Small Press Expo Announces Nate Powell, Gene Yang, Jim Rugg, Gabrielle Bell, Kickily, Sloane Leong and more as Special Guests for SPX 2017

Small Press Expo has announced its first slate of Special Guests for SPX 2017. The festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday, September 16-17, at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center and will have over 650 creators, 280 exhibitor tables and 22 programming slots to entertain, enlighten and introduce attendees to the amazing world of independent and small press comics.

SPX 2017 is honored to have the following creators as Special Guests to this year’s show:

NATE POWELL is a New York Times best-selling graphic novelist born in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1978. He began self-publishing at age 14, and graduated from School of Visual Arts in 2000.

His work includes March, the graphic novel autobiography of Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis; You Don’t Say, Any Empire, Swallow Me Whole, The Silence Of Our Friends, The Year Of The Beasts, and Rick Riordan’s The Lost Hero.

He lives in Bloomington, Indiana.

GENE LUEN YANG is the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. He has written and drawn many graphic novels, including American Born Chinese, which was a National Book Award finalist, as well as the winner of the Printz Award and an Eisner Award. His graphic novel set Boxers and Saints won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. He has also written for the hit comics Avatar: The Last Airbender and Superman. His latest project is the comics and coding series with Mike Holmes, Secret Coders. geneyang.com. Sunday only

JIM RUGG is an Eisner and Ignatz Award winning cartoonist based in Pittsburgh. His books include Street Angel, the PLAIN Janes, the Guild, Afrodisiac, and Notebook Drawings.

Street Angel, the deadliest girl alive, is back in a series of original hardcover graphic novels from Image Comics and the creative team of Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca. In Street Angel: After School Kung Fu Special, our skateboarding heroine, Jesse Sanchez, faces a ninja bully and battles teen angst over a big school dance. In July, Jesse joins a violent team of troublemakers in the Street Angel Gang.

GABRIELLE BELL’s work has been selected for Best American Comics and the Yale Anthology of Graphic Fiction, and has been featured in McSweeney’s, the Believer, Bookforum, and Vice among numerous other publications. Her story, “Cecil and Jordan In New York,” was turned into a film by Michel Gondry. Bell’s previous graphic novel, The Voyeurs, was named one of the best books of the year by Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, and the Atlantic. She currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. Find her online at gabriellebell.com. Saturday only
Photo by Jordan Guile

After graduating from the Maryland Institute College of Art, SAM BOSMA taught in the Illustration department from 2011 to 2013 before moving to Brooklyn, NY. At SPX 2016, his first volume of Fantasy Sports won the Ignatz Award for Outstanding Comic! He currently does background drawings for Steven Universe on Cartoon Network when not creating comics and graphic novels. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

KICKLIY is the creator of the critically acclaimed Musnet series of books. The Musnet books follow the all-ages adventures of a certain poor Mus Musculous (a common field mouse, for those of you that don’t speak Latin) on his quest to become the greatest mouse painter that ever was.

Musnet was nominated for the 2017 Prix Angouleme for Kids Comics. Kickliy is also an accomplished oil painter. He lives somewhere between Minneapolis and Giverny.

SLOANE LEONG is a cartoonist currently living in Portland, Oregon who has worked for Image Comics, Dark Horse, Cartoon Network and more. Her Ignatz-nominated short comic, A Map to the Sun, will be expanded into a graphic novel and will be published by First Second in 2019. Sloane Leong’s newest comic, A Hollowing, is a lean grim story about a young girl and her horse, the breaking down of performed domesticity and the realization of the horrors of the body.

GILBERT HERNANDEZ is co-creator of the long-running, award-winning, and critically acclaimed series Love and Rockets, which in 2017 celebrates its 35th Anniversary. His books include Marbles, Bumperhead, Luba, Palomar, Speak of the Devil,Love from the Shadows and Girl Crazy. This year, Hernandez designed clothing based on his Love and Rockets characters for men and women available at Pinup Girl.

KEITH KNIGHT, winner of the Glyph, Harvey, and Inkpot Awards, is a spectacular cartoonist whose Knight Life comic strip is read nationwide in such newspapers as the Washington Post. Keef’s funny yet hard-hitting cartoons in his series (T)hink and The K Chronicles led him to be named one of the 2015 NAACP History Makers. Knight is the illustrator of the critically acclaimed tween book, Jake the Fake Keeps It Real. He also has a new collection of Knight Life strips called the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Behind.

Born in Palo Alto and raised in Nashville, award-winning, New-York-Times-bestselling illustrator JANET LEE is best known for her decoupage art technique. Self-taught, Lee has been drawing comics since she was old enough to hold a pencil. After working for more than a decade at the business end of publishing, Lee received her big break with the publication of Return of the Dapper Men. Since then, she has illustrated close to a dozen different books and anthologies. This year, Return of the Dapper Men returns in a new deluxe edition from Top Shelf Productions. Lee still lives and works in Nashville, in a house filled with one husband, one son, two dogs, and four very bad cats.

JIM MCCANN is an award-winning writer of comic books, television, and theatre. He wrote several critically acclaimed Marvel Hawkeye series before branching out into creating his own comics and graphic novels, as well as other projects. His first graphic novel, Return of the Dapper Men, won the Eisner Award for Best Original Graphic Album. He has since gone on to create hit series such as the space-heist Lost Vegas and the ongoing top-rated series Mind the Gap, both published through Image Comics. This year, Return of the Dapper Men returns in a new deluxe edition from Top Shelf Productions.