On the last day of SPX 2007, after a year of traveling back and forth to Europe and around North America, I ended my world tour crammed in a tiny room filled with happy, young cartoonists dancing, sweating, and singing at the top of their lungs. It was a cathartic release, and I joined in with gusto. For an excellent overview of the show and the karaoke night (complete with links to Youtube), visit Liz Baillie's site.
The Marriott exhibit hall opened for business at 2pm on Friday. Turn out was good. The room hummed for two days straight with people shopping for small press comic books, and from what I could gather, many were purchased.
Among the indie cartoonists was Xeric winner GB Tran.
Jim Ottaviani & Carla Speed McNeil.
My basic duties as a guest of the show were to do a couple of signings at the CBLDF table, and a Spotlight Panel. You can read about the Spotlight Panel on these blogs: Comics Alliance and USA Today Techspace.
Aaron Renier with a copy of MOOMIN no. 2 from Drawn & Quarterly tucked under his arm.
Highlight of the show #1: James Kochalka breaks into song within three minutes of us walking into a small private party together. Larry Marder, Chris Pitzer and Greg from the CBLDF listen. It was a great song about James' neighbors, one of which is a murderer and the other is a meth dealer. Or something like that. Only at SPX, people.
Speaking of James, I ran across a great SPX photo blog that is perfect! (thanks to Tom Spurgeon)
Next morning, Steve Hamaker was back at his booth hawking Fish 'n' Chips and his webcomic Still Dead.
On the left is Lola Akinmade with her Office Supplies comics, and John Hankiewicz whose book Asthma was nominated for an Ignatz Award.
Matt "Obi-Wan" Wagner.
Chris Pitzer at the AdHouse Books booth.
After my spotlight panel,which was moderated by The Beat's Heidi MacDonald, we posed for pictures with one of the show's other guests, Rutu Modan. I met Rutu not long ago when we were both guests at The Vinetas desde O Atantico festival in A Coruna, Spain.
Here I am with two young turks ready to conquer the world. This is Andrew Greenstone and Alex Bullett (and Dan Morris snapped the photo). This picture was taken just moments before Aaron Renier convinced me that karaoke would be fun and I should go. I can't believe I went – - and I can't believe how MUCH fun it was!
Folks started gathering in the Marriott parking lot, and I climbed in a car with five other people and we headed off in search of a karaoke bar. This drawing was done by Joe Quinones. That's Joe and his wife in the front seat, Alec Longstreth, Liz Prince, me, and Aaron Renier in the back.
This wasn't what I pictured, which would be one person singing in front of everybody else – - instead it was 50 people singing! All crammed in a little room, while one person held the mike. And all fifty of us sang at the top of our lungs! What a blast! I was exhausted by the end of the evening.
Alec Longstreth tearing up the karaoke machine.
Alec again, and just in front of him (to the right) is Liz Prince.
Douglas Wolk, the comics critic and author of Reading Comics, blew the top off the place with his spot-on rendition of Prince's Kiss.
And highlight #2: Meeting Christopher Smith (no relation). Christopher visited me in line on Friday, and came back on Satuday to give me this drawing.
Well, since I began the tour back in October of last year, I've visited 11 countries (Spain & France twice!) simultaneously launched the new colorized version of BONE in 15 launguages, eaten the best meals of my life, finished the 4 issue mini-series SHAZAM! The Monster Society of Evil (the deluxe hard cover comes out TODAY! ), debuted a 6 page preview of RASL, and had a crazy good time.
Many thanks to all the publishers and festivals that hosted me, and special thanks to Kathleen Glosan who spent a year setting everything up, then another year holding it all together.
If you'd like to retrace the World Tour, you can click here.