SPX ’97 comic


Sunday, September 26, 2010

SPX 1997 cover

Well, well, well, looky what I found in the quarter bin at the secret comics warehouse in western Pennsylvania. This is the first ever SPX anthology from 1997. Remember when they did these for each SPX from ’97 to, what, 2005? I remember when this book was being organized. I was living in San Francisco at the time. Out there we had APE, which had just started up a couple years earlier (still going as a Comic-Con event). Is the cover of this SPX comic making fun of APE? I thought that back then. I also remember that I wanted to go to SPX but it was too far – and being in the comic seemed weird if I wasn’t going to go. That was the year, 1997, when I really felt like SPX was taking off. It was exciting back then to think of like minded folks in comics getting together outside of San Diego and outside of longbox conventions. Boy, times have changed. I still get excited by small press fests, but now there’s one every month somewhere it seems, right?

I thought I would try to write about the stories inside but then I found myself looking up creators whose names I didn’t recognize. Then I started looking up names of creators who have dropped off my radar.

So, are you ready to play “Where Are They Now?” Ok, then, let’s go to the videotape! I’m gonna take the contributor list and google the person’s name along with “1997” and “comics” (I left “SPX” out of the search because usually the SPX site was the first to come up). So click on each contributor to see what’s what. A fun diversion for all ages.

*Jessica Abel
*Donna Barr
*Art Baxter
*Brian Biggs
*Ruben Bolling
*Ed Brubaker
*Ivan Brunetti
*Joe Chiappetta
*Frank Cho
*Brian Clopper
*Tony Consiglio
*Marc Crisafulli
*Bob Fingerman
*Scott A. Gilbert
*Roberta Gregory
*Allan Gross
*Dean Haspiel
*Marc Hempel
*Sam Henderson
*Bryan Heyboer
*Etgar Keret
*James Kolchalka
*Batton Lash
*David Lasky
*Jon Lewis
*Matt Madden
*Steven Martinez
*Linda Medley
*Josue Menjivar
*Rutu Modan
*Yvonne Mojica
*Pete Mullins
*David Napoliello
*Josh Neufeld
*Josh Olson
*Leslee T. Parker
*John Porcellino
*Jesse Reklaw
*Tony Renouf
*Alex Robinson
*Pete Sickman-Garner
*Chris Staros
*James Sturm
*Kevin Tucker
*Colin Upton
*Charles Vess
*R. Walker
*Mark Wheatley
*Shannon Wheeler
*Mack White
*Damon Willis
*Joe Zabel

Next week I will return to riffing on romance comics. Dan was here the last few days in Pittsburgh and I’m all comixed out! Later!

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18 Responses to “SPX ’97 comic”
  1. John Platt says:

    Thirteen years ago! Wow! Time flies. Still a great anthology — especially for a quarter!

  2. Bill Kartalopoulos says:

    This anthology was my first exposure to several of the contributors’ work.

  3. Rob Clough says:

    Mine, too Bill. SPX’ 97 was the first con of any kind that I attended, and it’s what really opened my eyes to a lot of stuff. The first three volumes of the anthology were a highly mixed bag, as the editors were struggling to figure out what they were going for. Did they only want work from artists who would be at the show? The middle-brow nature of the show raised its head in the form of Frank Cho, who simply threw in some “Liberty Meadows” strips that his syndicate thought were too racy (they in fact were quite mild). There were also a lot of artists who simply tossed in a few pages from their mini, with instructions to come find them at the show if they wanted to see the rest of the story. Ugh.

    On the other hand, the Abel/Haspiel collaboration was great, the Brunetti piece was terrific, the Walker/Neufeld piece was typically strong and there are comics by folks who haven’t done anything in recent memory, like Brian Biggs, Leslee T Parker (very underrated) and Pete Sickman-Garner (who has a new book from Top Shelf coming up).

  4. That’s a good question. Where am I now?

  5. Brian Nicholson says:

    If memory serves, the cover to the next two volumes were done by Rich Koslowski and Matt Wagner. The Matt Wagner cover was of Jay and Silent Bob. Comics in 1999!

  6. Rob Clough says:

    And then the game changed with the awesome 2000 anthology, with a Charles Burns cover and tons of L’Association comics and much more. That anthology was another big influence on me as a reader.

    Sam Henderson, of course, is making kick-ass single-page gag minis, which all right-thinking people should purchase immediately.

  7. There’s a great Ben Jones comic about “getting” the Clowes cover in 2001. Like “getting the gag”. Wait, let me go look for it…

  8. Bill Kartalopoulos says:

    The 2000 and 2001 anthologies benefited tremendously from the co-editorship of Tom Devlin. His inclusion of Fort Thunder and other related New England-area artists (Ben Jones, CF) were probably the major avenues for most readers’ initial encounter with that material, along with the Coober Skeeber Marvel benefit issue. (although I may be slightly generalizing my own experience as someone who didn’t go to SPX until 2004 or so; people who attended the shows might have also seen that stuff at Tom’s table, etc.).


  9. Rob Clough says:

    The Highwater Books table at SPX was always a revelation for me. I remember the year Mat Brinkman came and had these tiny little cards with pencil sketches on them he was selling.

    One of my “back pocket” projects is a reevaluation of every year of the anthology. Tom went on to edited many more editions built around themes. These were less popular than the glory years of 2000-2002, but still had quite a bit of quality work in them.

  10. Ian Harker says:

    SPX 2000 was the biggest wasted opportunity of my life (at least comics-wise.) It’s still the most fun I’ve probably ever had at SPX, but damn was I looking at all the wrong stuff.

    Except for Tom Scioli! I still vividly remember talking Rick Veitch’s ear off about Tom Scioli “actually getting it.”

    God SPX is nothing like it used to be 🙁

  11. I sent original 8 page stories – 3 years in a row, trying to get into the anthology. Never got in. And looking back at my stories I see why. Whew!

    SPX always looked like a show I’ve got to get to regardless of any changes.

  12. SPX in 1997 . . . good times, good times . . .

  13. Weird. I found one of these at Last Gasp last Thursday. I was at SPX97 and have no memory of this comic at all. I didn’t pick it up Thursday either. Strangely one of their sales reps was having a long talk with someone about your comics, Frank. What does it all mean?

  14. The weirdest part was that I didn’t know that the Highwater oral history posted today would contain ’97 factoids. Now that’s weird! It means we must blame Devlin for the resurrection of Marvel.

  15. Alfred Eichholtz says:

    This brings back memories, I flew all the way the way from Amsterdam just for SPX97! That raised a few eyebrows when I told that. Only two days before SPX I had decided to go and booked a flight. Those were the days.. My first trip to the US. Staying at the International Youth Hostel downtown and taking the train to Silver Spring. I just dug up some mini’s bought at several SPX’s (I came back a few times until 2002) Weirdest find was a Complementary $3 Brenner Printing Beverage Credit from’ 97! Why didn’t I use that? Must have been the Chlorine in the water..

  16. Rob Clough says:

    Like Ian, I sometimes wish I could time travel and interact with artists who would later become favorites. Paul Grist was at SPX ’98, along with Dylan Horrocks! I never got a Phoebe Gloeckner sketch when she had a table! Oh well.

    In those days, Scott McCloud came every year and just held court at his table. This was back when Understanding Comics was still sort of new and everyone wanted to hear what he had to say.

    SPX ’97 had some interesting programming, by the way. On Friday night before the show, there was a presentation by Mike Diana as part of his community service time. Pretty chilling. Then Jeff Smith did a good old-fashioned chalk-talk. I think Kochalka played after that. All very informal, with everyone in the same room.

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