’re selling the store to an employee, will carry on publishing (not unlike Bergen Street).

3. Nostalgia
I did the math and I’ve been going to this show for fifteen years. Well fourteen I guess, because it was cancelled on 9/11. Heck, I’ve been going so long that I remember when I couldn’t go because of 9/11! Don’t believe me? Here’s proof. I was a baby! (Photo via Jeff Mason.)
This year my roommates and I carpooled down to the show with my friend/landlord Nick Bertozzi and friend/not landlord Jason Little. I’ve been hanging out with these guys at convention for well over a decade.
Sorry to get mushy, but it’s friendships fostered at conventions like SPX that’s kept in this crazy world of comics for so long. I’m getting older and I have to admit I’m looking back.

Not to suggest SPX is a lovefest for all involved. Communities like this are near-utopic when you’re on the inside, but watching from the outside is rough. (I’ve been there too.) I know there are people who don’t feel a sense of belonging at SPX. (I’d guess, those who are unable to get a table year after year). I’d be interested in hearing these voices too.

But let’s get to the fun part: pictures.

Chuck Forsman and Melissa Mendes of Oily. Lots of good stuff (Revenger, The Weight, the Lou book) on the horizon for both of them.

Dan Stafford and Luke Janes of Kilgore Books

spx15_6s2D Cloud gang: Melissa Carraher (publicist) in the back, author Sarah Ferrick, Raighne Hogan (publisher), and author Maggie Umber. 

One Percent Press: JP Coovert (publisher), Alexis Frederick-Frost (author), Stephen Floyd (publisher).

Week in Review: CAB, Nix Comics, Pyrite Press

CAB Poster Released
CAB2015Look at this sexy poster for CAB 2015. Special guest Dan Clowes! 

Nix Comics of Columbus, OH
By way of the Comics Reporter, I learned about a little publisher that looks like a micro-press to me. Nix Comics is run by Ken Eppstein out of Columbus. Tom Spurgeon describes him as am “ethical publisher” (he pays his authors, and could probably get away without doing so). Ken had Nix’s origin story drawn as a comic, which is a pretty great idea. (Though I could do without the panel where a man describing music to an ignorant girl.)

I’m interested in checking out Nix—I think the parallels between the small press and record store ownership is pretty interesting. But if I were to be 100% honest, the cover design on their books could use some work, and it’s a little hard to see past that.

Nix is currently doing a Kickstarter for its latest anthology. It’s a pretty fun concept: horror stories with garage and punk rock inspirations.

New Micro-Press: Pyrite Presspepperbreath

Bryce Gold just announced that he’s starting a new small publishing house called Pyrite Press. I’ve met Bryce through the New York community, but I don’t know much about him. It turns out he has worked in trade publishing and for a literary agency, and I’m curious how that experience will benefit a micro-press. His first project is a Digimon-themed anthology called Pepper Breath, which you can pre-order now. It looks pretty promising, though the $18 price might be a touch high for a 68-page book (even for full-color and perfect binding—perhaps it has art book qualities  that account for that).

I’m happy to have another small publisher in New York, and in my own neighborhood, even. If I remember correctly, Pyrite Press is the third micro-press in Ridgewood, Queens.


Week in Review: Dog City Press, Minicomic of the Month Club, Birdcage Bottom

Another Anthology from Dog City Presstumblr_nta5d1Lh6T1s64julo1_1280

Dog City Press is a collaborative of CCS graduates with a predilection for making exquisitely handcrafted comic anthologies. Their past three issues have consisted of screen printed box sets filled with minicomics. Dog City 4 will be a real-deal book, with a spine. And this is interesting: each story is a collaboration between two cartoonists. You can pre-order it here.

Monthly Minicomics from Australiatop

Smaller Comics is once again offering their Minicomic of the Month  Club. I subscribed last year, and I enjoyed the variety of material I received. They’re always a short read, but good. It’s $48 for the year if you live in the US—a bargain, if you ask me.

New Books from Birdcage Bottomunnamed
Birdcage Bottom Books is releasing three new books: Bangs and Beard Diary by  Melinda Tracy Boyce and Aaron Whitaker, Left Empty #1 by Jamie Vayda and Alan King, and Pyramid Scheme by Josh Burggraf and Victor Kerlow. Bangs and Beard Diary is on my list of SPX debuts to pick up. Looks cute!


Week in Review: Bergen Street, Tim Corrigan, Retrofit, and Domino

I’m trying something new: rather than write sporadic posts whenever I have a spare minute (which I have lass and lass of these days) I’m going to try to post a recap at the end of the week. This works better with my work schedule, and it’s more forgiving when I miss a news item by a day or two.

Bergen Street Comics Store to Close, Micro-Press Lives Onstore1Like many, I was surprised and bummed to hear that Bergen Street Comics is closing its doors. It’s one of the best comic shops in New York—in the country, really. It’s a classy shop with a great selection of work, big press and small. Bergen Street became the go-to New York shop for indie/arty comic events, and that’s what usually brought me to the neighborhood (Prospect Heights is not my usual stomping grounds).

Bergen Street also has a publishing arm, which thankfully is soldiering on. They’re part of a  trend among boutique shops—Desert Island, Floating World, and Secret Headquarters publish as well. Bergen Street’s signature title is Copra, and alternative type super hero comic that has garnered a lot of praise (I have to admit I’ve never read it, because alternative type super hero comics don’t float my boat). I’ll keep my eyes on Bergen Street Comics Press.

RIP Tim Corriganspce6I have to admit, I wasn’t aware of Tim Corrigan before hearing about his passing this week (Will Pfeifer did a nice write-up). But I want to learn more. Tim covered the small press in the early days of minicomics  through the pages of his zine Small Press Explosion. It seems like what he was doing in the 80s is similar to what I’m doing right now, and I’m surprised I’d never came across his zine before. I was able order an old issue on eBay (Mile High still has a few left.) I’ll share it here once it arrives.

New Releases from RetrofitCOVER_originalRetrofit announced that they will have four new debuts for SPX: Butter and Blood by Steven Weissman, Ikebana by Yumi Sakugawa, Big Planet Comics Blue (an anthology) and Bio-Whale by Ville Kallio (published by Peow! Studio). Butter and Blood and Ikebana are available for pre-order.

Domino Adds New Booksvanilla white interiorAustin English has added several new titles to the well-curated selection of unusual, hard-to-find, and beautiful books in his online store. Go take a look. Above is a spread from Vanilla White: Heat Rises by Jesi The Elder.

Revival House Press to Publish Mardou’s Sky in Stereo

cover_sky-WIP-2cI just learned that Revival House Press will be publishing Sky in Stereo by Mardou. I think this is a significant development for Revival House because (1)  to my knowledge, it’s their first graphic novel and (2) it might be their first “straight” comic—and by that, I just mean that publisher Dave Nuss tends towards comics that are a goofy, trippy, or somewhat bizarre. Sky in Stereo is a semi-autobiographical slice-of-life story, and I think Mardou is the publisher’s first female author, so this feels like a new direction for them. It’s good stuff, and I’m glad Dave will be publishing it. Because of the Alternative Comics Co-Op, getting a copy should be pretty easy (from Diamond, Amazon, etc.)

Micro-Press Yearbook 2014 Available for Order

(Sorry for the long absence. I’ve just returned from a comic historian’s dream vacation, to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum. More on that soon!)


I’ve sent out all my Kickstarter awards (thanks again, guys!) and the Micro-Press Yearbook 2014 can now be ordered at my store. Just five bucks, plus shipping.

This issue was a more ambitious (and time-consuming) project than last year’s. It’s now 32 pages and full color. Inside you’ll find an article about distribution by Whit Taylor, an interview with kuš! publisher David Schilter by Rob Kirby, and all the 2014 data I could gather. There’s even a map by Cadu França charting where US micro-presses are located, state by state. This awesome cover is by Box Brown.

Thanks, and enjoy. I hope to get on a more steady Tiny Report schedule soon.


Support the Comics Reporter on Patreon


I just supported the Comics Reporter Patreon, and you should too. It was my first time using Patreon, and it’s pretty painless.

In case you missed it, Tom Spurgeon launched his Patreon last week, with the goal of expanding and improving the Comics Reporter. From Tom:

“I’d like to start from scratch and rebuild what comics industry journalism means, employing some of the same tools I use with the site now and looking into different ways of writing and presenting information. I’d like to step back from the kind of coverage that requires constant attention to a Twitter feed or that you buy something first and instead use gathered, curated presentation of the news — at first in PDF format — to start writing a first draft of comics history that includes everything going on in comics, history that won’t disappear if you look away from your computer for five minutes.”

This is pretty exciting for me, because it sounds like there will be a Comics Reporter zine for me to read, and that’s a form that’s a little more palatable to me. Don’t get me wrong: I like blogs, but I never was Johnny-on-the twitter. I’m not good at keeping up with the Internet; I’d rather read a book (or a pdf printout, even) on the subway.

I’m also excited because the Comics Reporter is basically my number one inspiration as an amateur journalist. I could give two shits about the latest comic book movie, so I appreciate that Tom is focused on the Medium, and that his voice as a reader and lover of comics always shines through.