Jen Sorensen and me at AAN 2005 in San Diego
In my bid to become a slightly less obscure alternative lefty political cartoonist, I attend as many cartooning-related events as possible, from AAEC and AAN to MOCCA, SPX and WAM, among other exciting acronyms. I go partly to hawk my wares (hint, hint) and meet potential fans and editors, but mostly to hang with other cartoonists, talk shop, rant, commiserate, and drink (I'm a lightweight, especially when compared with other cartoonists, but I can manage a weak vodka tonic or two).
Anyway, this past weekend was a pleasant nonexception to that pattern. Masheka Wood (who was attending his first cartoon convention as an exhibitor) and I caught a ride from Brooklyn down to Bethesda with Brian McFadden (of Big Fat Whale fame), who in addition to being a damn funny guy has excellent taste in music (Magnetic Fields, Pixies, the Clash, etc.) On arrival we discovered that we were sharing a table with one of my all-time cartooning heroes/idols, Keith Knight (here's a picture of Keith, me, and Masheka I found via Wasp). Not only that, but we were set up directly across from Harvey Pekar (of American Splendor fame)! Craziness, I tell you!
Most of the exhibitors at the Small Press Expo draw comic books and graphic novels, not weekly political strips, but I still got plenty of love. My enthusiastic sales technique did cause me to almost entirely lose my voice by weekend's end, but it was worth it, as I sold quite a few copies of my new cartoon collectionette, "Good News".
Us alt-weekly cartoonists tend to travel in packs, so in the evenings Masheka and I of course had to hang with Brian, Keith, Jen Sorensen, Matt Bors (goddamn if he isn't as funny in real life as in his cartoons) and August Pollak. And since most of us are Campus Progress cartoonists, you can see photos of our respective booths on the Campus Progress blog. Outside of the altie political clique, I also got to chat with both Nicholas Gurewitch (creator of the twisted and amazing Perry Bible Fellowship) and fellow glasses-wearing New Yorker Alec Longstreth, both of whom won well-deserved Ignatz Awards Saturday night.
I had intended to put in an appearance at the big anti-war protests in nearby DC, but at the last minute I got invited to present one of the Ignatzes, which are a Big Deal. Of course no one in the alternative-comics world had any idea who I was, but maybe that was a good thing, because my voice sounded like I was being strangled, and I forgot to research how to pronounce the names of nominees (such as winner Kevin Huizenga). But it was still fun, especially since Keith emceed the event and required all winners and presenters to down a shot of tequila. Keith himself had about 8 or 9 shots in a half hour--you can see the effects here (scroll down). I didn't have any tequila, but Alec Longstreth's speech almost made me cry anyway.
Oh, and Masheka, Keith and I got to visit with SPX staffer Warren Bernard, who has the most amazing home personal cartoon collection (hundreds and hundreds of books, many of them rare and out of print, many of them signed... totally crazy and awesome!). All in all, an awesome, if exhausting weekend. For more SPX photos and coverage, see the indispensable ComicsReporter.
AAEC and AAN 2005
- Both of these conventions took place way back in June, but I've been busy. I don't have time to describe the fun in detail, but here are two short photo galleries:
- AAEC 2005 (Sacramento) slideshow, featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger (a convention guest speaker), Steve Notley, Ted Rall, Mark Fiore, Leilah Rampa, Clay Bennett, Cindy Procious, Morrie Turner and many more.
- AAN 2005 (San Diego) slideshow, featuring Jen Sorensen, Ted Rall, Andy Singer, Max Cannon and more.