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Small Press Expo Announces Joel Christian Gill, Ashley Robin Franklin, Walter Scott and Matt Madden as Special Guests for SPX 2021

Small Press Expo has announced the second group of Special Guests for SPX 2021. The virtual festival takes place on Saturday September 18 with live and pre-recorded programming about the amazing world of independent and small press comics, as well as a livestream of the annual Ignatz Awards. Additional Special Guests will be announced over the next few weeks.

Joel Christian Gill

SPX 2021 has revealed the following creators as Special Guests to this year’s show:

Joel Christian Gill

For the third book in the bestselling Tales of the Talented Tenth series, Joel Christian Gill brings Robert Smalls to life by telling the true story of the enslaved African who pulled off one of the most daring and largest heists of the Civil War. Come along for the adventure as Robert earns a job working for the C.S.S. Planter, escapes to freedom, goes on to become a first-generation Black politician, and makes history by writing and leading the passage of legislation that led to the United States’ first free and compulsory public school system. Tales of the Talented Tenth is a historical comic series that focuses on the adventures of amazing African Americans in action.


Ashley Robin Franklin

Ashley Robin Franklin

Fusing sexual intimacy with cosmic dread, Ashley Robin Franklin’s latest work, a queer horror tale One Millions Tiny Fires from Silver Sprocket follows Briana and Cassie, a couple in an isolated Texas farmhouse, whose rural fantasy has soured into a tense nightmare.

After discovering an unknown object that had crash landed from the sky, Briana begins to suspect that something uncanny is happening to her partner.


Walter Scott

Walter Scott

Wendy is an aspiring contemporary artist whose adventures have taken her to galleries, art openings, and parties in Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Toronto. In Wendy, Master of Art from Drawn & Quarterly, Walter Scott’s sly wit and social commentary zero in on MFA culture as our hero decides to hunker down and complete a master of fine arts at the University of Hell in small-town Ontario.

At its heart, this is a book about the give and take of community—about someone learning how to navigate empathy and boundaries, and to respect herself. It is deeply funny and endlessly relatable as it shows Wendy growing up from Millennial art party girl to successful artist, friend, teacher—and Master of Art.


Matt Madden

Matt Madden

Matt Madden’s most recent book, Ex Libris from Uncivilized Books, revolves around a character trapped in a room with nothing but a futon and a bookcase full of comics. As they peruse covers, read stories and fragments of stories, they begin to suspect that the comics contain hidden messages and… a threat. Fiction and reality blur; sanity and madness become increasingly intertwined as the reader becomes convinced the key to their predicament hides between the panels of the strange books.

With a dizzying array of inventive visual and narrative styles, Ex Libris continues the line of exploration and play that Madden initiated with 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style. Ex Libris is a tribute to the meta-fictional tradition of writers like Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar, Vladimir Nabokov, and Italo Calvino.

Almost American

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