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Smudge Comics Art Expo 2014, Virginia and DC’s Newest Comic Show!

Taking place on March 8, Smudge Comics Art Expo is the newest comic convention in the Washington, DC area. The show took place in Arlington, Virginia at the Artisphere an arts venue that Arlington hasn’t quite figured out what to do with. I’ve never been to the facility, though I live in walking distance, but I felt that it was a good opportunity to check it out, as well as the show.

First, the venue is fantastic. Located close to the metro, it’s convenient for anyone to get to. The staff was beyond enthusiastic, showing an appreciation for the event taking place. There’s numerous art galleries allowing folks attending the show the ability to check out some fine art too. The space has theaters and classrooms, allowing a show like Smudge to not only have vendors, but also put on various classes, something the show did. I’d love to see more comic related events at the space, it seems like it’s something they’d not only enjoy, but they’d be excited for as well.

The show itself was small, something I expected the first time. With about 44 creators showing off their comics and more, the layout was a bit odd with a main entrance space and a dozen tables, then a larger space and another 20 something spaces. There was then a balcony and about 8 folks there. I’m not quite sure what I’d do different, and not knowing the full layout of the facility, it’s hard to fault the show creators for how they used the space.

The creators were very independent, and some I recognized from past shows I attended. Much of the material sold seemed to be more mature, which was the downside, because a lot of those in attendance were kids. And there were a lot of classroom events that were geared towards kids as well. So, in the future a better balance of material for them would be nice. There was things for them, but there was a lot of material there that’d be a bit hard to explain as a parent.

Throughout the show there was music playing and classes about how to make comics, or webcomics, or about editorial cartooning. There was also a nice area for kids to be creative and create comics from existing materials. Overall, there were a lot of kids, which is fantastic to see.

The two big pickups for me was a female empowerment comic called Penny & Angie by T Campbell and Gisele Lagace and an 8 page preview of BOOM!’s upcoming BOOM! Box comic Lumberjanes (a series I’m looking forward to).

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For a first year, FREE show, it was quite worth checking out. I can’t wait to see how the show grows next year (crossing my fingers there is one). It’d be great to see more mini shows at this location showing off the local comic scene. Overall, this was a great start.

Check out some photos of the show I took below:

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