Finally I have time to write this long-overdue post about the fantastic SPX (Small Press EXpo) in Washington DC, USA. A big thank you has to go out to the brilliant Warren Bernard and the rest of the wonderful people at SPX for inviting us over in the first place. Luke Pearson and I had a great time and sold hundreds of books to an eager crowd of super enthusiastic alternative comics fans. As comics festivals go this has to rank as one of the best in the world – check out the website and you’ll see what a stellar line up of guests they had. For anyone on this side of the pond thinking of taking a comics related trip to the USA, definitely plan your itinerary around being in DC for this event next year – you wont be disappointed!
After hitting the tarmac at Dulles International Airport Luke and I headed straight for a bite to eat. We chose a place in the mall round the corner from the hotel where the event takes place. Having consumed over 2000 calories each (we know this as the calories per meal were listed on the menu… handy info!) we felt we were set up for a day of sight seeing before manning our stand at the festival. I have to say I do love Americans – in my 37th year I was IDed five times during our stay… flattery gets you everywhere! Anyway DC has some of the best museums in the world (Smithsonian Space and Flight Museum is awesome) and also a quaint building called the White House… surrounded by police we didn’t get to have tea with the president as we’d hoped… but hey there’s always next year. Luke bought a rather fetching plastic bust of Obama at the airport on the way home by way of consolation. I also have to say that I was more impressed than I thought I’d be at the Lincoln Memorial.
The festival itself was the highlight though. We started off the day by sitting in on a panel to discuss the state of British Comics led by the American Culture and Comics critic Rob Clough. Fascinating stuff and it was great to see Nick Abadzis, Glyn Dillon and Ellen Lindner on the panel too. After that I can only describe the following six hours as a frenzy! We immediately sold out of books like Space Race and Dockwood, and everything else wasn’t far behind, by the end of the show we had sold just about everything on the table! One regret would be that I didn’t get to look around quite as much as I’d have liked, but it was great to see the guys from Picturebox – the new Sammy Harkham and Jonny Negron books are the bomb! Always a pleasure to hang out with Chris Pitzer (Adhouse), Annie Koyama (Koyama Press) and Brett Warnock (Top Shelf) – thanks for dinner Annie! (When you come to London you have to let us pay!).
After a plate of Peruvian roasted chicken with yucca and rice and beans in a neighbourhood Bethesda eatery with Warren Bernard we headed out for the airport with book-laden suitcases (check our previous post for info on new books picked up at SPX for the shop). Twelve hours later we were bleary eyed (Men in Black III provided my best hope for sleep on the flight, I don’t remember much of it so it must have done it’s job!), exhausted but exhilarated and finally back in Blighty.