Juan here checking in with a mini SPX Report.

First off, a huge thank you goes out to team at SPX, especially Warren Bernard, Lynda Bernard, Rob Clough, Danethin Mejia and Eden Miller for helping us with making these workshops happen! WE had a great time! Also thank you to all of our workshop instructors – you made it happen <3

SPX was solid this year for me. I had some great experiences teaching, caught up with fellow CCS graduates, connected with Santoro School alums, and reconnected with tumblr and instagram comics makers new and old. Nothing ground breaking, just a good continuation of the story from previous years.

As is our Comics Workbook tradition, we held down the fort in the Glen Echo Room offering back-to-back workshops with world class cartoonists and comics makers. Attendee’s ages ranged wildly, which was exciting. For the most part, all attendees were aspiring makers or folks who wanted to dip their toes into comics making. It’s nice to be able to offer a space for these people. Sally Ingraham masterfully coordinated all of our workshops and the Workbook crew assisted in shifts. It all went gloriously smoothly.

This year, I wrangled up the core group of the Pittsburgh Comics Salon to form the heart of this year’s crew. Above all, my priority this year was being of service to the Pittsburgh Comics Salon’s crew that was in attendance. Lane Graff, Graciela Sarabia, Audra Stang, Syd Blackwell, Sam Ombiri, Ann Lewis, Caleb Orecchio and Sally Ingraham.

The 2018 SPX Crew

SPX, if you’re coming from outside of the D.C./Maryland area can be overwhelming, and at times especially strange. There’s no explicit program for after hours mingling other than the Ignatz Awards and the newly developed “Prom”, for better or for worse.

If you stay in the hotel, you can sometimes feel trapped. While, yes it’s, folks can just figure out how to take care of themselves – look up food on their phones, find hotels, etc. it is difficult to properly optimize your experience of this weekend without having been there. I wanted to bridge that gap for my fellow comics makers in Pittsburgh.

Going to SPX is like entering a bubble. It’s an interesting, satisfying comics bubble, but it is one that takes getting used to. If you don’t go into that bubble prepared to take breaks, with a plan for food, with snacks and water on hand, or with a comics budget, SPX can really wreck you! It’s a monster of a show that way.

In light of this I wanted to make sure that everyone had access to what they needed.

I attended SPX for the first time in 2010 on Bill Boichel’s urging. I’m thankful he was there that year so that I could check in with him every now and again as he sailed across the room meeting makers and buying work to sell at Copacetic Comics. Without that anchor during my first year, would have been quite different and far more overwhelming.

To be able to attend with this group in tow was a really satisfying experience. I’m thankful I could coordinate this trip from Pittsburgh and be their support in Bethesda.

As I’ve said before my priority has been to cultivate this local community of makers. I love comics making, but people come before them, always.

Workshop Report
Sally Ingraham, will have a full report on Friday. Our workshops were more full than ever. Lots of networking between students and instructors happened after each workshop.

Comics Reviews
You can expect some reflections on books that we received or purchased at SPX to trickle out as the month progresses. It takes time to read comics, to experience them and enjoy them so you won’t see any rushed reviews or reflections from us here at Comics Workbook.

Stay tuned for more insights.

Thank you!

09-29-2018 – by Niall Breen

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