SPX Day One: God, Look at this Haul / by Alex Jarvis

If there was ever a convention made for Spandexless, it is the Small Press Expo. The Bethesda North Mariott Convention Center was packed to the brim upon our arrival (a little late, wearied from the long bus ride that we took from New York) and as soon as we were in, we were knee-deep in pure, attendence-record-breaking comic love. "Somehow," my wallet feels lighter.

I spent the entire day doing something that I truly enjoy; meeting people that I respect, whose work I appreciate, and who earnestly love and enjoy their work. I got to sit down with Charles Bernstein of the Comic Book League Defense Fund to talk about the first amendment, Spider Jerusalem, and the power of the static image. The interview will be up this coming week, and I think you are going to love it.

I met so many creators today, many of which I am going to corner tomorrow for interviews to feed you throughout the week. Have something you'd like me to ask? Tweet us @Spandexless and let us know!

The Ignatz Awards were tonight as well, and with them a series of interesting announcements. One of the most interesting for fans of comics escaping the cape and cowl was the announcement that SPX will be teaming with Library of Congress to preserve indie comics, an unprecedented move. SPX confirmed that they will catalogue the Ignatz winners this year (including the digital winners),and will hopefully be expanding to all the nominees. The ultimate goal is to create a comprehensive catalogue of indie comics from online and print, not just nominees and winners. No further details were given, but this is a fantastic move towards preserving things that are not easily or often preserved outside of the circle of collectors.

In other SPX news, it was announced that they will be expanding the hall next year by 50%, including wider aisles and no right angle tables (a problem I didn't think about until it was announced to be fixed).

The awards (summarised by host Dustin Harbin as a "Miniature United Nations Thunderdome") were fantastic, starting off with one of my personal favorites, Box Brown's Ben Died of A Train. Brown, who I am hoping to speak more to tomorrow (and who I made a complete fool of myself in front of today; Hey, Ben. I won't freak out when I recognize you next time!), won twice tonight, both for Best Mini Comic (Ben Died of a Train, about his close friend's death), and also for Outstanding Series for his Everything Dies series. Check it out, guys. It is great.

Kate Beaton, creator of Hark! A Vagrant is another favorite of mine and was the winner of the Outstanding Online Comic award.

But the fan-favorite was definitely the winner for Promising New Talent, Darryl Ayo Brathwaite. He was actually sitting right in front of us with both his mom and his Godmother who came out to support him. Congratulations, dude!

Look below for the entire list of winners; Congratulations to the whole lot.

Beth and I are now beyond tired, enjoying some whiskey sours thanks to the generous donation of drink tickets from a fantastic creator who will remain unnamed (just in case he wasn't supposed to share). Thanks, you handsome devil. We'll be processing today's take while enjoying the latest They Might Be Giants album. Put more simply, we're going to read through some of the best comics these creators have to offer, and then we're going to get to write about them for your amusement. See how we dance for you!

Thanks, SPX. I'll see you tomorrow.


2011 SPX Ignatz Award Winners

* Outstanding Mini Comic: Ben Died of a Train, Box Brown

* Outstanding Anthology or Collection: I Will Bite You, Joseph Lambert

* Outstanding Online Comic: Hark! A Vagrant, Kate Beaton

* Promising New Talent: Darryl Ayo Brathwaite, House of Twelve Monthly #3

* Outstanding Story: Browntown, Jaime Hernandez

* Outstanding Series: Everything Dies, Box Brown

* Outstanding Comic: Michael DeForge, Lose #3

* Outsanding Graphic Novel: Gaylord Phoenix, Edie Fake

* Outstanding Artist: I Will Bite You, Joseph Lambert