SPX 2013 ramble.
Secret Acres posted their convention report, so I’ll just link to it and save myself the trouble of writing one of my own (I stole their photo too)*. There’s a snarky comment about how I wasn’t really there, there, anyway, which is pretty on-point I’ll admit.
SPX 2012 was a weird one for me. I’d just moved out of Brooklyn to the suburbs and was a few weeks away from welcoming my second child into the world, and I guess because of those things I felt terribly off. Most cartoonists I know suffer a little social anxiety, but at last year’s convention I got it something awful, and spent a half-hour hiding in my car because I was freaking out about making party conversation. The consensus on 2012 was that it was the best SPX ever, but for me personally, it was not my favorite.
Shortly after that, I made a conscious effort to step back a bit from the whole “comics community” thing, not do any more shows, close my twitter account and put The Ink Panthers Show on hiatus. I just wanted to buckle down and live my life and work on the book I was writing. Hurricane Sandy compounded this feeling of withdrawal. My son was born, I put on some weight, shaved my head, kept working on my story (which has been a tough one to write), and generally attempted to spend less time thinking about what was happening in the Wider World of Comics.
Fast-forward to this past weekend. I had a really great time. My Ink Panthers co-host and platonic life-partner, Alex, took the train down from NYC to meet me in the suburbs, and then we made our way leisurely down the Bethesda. We got on the show floor around 5PM, which was enough time to say our hellos, do a little tour of the aisles, and get ourselves at ease. Then, some dinner, and just some really fun socializing with friends, well into the night. Much later than I think I have ever managed to stay up at a show I believe. A personal record.
Sunday was good too. Breakfast at the hotel buffet, and some hours buying comics and artwork. My preference at shows is to buy prints and handmade objects. Stuff I can bring home and hang around the house or give as gifts to my kids. I got a few cool things at SPX, but I will say to their credit, there wasn’t as much of this stuff as you might find at say, APE, or some other shows. I like buying people’s crafts, but I know sometimes comics-people can get irked when tables are only selling stuff like that, and not a lot of, you know, actual comics. Alex and I left the show around 1:30 and made it back home with enough time and energy left in me to do a little drawing and comics making while I was in the mood.
I think I’m feeling charged up about cartooning again. This all probably has a lot to do with external factors again: my new book is close to done, my family is feeling settled and sorted, I quit eating sugar and am feeling slimmed back down to my pre-Sandy levels. We relaunched The Ink Panthers Show! back in the Spring, and are just enjoying it as a pleasurable thing to do, rather than worrying about “growing the audience” or whatever. I made a new lurker twitter account for the purposes of remaining an individual who is informed about the world around him (how else can people get news these days? What am I going to do? Start watching CNN? Come on, seriously), but I’ve not used it for any actual tweeting yet.
I feel excited about the year to come. I’m feeling proud of my new story, and am looking forward to bringing it out into the world. I’m thinking more about going to more shows again in 2014. SPX this year felt really big, and sprawling, and tough to get a handle on - but it was personally very positive and wonderful and good.
* I guess I have to take it back. Clearly I did end up writing a con-report of my own.