Monday, May 15, 2006

Weekend In SPACE

First off, and I probably should've done this yesterday, I'd like to welcome any new readers who I may have picked up through my efforts at SPACE on Saturday. Hope you like what you see and stick around for awhile.
Yesterday, I covered the news from SPACE, and I'll get to the reviews in a day or two, just as soon as I have a chance to read a few more of the books I picked up. Today, we cover "The SPACE Experience."
Said experience begins the night before the show, at the "SPACE Launch Party." For me, the best part of SPACE is catching up with friends that I only get to see once or twice a year at comics shows, and the party before is the best place to do that. In past years, this event was held at local comics shop The Laughing Ogre. This year, however, the Ogre is under new ownership and undergoing remodeling and the new owners decided not to participate in SPACE. (I certainly hope this doesn't signal an end to the Ogre's commitment to independent comics...I can get X-Men anywhere, but there are darn few places in town to pick up Amy Unbounded.) This year's party was held at Kern's Cafe downtown and sponsored by the group of local artists calling themselves Panel. Because the drinks weren't free this year, I didn't get as drunk as I usually do at these things. Besides, I had a lot farther to go to get home--the Ogre is just about a block from my apartment--though I ended up grabbing a ride with Mike Carroll. Most of the evening I sat around drinking and talking with Larned Justin, Mike Carroll, Mike Lucas, Micheal Neno and Rene Blansette. It was great to see Rene again; he hadn't been to SPACE since the 2nd show in 2001. To tell the truth, I didn't recognize him when I first saw him; I thought it was Dale Martin next to Larned when they entered the bar.
So, the next morning my sister Patty dropped me off in front of the Alladin Shrine Complex, though it turned out that the entrance to the Multipurpuse Room, where the show was, from the outside was around back. I wandered around the place for about a minute until an employee guessed that I was seeking the comics show and gave me directions. "Was it that obvious?" I asked her. "Do I look like that type of preson?"
"I knew you weren't a Shriner," she replied. I guess very few Shriners wear sneakers, corduroys, and black sport coats over floral patterned shirts and T-Shirts with pictures of Snoopy and his brothers playing poker. Of course, it might simply have been my lack of a fez that tipped her off. I really, really want a fez, though.
Anyway, I checked in, and quickly set up my table, such as it was. I wasn't really planning on spending a lot of time there. All I had to offer were a few old books--I haven't self-published anything new in about two years--and the sheet of highlights from this blog. Most of those I distributed as I walked around the room catching up with friends who hadn't made the party the previous evening and meeting more of my fellow comic artists. As I was planning to write extensively about the event, I also checked out most of the panels; some for just a few minutes, just long enough to make sure that the listed participants actually showed up before I wrote that they'd been there. I did stay for the entire Day Prize ceremony, sitting in the front row of seats right in front of the podium with my tape recorder on. This day I was a working journalist.
I spent more money than I usually do at SPACE, mainly because I had nothing new to trade. I did work some trades with a couple of people who were new to the show and hadn't seen my stuff before. I bought a comic from one young woman who must've forgot about it later when she came by my table and we traded comics. She only had one issue of her book out, so now I have two copies. Oh, well--it doesn't matter...It was only a buck, plus she was really cute and I just love those pink boots she was wearing.
I also picked up a bunch of web addresses that I have to add to the links column to your right, and most of the owners of those sites promised to put up a link here. Hopefully, that will also help bring some new traffic this way.
I haven't had much chance to read the books I picked up, although the ones I have read, such as Melvin and Frank Comics, SlamBang #1, Weird Muse, Symphony In Ink, and Cowboy Clyde and the Pirates have all been great. I'll go into more detail in a later entry. Though I haven't read Day Prize Winner The Lone And Level Sands, in a way I like it already as it takes its title from my favorite poem, Ozymandias. Other books I'm looking forward to reading include A Boy and His Shadow, the last few issues of Rene Blansette's Thief: The Adventures of John Argent, and Brian Canini's Ruffians.
Brian publishes as Drunken Cat Comics, therefore he and his tablemates took turns wearing a home made cat costume resembling their mascot. There was also a woman in a skimpy outfit on roller skates. I believe she was promoting her boyfriend's web comic. Not that I cared. The costumed people inspired me to remark to a couple of people that "This is starting to turn into a comic book convention."
During one of the few interludes where I was at my table I embarassed myself by spilling my coffee; knocking it over with my jacket as I turned to hand a copy of my blog highlight to a passerby. Bob Corby's wife came over with some napkins and we got that cleamed up, but I still needed caffeine. I decided to drink my next cup of coffee outside on the steps, safely away from people and paper products. I spent a lot of time on the steps, smoking and talking with other smokers, such as Ryan Holgerson (that's how we've gotten to be such good friends) and Gerhard, the cool half of the Cerebus creative team. One time while I was standing out there smoking, a man whom I'd handed a copy of my flyer to a few minutes before emerged from the building and deposited the flyer in the trash. He didn't seem to notice me standing there, but somehow I doubt he would have waited to throw it away even if he had.
After dinner at the Raddison in Worthington, the official hotel of the show, I hung out for a while with a group of other cartoonists in Matt Feazell's room. I was just too tired to participate, however, and soon asked Mike Carroll to give me a ride home.
There's a lot I'm leaving out, but that's enough to give you an idea what the day was like.
All in all, it was another great day at SPACE. I recommend to anyone interested in comics that they make plans to get to the show next year. Bob Corby has already reserved the Shrine Multipurpose room for nest year's show, which will be sometime in April. I'll let you know the exact date as soon as I do.

1 comment:

Dembicki said...

A good wrap-up of SPACE, Ray. I'm glad you were passing out fliers with previous blog entries to promote this site. Good (and funny) stuff!