I've gone to SPX for the past three years, and while it sounds like a negative thing, I'm actually glad to say this has been the first time I wasn't totally overwhelmed as I stepped into the show room Saturday afternoon. I really can't shit on the spirit of SPX, because ultimately, what's so bad about a bunch of people doing what they love without the pressures of big industry to think about? I mean, there are certainly some things which come to mind, but I would never wish for SPX to cease.
What I mean is after coming to SPX several years in a row, seeing table after table of melty neon, screenprinted bicycles, and scribbled heartbreaks just doesn't have the same kick as it used to. The upside to that is after years of all those minis which initially caught my eye and finding that yeah, they're pretty cool but ultimately after one or two reads end up sitting in a pile on the bottom of my book shelf (because is there any accessible way to store a bunch of minis?) I don't feel like I want to/have to take that chance anymore. Partially because I feel like I know what I'm getting into with most of the subject matter and emotionally don't give a shit anymore, but also because I'm seeing many of the same things I've seen in years past AND it's like five bucks more than it used to be. I get the whole "It's the recession and we wanna make a profit, too" bit or whatever, but if mainstream comic readers are gonna shell out four dollars for twenty-two pages of content for their weeklies, how am I supposed to pay ten dollars for your ten page mini? I know it leads to touchy ground when concerning the value of art as an object, craft, time spent and whatever else you wanna talk about, but sometimes you just gotta be like, come on.
Coming from a standpoint of a little bit more discerning tastes, I found, as Sammy said, there were a lot more new ideas present at SPX this year. He mentions the book Remake, which I too think is a great signifier of seeing how artists and writers are applying different methods to tell their stories and create the worlds in which their characters live.
SPEAKING OF WHICH, one of the biggest bummers of SPX for me was being too big a baby to talk to Pendleton Ward, creator of the show Adventure Time who has also done some work on the equally awesome TV series The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack. He wasn't an exhibitor but I saw him walking around the show room. His work as well is definitely in the same vein of the wacky/exciting/hilarious adventure-driven entertainment that kids are enjoying these days, and in a lot of ways I feel like is a return to type of stuff I enjoyed before too many things were just rip offs of rip offs and everyone was afraid of negatively influencing our young, impressionable minds.
I had seen one of the panels that C.F. did for this floating around the internet about a month ago, so I was really psyched to get this and see what it was all about. I read a couple Simpsons comics and books when I was younger, so I thought it'd be awesome to see what these artists could do for them. There are shorter, one page gags as well as some longer stories, but there's really not a notably bad one in the bunch-- a difficult feat for most anthologies.
Think Bart the General times ten, only made by talented people. (If you haven't seen that, just skip to the 3 minute mark and watch to the end to get the idea.)
I had been waiting for Matt Furie's third installment of Boy's Club to come out since I finished reading the last one almost a year ago. Every issue perfectly captures that all too real absurdity of what happens when any group of friends live together and end up being way too comfortable and real with each other.
This is the first issue which is one long story, rather than the last two which are broken up into strips or shorter vignettes, and I have to say, I liked the chopped up format better. I think that sort of rapid fire, ADD quality suits his humor better because each punchline comes from out of nowhere, like say when someone taps you on the shoulder and then when you look there's a butt in your face. I'm also a huge fan of anything that uses internets humor beyond thinking it's awesome to make an ironic lolcat joke. It's no surprise then that "Feels good man" became a meme (nevermind that article, just check out the images), and that he's adopted putting on sunglasses as a way to make anything a million times funnier (PS: It does).