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SPX- The Very Late Edition

Posted on 2006.11.16 at 11:54
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This con report is overdue. It is, in fact, so overdue that my memory is bound to suffer as a result. With luck, I'll also blabber a bit less, or fill in the gaps with some marvelously inaccurate details. With luck.

We actually arrived at SPX's new venue-- the Marriot Bethesda North-- on time. Before we'd even gotten inside, we were reassured by the sight of our friends Eric Knisley and Paul Friedrich. They pointed us to the right parking lot and we entered the hotel's palatial structure with fear in our hearts.

The new venue is a very nice hotel. As fond as I'd grown of the old venue, this was mostly a step up. The rooms were beautiful, the view was nice, and the actual convention area was far superior to the old. I know not everyone agrees with me on this point, but I really liked being in the same room as everyone else. The old system of "1 really good room and its pathetic satellites" really wasn't fair, and even though we'd benefitted from a nice spot in the main room last year, I was glad to see the change. Indeed, the new space has its foibles (insufficient elevator-age, local restaurants hard to walk to, obscenely ostentatious bar mitzvahs), but between the nice con space and the reasonably priced beer, I was pleased.

My two real complaints are as follows: I really missed having a con suite-- SPX used to provide a nice breakfast and decent lunch for people who arrived quickly enough-- and the Ignatz Awards were downright disappointing. The latter is far more significant to me. The previous year's ceremony was a blast, and not just because we were nominated. Keith Knight was a magnificent MC, and everyone that attended did so with some measure of seriousness. People wanted to be there, were there out of a love of comics, and it showed.
This year, the hall was so small that people couldn't even manage standing room at the back. The speakers practically sprinted through the ceremony and some presenters-- most notably, Gary Groth-- couldn't be bothered to attend. There was a haphazard feeling to the whole affair that really cheapened it for me. I know we're just indy comics, and I know we were putting on a good face for Harvey Pekar last year, but we can do better. Better space and more respect next year, guys.

However, it was a good show. Team Dada was placed alongside some friends and favorites of ours. Joe Komenda and Leah Riley were on our right, representing our printers lulu.com. The wonderful Matt Feazel was on our left. Matt's a funny guy, and I enjoyed chatting with him. "The Adventures of Zot! in Dimension 10 1/2" is still one of my favorite comics.

Speaking of Zot!, Scott McCloud and family attended SPX as a part of their 50 states tour. I got to talk with Scott some, and also met his wife and two daughters-- Sky and Winter. Both of the latter got along fabulously with Leah, and Winter spent a fair amount of time hanging out in the shared space behind our tables. They like video games and Veronica Mars, and are probably both in the midst of a very weird experience, as they are celebrities to comics geeks and... not celebrities to everyone else. I wonder what it'll be like for them to be through with their dad's tour?

Some terrific folks also came by the table to say hey. Comixpedia's own Xavier Xerexes was nice enough to check in with us. Tim Daniels came by, and stayed for dinner on Friday, as did the redoubtable John Bintz. I was glad to see Rob Ullman and the Camel City's own Ben Towles. I also had the pleasure of meeting vonandmoggy for the first time. I'm looking to seeing "The Road to God Knows," when it is finally birthed.

We also had the pleasure of seeing Christopher P. Reilly again. m_monique is working with Chris on a book titled Oh Tesla: The Death of Topsy right now. I read Chris' Punch and Judy books last night, and I can tell you that they are excellent. Based on the 8 pages of Tesla Steph's completed, though, it's going to be the best thing either of them has done.

I also had the good fortune to run into some friends from college. Neither Autumn Winters (her maiden name, but I love it so) nor Mona Hinds expected to see us, or vice versa, so that was a happy chance encounter. They seemed impressed, which only goes to show that our convention table looks a lot more impressive than our achievements in comics actually are.

We had many other adventures, only interesting to ourselves. However, I can't go without mentioning the bar mitzvah. Heading down to the SPX-reserved area on the last night, I couldn't help but notice-- I mean this literally-- the loud music coming out of a room flanked with 7 foot tall mock-ups of Academy Awards. Alongside the gaudy statuary were some very strangely photoshopped famous movie posters, all featuring the same boy. A large sign proclaimed the event the "Andy Awards," or something very similar. Kids and adults alike walked around in plaid pajamas with the kids monogram on them (wtf?).

As was later confirmed by hotel staff, it was obvious the parents had spent many tens of thousands of dollars on what was supposed to be an important spiritual event. Instead, they'd managed a profound combination of exaltation and humiliation for their child. They were evidently giving out awards to his friends that had arrived, for "Andy's best friend," and similarly, creating perfect opportunities for the unpopular kids to get left out.

The movie posters added a surreal touch to the whole affair. I understood the idea behind them, but not the choices. A thirteen year old kid kneeling before Marlon Brando in The Godfather... there's an image sure to freak any sane person out. Eh, what can I say? They had their party, we had ours, and no harm was done on either side. Still, I hated seeing a rich tradition-- my kung fu master helped me learn respect for Jewish traditions-- exploited that way.

That was pretty much a tangent, though. SPX was a good show-- that's what you really need to know. Our books sold well, the company was good, and we'll be back next year.

Comments:


vonandmoggy
vonandmoggy at 2006-11-17 01:59 (UTC) (Link)
Coudln't agree more about the Ignatz - especially since we were some of the people who couldn't get in at all. I really enjoyed SPX 2005's award ceremony (who could forget Keith's MCing?) so this one was brutally disappointed.

And it was very nice to meet you, too! Oh, and thanks for the mention of my bookie (cough...but it's "the road to god knows..." cough). :)

Von
victor_von
victor_von at 2006-11-17 02:32 (UTC) (Link)
Aha! Appropriately edited. Hopefully, we can talk some more next time we're at a convention. I actually think I've seen you around before, just without knowing your name.
vonandmoggy
vonandmoggy at 2006-11-22 03:26 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for that! And you've got me curious on the meeting front. Huh! :)

Von
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