At SPX I made sure to only buy/trade for things I really wanted, so I’ve been thoroughly enjoying everything I picked up, but I wanted to highlight a few.
My picks and finds from SPX:
DOCTOPMARU – PTYTB I was pleasantly surprised to see Garrett’s stuff at the Slow Youth table. In a world of abrasive strangeness it’s refreshing to see some somber and quiet surrealism.
Hellen Jo – What a rad lady!! Both Last Letter and Deep Cut are works of emotional progression that utilizes the act of page turning in the best possible way. Zines will never die with people like Hellen around. Such a treat to see her and Calvin on the east coast, and apparently they’re coming back for BCAGF! Yes!!
Hope So Funnies – Katbus Brawl, Nick and Colin are fun and weird and great. Try to find them somehow and get this zine. It’s got strange forms, paintings, and a beautiful, intricate centerfold by Katbus in between her fun, childlike panels. Check out her stuff on comicsworkbook too.
Decadence #9 – I love scooping up European comics when I can. This is an awesome anthology I’d never heard of so I grabbed it sorta overpriced from the Picturebox table. In particular I enjoyed seeing Lando’s Grecian and Pyramid laden work. Decadence is a really appropriate word for contemporary art. The stuff in this comic reminds me a lot of what’s going on with web and digital art right now.
JEANS – Why was this only 5 dollars? It’s large and has 2 different 3-layer screenprints in it, and they’re not just slap-dash, unregistered, whatever printing like many screened comics. It’s raunchy and weird and includes previous favorites AD and Leah. I hadn’t seen Amy Searles’ work before, but I’m a fan now after seeing her Kafkaesque pregnancy story.
Nervenkrank: a Story about John Heartfield - I was surprised to see a realistic comic biography that has a lot of potential. John Heartfield was an important political figure in Dadaism that tends to get skimmed over a lot in art history. American creative audiences especially have a skewed notion that Dadaism was just a big fuck you to the art world when in reality it was a movement paved from war trauma and asylum. As someone who takes the history of collage pretty seriously, I’m happy Katherine K. Wirick’s making this book.
Neon Super Gladiator – I’m kind’ve embarrassed to say I wasn’t really familiar with Andy Kart’s work before this SPX. He has really great lettering and line work that sorta reminded me of Big Guy and Rusty, but when he saw my Taiyo Matsumoto shirt and my friend’s Tezuka shirt we struck up a conversation about manga. To my surprise he brought up Umezu as one of his favorite artists, so I had him draw him.
Hot Dog Beach #2 – YES! Lale Westvind is now an Ignatz award winner! She truly deserves “Upcoming Talent” she’s put together so much great work, I’ve only known of her since MOCA, but she makes me really excited about comics. Look at the cover!! It’s photoshop collage weirdness without being too retro or too digital. She does so many things at once and does them all the right way. Also, if you’re a fan of how she draws the female body (which in my opinion is empowering as fuck) try to get ahold of Titus and the Cyber Sun.
Tiny Bangs – Speaking of empowering as fuck. Olivia Horvath’s work is smart stuff about sexuality and self-reflection. There are so many great still moments in Tiny Bangs, I relate to how the main character acts when they’re alone I think that introspection is a hard thing to capture. Olivia’s graceful watercolors work wonders. Pick up their stuff at BCAGF, I’ll be tabling with ‘em.
Two Eyes of the Beautiful – I’ve read this already, but didn’t own ‘em yet, I was going to talk about SF #2 but I SOMEHOW LOST IT. WHY. Anyway, Ryan Cecil Smith’s work has a special place in my heart. We have many of the same influences and he gets me thinking about how to incorporate those influences into my art. I don’t know if this is a point of contention, but this stuff is far away from fanart, and comparing it as such is detrimental to the comics-are-art cause. Working off of previous artists in this way is standard in the art world, like readymades to combines. If anything it’s appropriation, but I think that only applies to his SF supplements. I see it as an artist being upfront about his influences that have been in obscurity to western audiences for years. I look forward to reading the new Secret Prison when I have the cash. Oof.
I had a really fun time, I stayed with my best friend Kim who made that crazy Kim Jong-il X Putin screenprint (if we were awful global leaders we’d be them!). SPX was rad, great guests, not too much major stuff or silly bullshit. Definitely a more diverse crowd than MOCA, these cons should make sure to keep attendance/table fees low as possible and they’ll do way better in the long run. I guess I’m gonna be writing more in this blog as I try to be more confident in what I have to say so sorry to subject ya’ll to that. Phew!
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