Saturday, April 29, 2006

Rendezvous In SPACE

"In the Old West, they used to have trappers'rendezvous every four years. All the mountain men and people who lived in the wilderness would get together in a certain spot and swap stories, have wrestling matches and canoe races, and see their friends. This is our trappers' rendezvous, but we have it every year."
That's the late Jack "Treetop" Straus, the man whose stunning come from behind victory in the Main Event of the 1982 World Series of Poker inspired the well-known poker adage about "a chip and a chair," quoted by Jonathan Grotenstein and Storms Reback in their book All In: The (Almost) Entirely True Story of the World Series of Poker. Straus was, as you would suspect, speaking of the WSOP, but when it hit me when I read that how the same sentiment could be expressed regarding the Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo (heretofore to be referred to simply as SPACE).
Every Spring, over a hundred Small Press comics artists, mostly self-publishers, gather here in Columbus, Ohio to meet and greet long time fans, new readers and old friends. For me, SPACE provides, among other things, a chance to see friends that I only get to see at SPACE or the very few other comic cons I attend. The show has also given me the opportunity to meet people with whom I've corresponded and traded comics, sometimes for many years, but never seen in person as well as to meet artists whose work I may have heard of but never read and new artists just entering the field. I also have an opportunity to meet the people who read my comics and to rope more people into reading them.
Of course, you don't have to be a close personal friend of Matt Feazell to enjoy SPACE. If you're already aware of the Small Press comics scene, this is a great place to pick up the lastest by your favorite creators, and if you're not, then this is the best place to find out what it's all about. A wide variety of books is available in all formats. Professionally printed graphic novels sit next to photcopied minicomics and cover a range of genres and topics from humor to autobiography to just about anything you can think of and there are even some superhero comics if you're into that sort of thing. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)
In lieu of wrestling matches and canoe races (though I will suggest to SPACE organizer Bob Corby that he add them for next year's show), SPACE offers, in addition to a roomful of artists hawking their wares, a full day of panels appealing to both Small Press creators and readers. The highlight is the awards ceremony in which the Day Prize, chosen by Cerebus creators Dave Sim and Gerhard from among entries submitted at the previous year's show, and the SPACE Lifetime Achievement Award are presented.
SPACE 2006 takes place two weeks from today, May 13, at the Aladdin Shrine Complex Multipurpose Room, 3850 Stelzer Road, Columbus, OH.

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