Small Press Expo Announces Programming Slate for SPX 2010

by Jeff

jan101200 Small Press Expo Announces Programming Slate for SPX 2010Media Release — The Small Press Expo (SPX), the preeminent showcase for the exhibition of independent comics, graphic novels and alternative political cartoons, is pleased to announce its slate of programming for SPX 2010. SPX is presenting a program of some of the most insightful, thought provoking interviews and panel discussions in comics today, assembled by comics curator, teacher and author Bill Kartalopoulos.

Spotlight one on ones will be held with James Sturm and Jaime Hernandez, as well as discussions on comics with Gary Groth, Kate Beaton, R. Sikoryak and Emmy Award winner Dean Haspiel, amongst others. The Center for Cartoon Studies will again hold a comics workshop and there will be a panel on Comics For Younger Readers with such notable creators as Raina Telgemeier and the Metaphrog team.

Below is a complete description of all of the Spotlights, Panels and Workshops. The schedule in grid form may be seen at the SPX web site at

SPX will be held Saturday, September 11 from 11AM to 7PM and Sunday, September 12, noon-6PM at The North Bethesda Marriott Convention Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Admission is $10 for a single day and $15 for both days.


Comics and Worldbuilding
1:00 | Brookside Conference Room
This panel will consider the challenge of developing original settings for comics, individual artistic processes, and how the medium of comics is particularly well-suited to creating convincing invented worlds. Evan Dahm will lead a conversation with Liz Baillie, Aaron Diaz, Carla Speed McNeil and Spike Trotman.

spx Small Press Expo Announces Programming Slate for SPX 2010Spotlight: James Sturm
1:30 | White Flint Amphitheater
James Sturm is the author of several comics and graphic novels including The Golem’s Mighty Swing, Unstable Molecules, James Sturm’s America, and Market Day. He is also the founder of the Center for Cartoon Studies, a unique two-year degree granting institution dedicated to cartooning. In this spotlight presentation, Sturm will discuss his work and answer questions from moderator Chris Mautner.

A Conversation About Daniel Clowes
2:00 | Brookside Conference Room
Daniel Clowes has long been one of America’s premier cartoonists, and his work has caught the public eye again with the 2010 publication of his graphic novel Wilson. Ken Parille and Isaac Cates, co-editors of the recent anthology Daniel Clowes: Conversations (University Press of Mississippi) will discuss Clowes’s art and career with moderator Bill Kartalopoulos.

Carousel at SPX
2:30 | White Flint Amphitheater
The long running slide show series, Carousel, returns with some of today’s finest comics artists, graphic novelists, and pencil pushers reading and presenting their work. Hosted by R. Sikoryak, this special SPX edition of Carousel will feature Kate Beaton, Dean Haspiel, Lizz Hickey, and more!

Critics’ Panel: How We Judge
3:00 | Brookside Conference Room
The accessibility of online publishing alongside traditional media has enabled a diversity of critical voices who are addressing the broad spectrum of comics being published today. A diverse group of critics will discuss the disparate bases for their own critical opinions, and the extent to which they regard different kinds of work in different ways. Join moderator Bill Kartalopoulos for a discussion with Johanna Draper Carlson (Comics Worth Reading), Gary Groth (The Comics Journal), Tim Hodler (Comics Comics), Chris Mautner (Robot 6), Joe McCulloch (Jog the Blog/Comics Comics), Ken Parille (Blog Flume), and Caroline Small (The Hooded Utilitarian).

Center for Cartoon Studies Self-Publishing Workshop
3:30 | White Flint Amphitheater
Robyn Chapman, Jon Chad and Alec Longstreth join us from The Center for Cartoon Studies, a two-year college for budding cartoonists in White River Junction, Vermont. Alec will offer a short presentation chock full of self-publishing tips. Afterwards, each participant will draw, fold and bind a comic using the Hidden Book format. This simple process allows you to create an 8-page comic with a single piece of paper. No matter what your experience level, you’ll leave this workshop with your own handmade minicomic!

Remembering Harvey Pekar
4:00 | Brookside Conference Room
When comics writer Harvey Pekar died in July 2010, he left behind an influential legacy of independent autobiographical comics that highlighted the forgotten moments and ignored people of everyday life. In this special panel event, a group of Pekar’s former collaborators will discuss their experiences of working with the creator of American Splendor. Heidi MacDonald will moderate this conversation with Vanessa Davis, Dean Haspiel, Jeff Newelt, Rick Parker, Ed Piskor, and Sean Pryor.

Spotlight: Jamie Hernandez
4:30 | White Flint Amphitheater
The 1982 publication of Jaime, Gilbert and Mario Hernandez’s Love and Rockets #1 by Fantagraphics virtually created the model for the post-underground alternative comic book series that characterized art-comics for nearly two decades. In the intervening years, Jaime Hernandez has emerged as one of the most distinctive visual stylists and compelling storytellers in modern comics, as he crafts the still-continuing saga of Hopey, Maggie, and his other post-punk Locas. Publisher and editor Gary Groth will ask Jaime about his art and life in this special spotlight session.

Comics for Younger Readers
5:00 | Brookside Conference Room
Book-length comics for younger readers are increasingly following graphic novels for adults into the bookstore and library shelves. Johanna Draper Carlson will discuss the pleasures and challenges of creating comics for younger readers with the collaborative duo Metaphrog, Aaron Renier, Raina Telgemeier, and Drew Weing.

Return of the Monster: The Fort Thunder Legacy
5:30 | White Flint Amphitheater
From 1995 to 2001, the Fort Thunder artists’ and performance space in Providence, Rhode Island was a fertile creative center. Work produced by artists living at the Fort – both at the time and in the years since it was shut down – has been enormously influential in the worlds of fine art, music, and comics. A new issue of the de facto Fort Thunder anthology Monster debuts at this year’s SPX. To mark the occasion, Bill Kartalopoulos will moderate a discussion with artists and former Fort Thunder residents Brian Ralph and Paul Lyons and publisher/editors Tom Devlin and Dan Nadel.


Telling Stories
12:30 | White Flint Amphitheater
How do creators shape inspiration and life experience into memorable stories and characters? Join moderator Heidi MacDonald for a lively discussion about vision and process with a panel of cartoonists including Meredith Gran, Roger Langridge and Jon Lewis.

Teaching Comics
1:00 | Brookside Conference Room
Comics have increasingly gained a berth as the subject of courses within the academy, and classes about comics production are increasingly a part of studio art departments. What do students need to know about comics? To what extent do studio art students need to know about comics history and theory, and to what extent do humanities students need to know about the practice of comics production? Professors Marc Singer and Isaac Cates join Center for Cartoon Studies founder James Sturm for a conversation moderated by Bill Kartalopoulos.

Kate Beaton and Julia Wertz in Conversation
1:30 | White Flint Amphitheater
Two of the most popular and entertaining cartoonists of their generation, Kate Beaton and Julia Wertz have both attracted dedicated audiences online with their uniquely humorous comics. This special conversation moderated by Dustin Harbin will investigate the similarities and differences between the creators of Hark, A Vagrant! and The Fart Party.

Brave New Comic Strips
2:00 | Brookside Conference Room
The newspaper industry, long the home of American comics’ first popular dedicated format, faces an existential crisis presented by the emergence and proliferation of digital media. Against all odds, artists interested in the daily strip format continue to produce work with an eye for print. Mike Rhode will discuss the present and the future of the newspaper comic strip with Marguerite Dabaie, Keith Knight, and Richard Thompson.

Developing Iconographies
2:30 | White Flint Amphitheater
Distinct from drawing as an art discipline with its own self-ratifying purpose, artists in comics create pictures as part of a visual language. Moderator Ken Parille will investigate the ways in which comics artists develop visual iconographies in individual works and throughout bodies of work. Cartoonists Eamon Espey, Kevin Huizenga, and Tom Kaczynski will participate in this discussion, illustrated with slides of the artists’ work.

Autobiography in Pieces
3:00 | Brookside Conference Room
How do you tell the story of a life that’s still in progress? Is “story” even the right way to think about it? How do you winnow down the manifold details and data of your life? Cartoonists Sarah Becan, Gabrielle Bell, Vanessa Davis, and Jesse Reklaw will discuss alternatives to the memoir with moderator Isaac Cates.

R. Sikoryak: Adaptation and Parody
3:30 | White Flint Amphitheater
Comics chameleon R. Sikoryak inventively adapts canonical Western literature using the visual styles and characters of historical American comic books and comic strips. These works have been collected in his 2009 book Masterpiece Comics (Drawn and Quarterly). Sikoryak will reveal his intensive working process and will discuss the history of parody and adaptation in comics in a discussion with Bill Kartalopoulos, curator of the recent exhibit “R. Sikoryak: How Classics and Cartoons Collide.”

Commercial Eruptions
4:00 | Brookside Conference Room
Jim Rugg (Street Angel, Afrodisiac) and Frank Santoro (Storeyville, Cold Heat) have produced auteurial work that shows the influence of commercial comics, and have brought an independent sensibility to work for publishers like Marvel Comics. In a conversation moderated by Tim Hodler, the two cartoonists will reflect on what they have learned from the contents and processes of historical commercial comics and how they reinterpret their influences when working for corporate publishers.

Comics and Printmaking
4:30 | White Flint Amphitheater
Comics have historically been a medium of work made for reproduction, but the means of reproduction have often constrained by technical and commercial limitations. Even as new digital technologies have broadened technical possibilities, a number of cartoonists are exploring the possibilities of reproducing work using traditional printing techniques including silkscreening and etching. Noel Freibart, Lizz Hickey, Brian Ralph and Jon Vermilyea will discuss the relationship between comics and printmaking with moderator Bill Kartalopoulos.

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