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venerdì 26 dicembre 2014

Best Comics of 2014: The List

In 2014 I read enough comics and so I think I can do a classic "Best Of" list. I didn't make any distinction between mini-comics, new releases and collections of things already published elsewhere. I simply chose my favorite comics among the ones I managed to read this year and put them in alphabetical order. Thanks for your attention and happy 2015.

The Amateurs, Generous Bosom, Glancing - Conor Stechschulte is the best kept secret of American contemporary comics. Even if The Amateurs, initially self-published in 2011 in a limited edition of 300 copies, has been reprinted in an improved and updated version from Fantagraphics, it still didn't receive the attention it deserves. Too bad, because this story of two butchers who forget how to do their job is one of the most powerful comics in recent years. And the first part of Stechschulte's new work, Generous Bosom, which made its debut in a 70-page comic book published this November by Breakdown Press, isn't less so. A man is coming back home driving in the rain at night. When two tires broke, he asks for help in a house where a married couple involves him in a strange and perverse situation, which culminates in a long sex scene represented with impressive realism. Even the rain is rendered with a wonderful series of detailed lines. Glancing is instead a self-published book made in dark and cloudy watercolors, where Stechschulte doesn't use text but through the gazes of three characters bathing at night manages to convey their desires and interpersonal dynamics. This isn't a minor work in the artist's production, but another expression of a unique talent. I talked briefly about Conor Stechschulte here.

Arsène Schrauwen - A fake biography of the author's grandfather, this elegant hardcover book published by Fantagraphics collects the story printed in risography by the same Olivier Schrauwen. The Belgian cartoonist has already revealed himself as a master of the fake documentary (I think of his contributions to Mould Map and to the Spanish anthology Terry), able to combine refined narrative mechanisms with an anti-realistic graphic style and suggestive coloring techniques. This visionary journey in colonial Africa is also a Bildungsroman that explores the instincts of a young man and a satirical reflection on themes such as colonialism and the unlimited faith in the progress typical of the 20th Century man. Highly recommended.

Felony Comics - Four paranoid crime stories by Alex Degen, Lale Westvind, Pete Toms and Benjamin Urkowitz, a cover by Benjamin Marra and a back-cover by Karissa Sakumoto. The anthology published by Harris Smith's Negative Pleasure does in 32 pages all that a good anthology should do, mixing well-thought-out stories, strong ideas, pop art and visionary features. For further details have a look at my review.

The Inside Case - After This No Place to Stay (here my review), the German Michael Jordan offers another mind-blowing trip in the underground with this 16-page comic book published by Space Face. There's something of Kafka, Lynch and Cronenberg here, a vintage drawing style remembering the EC Comics era, odd conversations, a bit of surrealism and psychoanalysis. Jordan is still able to intrigue, unsettle and excite the reader.

Irene #4 - Irene is one of the best anthologies of our days. The three editors dw, Dakota McFadzean and Andy Warner collaborate every time in a different way and are also good at finding outstanding new talents. This fourth issue, dating back to last April, gave me the opportunity to know two artists to absolutely keep an eye on as Carlista Martin and Mazen Kerbaj. I still couldn't read the fifth issue, released in October, but I'm sure it won't disappoint me. I reviewed Irene # 4 here.

It Never Happened Again and Wicked Chicken Queen  - I already reviewed It Never Happened Again, a collection of two comics by Sam Alden published by Uncivilized Books, in this post, and I also talked about Wicked Chicken Queen, another excellent Alden's output in this 2014, here. Alden is an artist in constant motion, who always feels like telling and experimenting. Intimate, moving but sometimes also harsh, his stories exploit the different potentialities of comics and lead the medium to new horizons.

Lose #6 - The Canadian Michael DeForge is an old friend of this blog, since the review of Lose #5 has been one of my early posts (I also briefly reviewed his Very Casual here). Among the various things published this year by the prolific DeForge, the new issue of Lose, his series for Koyama Press, contains what at the moment looks like his most accomplished narrative effort, Me As A Baby. The story, raw and ironic at the same time, follows the protagonist Cherelle going to any length to recover the stolen clarinet of her niece. And she'll be ready even to join the Mafia, a criminal organization very different from the one we know from news stories and movies...

Megahex - A big collection of Megg, Mogg and Owl stories already published on Tumblr with 69 pages of never before seen episodes, this hardcover book by Simon Hanselmann has been one of the events of this year and a bestseller for Fantagraphics. I already talked about Hanselmann reviewing Life Zone, so if you still don't know his work you can give a look there. Here I'll only say that his comics more than simply entertaining are unsettling, since themes such as rape, violence, depression and paranoia emerge between a laugh and the other. Just like DeForge, Hanselmann blends humor and brutal realism, leaving the reader amused, amazed and admired. You can't miss it.

Middle School Missy - Missy is Daryl Seitchik's series, a seemingly autobiographical diary of a sharp, edgy and rebel little girl. Middle School Missy, self-published by the cartoonist after two mini-comics printed by Oily, is the most recent chapter, where we follow the passage from childhood to adolescence, marked by the red coming between the usual black and white when the protagonist has her first period. Funny as only brilliant works can be, Missy deals with children in the same way Megahex deals with stoners. For some other words you can go here.

Mould Map #3 - If you were looking for an heir of Kramers Ergot, here you're served. This large volume with glossy pages showcases comics focused on future, street riots, technology and sex, seemingly different topics merged into a well-cohesive anthology, with works by Viktor Hachmang & GHXYK2, Noel Freibert, C.F., Sam Alden, Olivier Schrauwen, Lala Albert, Joseph P Kelly, Blaise Larmee, Lando, Gabriel Corbera, Sammy Harkham, Jacob Ciocci, Joe Kessler. Edited by Hugh Frost and Leon Sadler, Mould Map is published by Landfill Editions. For a few more words you can give a look here.

Now and Here Avantgarde as a few others, Lale Westvind's comics are a genre of their own and could be the equivalent of Thomas Pynchon's novels, with their recurring suggestions and an experimental attitude crossing storytelling and drawings to the point of transforming facts into metaphysical elements. The latest works of the New York based cartoonist are the three issues of Now and Here, a new series started a few months ago. The first two are relatively conventional comic books, while the third has more pages and the form of an illustrated text. However the themes remain the same, time and space, represented by human and not human figures looking, perceiving, chasing each other, while the echoes of other dimensions and realities hover in the background.

Nowt/Aktion #4 - While I'm still looking forward to read the new and unmissable Days Longer Than Long Pork Sausages, released a few months ago from Space Face Books, I choose this mini-comic printed in a hundred copies to put Gabriel Corbera in this list. The Spanish cartoonist has persistently built his own narrative universe made of recurring archetypes, where shotguns, chains, tigers, cobwebs, caves, destroyed buildings and desolate landscapes return the oppression of the society towards heroic but always exhausted characters. For further details read here.

Le ragazzine stanno perdendo il controllo - Ratigher's comic is in my opinion the best Italian comic of the year and I can't leave it out of this list. I hope it'll be translated soon in other languages, because I think it could have a good success even outside Italy. Balanced and mature but also full of inventiveness and never ordinary, Le ragazzine is characterized by a manga style of drawing, a story recalling Ghost World and above all by the unmistakable mark of its author, as we've known it in Trama and in his work for Under Dark Weird Fantasy Grounds.

Rav - Unfortunately I haven't found the time to talk more extensively of this book, but it would have really deserved a review. Maybe I can catch up with the second chapter, scheduled for next year. Youth In Decline has collected in a beautiful paperback the first issues of Rav by Mickey Zacchilli, an amazing and funny journey in underground basements and hellish bars, full of violence, sex and genuine sense of wonder. Zacchilli uses a unique style, characterized by lines that cross the borders of bodies and objects, creating a chaotic universe where spontaneity and experimentation are at the service of narration.

Ritual #3 - Enigmatic and fascinating, the new issue of Ritual published by Revival House Press confirms the talent of Malachi Ward. In an unspecified future an old woman tells her grandson why everything went from bad to worse. We don't know what happened to this world, but watching a riot in the streets happened 62 years before we understand that the reality depicted by Ward isn't so far from our own. The more and more personal drawing style and the excellent mix between the two colors complete a short story that is also one of the greatest comics of this year.

Rudy - Praiseworthy initiative of 2D Cloud from Minneapolis, this paperback edited by Marc Bell assembles the best strips of Rudy, the anthropomorphic cat created by Canadian Mark Connery. The bulk of the material dates back to the '90s and is taken from eight-page self-published mini-comics. Brilliant, irreverent, hilarious, full of absurd dialogues and bright metanarrative solutions, the book lines up a lot of irresistible gags starring also Ken the fish with pants, Phil the triangle with legs and Trudy "the lady Rudy". I bought it at the SPX and since then I've never stopped reading it.

Under Dark Weird Fantasy Grounds #1-2 - One of the best news of the year was the birth of this new biannual anthology, published in English by the Italian Hollow Press. Michele Nitri, editor and publisher, managed to convince Mat Brinkman to make again a comic and put together a diversified international team of artists including Miguel Angel Martin, Tetsunori Tawaraya, Ratigher and Paolo Massagli. If you still don't have them, you must catch up the first two issues, waiting for the third, due next March. I talked about UDWFG here and here (the last one is only in Italian, sorry!).

Vortex - Let yourself be dragged away by William Cardini's lo-fi sci-fi, so you can start this trip in a land made of pixels, between Tron, Jack Kirby and Mat Brinkman. Find the Miizzzard anywhere near the Hypercastle, even if he'll probably be engaged in freeing the Vortex from slavery to the Empire of Tolx. Enjoy the marvels of the Hyperverse in this book published by Sparkplug, which collects the four mini-comics from the same name. I reviewed Vortex here.

Youth Is Wasted, The Lizard Laughed, I Don't Hate Your Guts - The collection of short stories Youth Is Wasted (here my review) is an excellent starting point to enter the world of Noah Van Sciver, but the cartoonist from Denver created a lot of interesting comics this year, as the bitter confrontation between father and son of The Lizard Laughed and the outstanding diary comic I Don't Hate Your Guts. Blessed at Lucca Comics by Mr. Robert Crumb in person, who defined him as one of the cartoonists he appreciates more at the moment, Van Sciver is now ready to go beyond the boundaries of indie comics. In the meantime we can wait for the new issue of Blammo and for the book editions of Saint Cole and Fante Bukowski.

lunedì 8 dicembre 2014


Nathan Ward is a cartoonist based in Cleveland, Ohio, and despite his 22 years he doesn't try to be up-to-date but draws dirty and round figures looking at the underground humorous tradition. The first name that comes to mind watching his mutant humanoids with heads similar to a pitbull, wide mouths and prominent teeth is Basil Wolverton, perhaps filtered through the art of Michael Roden, one of Wolverton's heirs in the indie scene, died prematurely in 2007. And if we also add the deliberately soft colors and the rough paper used to pack the 32 pages of this debut, you can well understand that Fun-O-Planet seems to come out at least from the Eighties. The story is set in space but it tells the adventures of three typical suburban losers, inhabitants of an unspecified planet quite similar to Earth. Tortured and abducted by a tentacular alien, they're brought on Fun-O-Planet, where another monstrous being awaits to take possession of their brains, necessary to the survival of its species. 
Ward's art is full of funny jokes and bizarre details: the three losers are lobotomized with a tongue penetrating into their eyes, break the TV with headshots and then, completely dazed, spend time looking at the shattered screen, talk to each other using cell phones popping out of their craniums. The second part is the most visually rich, so that the space travel has a lot of visionary moments recalling the musical interludes of the old Disney cartoons, including amusement parks, clapping hands and spaghetti. And the second issue promises great things too, because at the end of this first chapter the three fools, by now without their brains, get on a bus to take a ride in the toxic and devastated lands of Fun-O-Planet.

domenica 30 novembre 2014


William Cardini, Sparkplug Comics, Portland (Oregon, Usa), October 2014, 140 pages, black and white, $13.  

Since 2007 William Cardini has been building his Hyperverse, an unreal and bizarre world depicted through creative visual solutions that brings us simultaneously back to Atari and VIC-20 era and forth to a sci-fi future. Vortex, the last chapter of this cosmic epic, was published as a series of four mini-comics and now is reprinted in a single book by Sparkplug.
The story features the Miizzzard, the most important character in the comics set in the Hyperverse, "an inconsequential vagabond" who takes different forms according to the various eras in which he appears. The most common is that of a magician similar to Gandalf from Lord of the Rings and it's in this guise that he reaches a new planet to investigate why, despite the presence of hyperrays, there is no trace of any hyperstructure (in short, a true hypermess). There he starts fighting a seemingly hostile alien lifeform, who actually aims to recruit him to release some entities, the Vortex indeed, from slavery to the Empire of Tolx. To do so he breaks into a control device, taking a trip in a mindscape drawn as an obscure land full of psychedelic black and white figures, reminiscent of the first renderings in computer graphics of cyberspace.

Unlike the early Hyperverse comics, in Vortex Cardini has completely left the drawing board to devote himself to computer design. In particular, the thick flickering line used to delineate the Miizzzard and to divide up panels is created with Manga Studio, while the gray matter formed by substrates of lines and squares, which makes up most of the other figures and environments, is made with Photoshop.
This creative process gives life to an alien universe made of geometric shapes and graphic schemes, which is more similar to a vintage videogame (or even to a dark and underground version of Tron) that to the typical space and alien worlds represented in sci-fi films, TV series and comics. This visionary reality still hides many comics and literary influences. The first reference is to the cosmic comics from Marvel and DC, as Silver Surfer and Jack Kirby's The Fourth World and The Eternals. The plot is also permeated by fantasy and science fiction sagas, as confirmed by the same author in this interview with writer and journalist David Z. Morris. These sources, deriving mostly from adolescent readings, are revisited through a sensitivity which looks at the underground comics of the last twenty years. After all Mat Brinkman is admittedly a key figure in Cardini's formation and he has often mentioned Multiforce's creator as a source of inspiration. Vortex is also fascinating because it's a comic in Fort Thunder style but is made on a computer, therefore using a very different artistic approach from the visceral and handmade techniques of the Providence group.

Another paradox of Vortex is still about Jack Kirby. The King has filled the pages of The Eternals with technological devices of many kinds, riding a retrofuturistic trend widespread in the past and intended to imagine hi-tech futures and alien worlds. Kirby spent days drawing with pencil and ink majestic techno-gods, huge spaceships, futuristic buildings. Now that we have seen plenty of these hi-tech worlds, and that technology is part of our daily lives, Cardini uses a technological device, although much smaller than those pictured in The Eternals splash pages, to create bare and desolate worlds full of offbeat figures, which now seem to us far more alien than those imagined by Kirby. To investigate the influences of Kirby on Vortex (as well as on By This You Shall Know Him by Jesse Jacobs and on Forming by Jesse Moynihan, two recommended readings as well), you can read this interesting article by Robert Boyd on the blog The Great God Pan Is Dead.
Despite Vortex is a sci-fi book and the drawings often recall abstract art, in this comic we can also find a material aspect related to the body. Indeed bodily lacerations, mutilations and mutations are one of the recurring themes of the story since the first pages. The Miizzzard and his adversaries fight out in a succession of injuries, apparent deaths, meat that melts to the ground like in a Dali painting, monsters bursting out of chest as in Alien, corporeal scissions and cannibalism as in a tale of Greek mythology. The several trials and sufferings follow the protagonist in an arduous journey towards the epilogue, when he'll try to eat up the energy of a whole planet to save himself from death. And if you want to find out what will happen at the end of the road you have to read Vortex or look anywhere near the Hypercastle to find out if the Miizzzard is back home safe and sound...

giovedì 23 ottobre 2014

Dog City #3

Dog City #3 is an anthology made of ten mini-comics, a print, a poster, a broadsheet and a little magazine, all packaged in a beautiful screen-printed cardboard box designed by Simon Reinhardt, editor of the project along with Juan Fernandez and Luke Healy. The box depicts life in a city inhabited by anthropomorphic dogs, portrayed while smoking and standing in a train station: around them the sun, graffiti, buildings, advertising posters. These same dogs are the characters of How We Ride, the mini-comic by Reinhardt, surely one of the best things in the anthology. Reinhardt creates sensitive and playful comics, mixing a tasteful sense of subtle fun and refined melancholy. He's also good at playing with colors, as he showed in At The Dj Screw Museum, Detectives and Lost Films but here - as in Dead Rappers, published in the previous issue of Dog Cityhe uses black and white minimalist cartoon drawings and brief but effective captions. How We Ride tells the story of a gang of dogs dressed as humans just hanging around in the city, living the life of a lot of kids in the world, between fast food and parking lots. Nothing particular happens in this comic, but the mood Reinhardt wants to convey is perfectly rendered: there is a sense of waiting that is typical of youth, the idea that "all of us will get out of this town sooner or later" but even the feeling that "we're stuck here for now". The only thing these dogs can do is enjoy the moment and howling at the moon, hoping their future will be just like in their dreams.

Reinhardt writes also an interesting retrospective about Taboo, the cult anthology edited from 1988 to 1992 by Stephen Bissette, well-known for his work on Alan Moore's Swamp Thing. Bissette is now a professor at The Center for Cartoon Studies, where Dog City is born and in fact most of the contributors come from the school founded by James Sturm in White River Junction, Vermont. The magazine also includes a piece by Julia Zuckerberg abot journal comics, an essay on classic adventure comic strips by Nik James and an interview with Reilly Hadden, another student of CCS who put together for this anthology an amazing collection of Who's Zoo, a forgotten 1920's newspaper comic strip created by Hadden's great-grandfather, Tom Dibble Jr. These are brilliant strips and it's fantastic that someone took upon to put them together. It's also funny to compare them with the broadsheet created by Dan Rinylo, made in the tradition of old strips but with a contemporary feeling. 
For the rest, Dog City contains a poster by Laurel Lynn Lake, a print by Steven Krall and mini comics - in different formats and colors - by Amelia Onorato (Fortes Fortuna), Jenn Lisa (Garrettsville), Allison Bannister and Tom O'Brien (Going In Blind), Caitlin Rose Boyle ("mice"), Luke Healy (Starlight), Sophie Goldstein (Strands), Iris Yan (The Tarot Man), d.w. and Juan Fernandez (They Won't Get to You). This is a beautiful looking pack of mini-comics, the most of them already mature in contents and drawings, despite the fact that some of the young cartoonists are still students of comic art.

I liked a lot The Tarot Man by Iris Yan, a simple story of a dull penguin who finds love, inspired by tarot cards. The mini is in a neat black and white but at the end you can feel a pinch of color in the main character's heart. Sophie Goldstein did a good work as usual with a tale in full color about a lonely girl and her dead mother: Strands is an enigmatic but at the same time emotional comedy, where past comes back to juice up present and future has blonde hairs. The story shares some themes with Edna II - a comic by Goldstein published in the third issue of Irene anthology and then reprinted in a single comic book - and this is a clear hint that the former student of CSS and recent winner of an Ignatz Award has developed a very personal and intriguing style. Garrettsville by Jennifer Lisa somewhat resembles Reinhardt's How We Ride but uses the structure of a diary and a childlike drawing style. The comic documents life in a small town and the complications of growing up, entering a new world where the past slowly disappears leaving only its memories between flames.

martedì 7 ottobre 2014

Some comics from SPX

These are some comics I brought back with me from the Small Press Expo. I hope to talk about some others in the next weeks or months, time permitting.

Studygroup Magazine #3D - The new issue of the Portland-based magazine features an impressive 3D section, mostly a tribute to Ray Zone, the pioneer of alternative comics in three dimensions, with memories by Mary Fleener, Kim Deitch, Melinda Gebbie and Alan Moore. An article by Jason Little focuses on the links between comics and three-dimensional art, while cartoonists such as Kim Deitch, Dan Zettwoch and Chris Cilla create absolutely amazing 3D pages where the drawings come out of the pages. Malachi Ward realizes a fascinating work, less spectacular but definitely evocative and atmospheric, and the same Little is the author of a page where the background gives the impression of depth while a series of panels come under the eyes of the reader. This is a truly beautifully rendered 3D comic. Even the two-dimensional pages of the magazine have several goodies, including a profile of Ryan Sands (publisher at Youth In Decline and much more) by Rob Clough, a special feature about Prince of Cats by Ronald Wimberly and comics by Pete Toms, Connor Willumsen and Trevor Alixopulos. For the full contents, you can see the Studygroup webshop.

I Don't Hate Your Guts and Slow Graffiti - Noah Van Sciver continues to make public his sketchbooks with two new comic books, the first published by 2D Cloud, the second printed by the author himself. I Don't Hate Your Guts replies the structure of the previous More Mundane showing a new autobiographical diary in the simple structure of one page/one day. Maybe these diaries are one of the best things in the production of the Denver based cartoonist, although at the moment everything he's doing is one of his best things. This time, in addition to the usual dose of cynicism there is also a love story... What do you want more? Slow Graffiti is more similar to Weekend Alone and Weekend for Two, the two sketchbook collections published by Tinto Press, and includes a main story with a female protagonist.

Missy #1, Missy #2 and Middle School Missy - I had read some comics by Daryl Seitchik online but I never had in my hands a printed version. The first two issues of Missy are published by Oily Comics, while the latest Middle School is self-published. Seitchik found with this series - a seemingly autobiographical diary of a child/teenager - full awareness of her means. The main character, called Daryl as the cartoonist (Missy is the name of the diary), is depicted with minimal features and dominates the scene always assuming new positions within the panel but showing steadily suspicious and angry eyes. There is a remarkable sense of depth and movement in these pages, simple at first sight but skillfully built. Everyday situations become funny thanks to cynical and glacial comments. To give you an idea of the contents, in Middle School Missy a teenage Daryl complains about the braces on her teeth, dreams of a nihilistic escape from her room, starts speaking Spanish, has her period for the first time, swears she'll have sex within the end of the year and - in a visionary finale - drowns saying goodbye to all the friends of adolescence. I'm almost certain I would never get tired of reading comics like this.

Mountain Comic and Generous Impression - Conor Stechschulte is the author of The Amateurs, a self-produced comic book reprinted by Fantagraphics this year with some extra pages. The Amateurs is in my opinion one of the best comics of last years and so I follow with great curiosity everything Stechschulte creates. At SPX the cartoonist brought with him one of his little books of drawings, this time reproducing views taken from the top of Rooster's Comb Mountain in Upstate New York. The beautiful cover on green paper is evocative and more detailed, while the interiors on blue paper depict stylized mountains, clouds and shadows. The different elements merge one in another creating a sort of abstract landscape, where man seems losing himself in front of nature. The second work, Generous Impression, is instead a zine of 24 pages showing several sketches created by Stechschulte in the making of Generous Bosom. I'm looking forward to see how these drawing will take form in the new book, due in November from Breakdown Press.

Frontier #3-4-5 - I already talked about the first two issues of Frontier - the monograph anthology published by Ryan Sands' Youth In Decline - and after the third one was lost somewhere for some postal problems I missed the latest releases. The SPX was thus an opportunity to recover the back issues and to be acquainted with the fifth, hot off the press. Frontier #3 hosts the American debut of Sascha Hommer, a German artist who combines cartoons and rationalism in the Bauhaus style, cynical humor and Teutonic detachment. Among the three short stories published here, all of excellent quality, the most outstanding is Transit, appealing in its unreal colors and geometric forms. 
The fourth issue is instead an exclusively figurative book, if we keep out a few words showing off like graffiti between a drawing and another. This time the artist is Ping Zhu, a Los Angeles native now based in New York, with a naive style characterized by a predominance of the white page, where colorful but essential drawings take place. Her work looks at Twentieth Century art and can mostly be considered as a research on use of space and dynamism. Motion is rendered with broad brushstrokes and solid figures in opposition to still and empty objects with thin outlines. Surely the most cryptic of the series so far, this issue manages to be really intriguing.
Frontier #5 comes back to the comforting territories of comics, but the tale told by Sam Alden is unsettling and full of dark omens. This is a spin-off of Hollow, a new work partially seen on the author's Tumblr. Enriched by the use of red and purple, the story explicates some key elements of the main plot but is also independently readable. A deep and obscure cavity persecutes two teenagers and this time, unlike other comics by Alden, it isn't a metaphor.

lunedì 29 settembre 2014

Bethesda, 13-14 September 2014: The Small Press Expo

I would have liked to publish a report about the Small Press Expo a bit earlier on this blog, but my trip in USA (and Canada) continued after SPX and once back in Italy I had a lot of things to do after more than two weeks of pleasant absence. However you can read a sort of "official" report I did for the website Broken Frontier to have a bigger idea of the event. At this point a lot of other reports and commentaries are already on line, so I've decided to publish only a gallery of pictures, with the intention to come back on SPX in the next weeks with the reviews of some debuting books. For now I'm saying only that it was fantastic going to SPX for the first time and meeting a lot of cartoonists, publishers and comics fans in person. The average quality of the comics in the Grand Ballroom was very high and the panels were very interesting and sometimes funny. So, here come the pictures... I hope they will describe SPX better than me. 

Revival House Press table...

...where we find publisher Dave Nuss with Malachi Ward (left)

Simon Hanselmann draws on my copy of Megahex
Box Brown, one of SPX special guest, at the table of his Retrofit Comics

Joyana McDiarmid, editor of Maple Key Comics anthology

Ryan Sands and his wife Jane...

 Youth In Decline table

Sam Alden signing It Never Happened Again...

...and Daryl Seitchik is doing the same with Missy

Noah Van Sciver thinking I'm a nerd. At his side an unaware John Porcellino

The table of Belgian publisher Frémok

Conor Stechschulte behind his book The Amateurs 
and Ryan Cecil Smith behind an apple

Pat Aulisio meditates upon my possible cameo in his new comic 
about bloggers (at his side R. Sikoryak)...

...Pat is making this comic with Josh Bayer, 
who is drawing Rom in this picture

Lale Westwind says "ciao!"

Andrew Carl and Dave Proch show Proch's pages from 
Little Nemo - Dream Another Dream, a tribute to Winsor McCay 
published by Locust Moon of Philadelphia

SPX Executive Director Warren Bernard introduces 
the Ignatz Awards ceremony

Cathy G. Johnson, winner as Promising New Talent. 
In the background, Sasha Steinberg (in drag queen style) 
and James Sturm, who presented the ceremony

Paul Karasik is ready to consign the award for Outstanding Graphic Novel, won by This One Summer by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki

Simon Hanselmann celebrates his wedding with Comics 
kissing Fantagraphics boss Gary Groth

Sophie Goldstein with the Ignatz gained for House of Women 
in the category Outstanding Mini-Comic

Charles Burns talking about his fascination for Tin Tin

Another pic of Charles Burns, who also read 
some pages from his new Sugar Skull

The panel Making Art for the Internet: from left to right Rebecca Mock, 
Emily Carroll, Sam Alden and Blaise Larmee

Shannon Wheeler, the creator of Too Much Coffee Man
drew for the SPX a funny press pass...