In which Our Hero goes to the bicycle school of hard knocks.
The Small Press Expo was last weekend and I had fun. It's the show that means the most to me, the one that feels the most like home because of all the friends I've made over the years, not to mention the things I've learned about the business.
I remember the first year I had a table there. It was 1998, and the only comic I had was a full-sized, 2-issue superhero mini-series printed entirely on newsprint, including the cover. I had it printed in newsprint because it was cheap, but I was told by a Diamond rep that it would be a difficult sell to retailers because of the lack of color, especially in the cover. Still, I believed in my book, and so between 1998-2000, I did a ton of shows all across the east coast and even the midwest, all in an effort to build a rep and get myself noticed. No matter where I went, though, I always sold the most copies of my books at SPX. The year I made back the cost of my table at SPX was the happiest I'd had to that point.
I'm ashamed to say that when 9/11 happened, one of the first thoughts that went through my head was: "What's gonna happen to SPX?" However,I've encountered other cartoonists since who had a similar experience.
Going to SPX as a journalist (beginning in 2002) was very different. It gave me an opportunity to talk to many other cartoonists, some of whom I'd normally be too nervous to even approach, like Bryan Talbot, Jaime Hernandez, Eddie Campbell, and Harvey Pekar. I used to have such a difficult time with interviews, especially when it involved fairly famous cartoonists, but I've done enough of them at this point that I've gotten over any lingering feelings of trepidation.
This year, I was just a fan, like I was at my first SPX in 1997, and that's okay. Next year, however, I plan to have a table, now that I've gotten back into cartooning again. It'll be nice to be behind a table again.
I don't think I've mentioned the comics studio I've become part of here in Columbus, Sunday Comix. I've recently started posting on our blog, so you can catch me there too.
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Rich Watson ||    Blog · 

Former NYC resident now living in Columbus, OH; small press creator and journalist since 1993; writer with PopCultureShock.com; founder of the Glyph Comics Awards, honoring the best in black comics and creators ... full profile