Tag Archives: spx

Around the Tubes

We’re recovering from Small Press Expo a fantastic show that’s a yearly reminder of the amazing and diverse amount of comics out there. We’ll have our thoughts this week but for now, here’s comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

NewsOK – Oklahoma educator earns scholarship with comic book proposal – Very Cool to see this.

Washington Post – Meet Captain South Africa; she’d rather not punch criminals – Might have to check this out.

WVLT – Comic book stores give away free comics to Florence evacuees – This is great to see, the community helping out. Go support these shops!

DC Comics – Breaking News: Cassandra Jean Amell Joins the Arrowverse As Nora Fries – Interesting…

DC Comics – Breaking News: The Arrowverse Finds its Lois Lane – She looks the part.

Smash Pages – SPX, TCJ, OMG: A Hot Take – If you want to read another take other than our own…

Smash Pages – Marvel cancels Cain, Mohan, Koch’s ‘The Vision’ miniseries – Sigh…

The Comichron – Fantastic Four #1 leads August 2018 comics sales; market up 4%, Marvel up 22% – It’s doomed! DOOMED!

 

Reviews

Talking Comics – Elric: The White Wolf #1

Talking Comics – Fantastic Four #2

Comic Attack – Stranger Things #1

Review: Survive 300 Million 1

With Small Press Expo this weekend, we’re reviewing some of the comics that’ll be debuting at this year’s show!

Published by Retrofit Comics, Survive 300 Million 1 by Pat Aulisio is about a father and son team, Axel and Blaze, traverse the post-man ruinscape of the future. They stumble upon an advance reptilian base in the dulce mountains and have to face the inhabitants within.

What do we think? Find out!

You can purchase your own copy directly from Retrofit!

Review: The Prince

With Small Press Expo this weekend, we’re reviewing some of the comics that’ll be debuting at this year’s show!

Published by Retrofit Comics, The Prince by Liam Cobb is a trippy horror story that follows May, who is going through a bad marriage, but forms an unlikely friendship with a frog, who mysteriously turns up at her apartment as things between her and her husband deteriorate. Part animal comedy, part erotic thriller, The Prince is a strange, vengeful love story that tells the story of a woman and her pet.

What do we think? Find out!

You can purchase your own copy directly from Retrofit!

Amazon Isn’t Indie and Small Press’ Enemy, It’s Another Platform to Sell

If you read The Comics Journal, it might seem like one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse was descending on Small Press Expo which takes place in Bethesda, Maryland this weekend. In an article entitled “A Plague Comes to SPX” RJ Casey makes the case that Amazon and comiXology‘s involvement in the show is an “affront” to those who attend and exhibit at the show.

comiXology is a digital platform that acts as a storefront for digital comics and was purchased by Amazon some years ago. Since then, the company has expanded allowing individual creators to upload their comics to sell through comiXology Submit and more recently launched a line of original comics called comiXology Originals.

Amazon and comiXology are bringing one of those originals, Hit Reblog, to SPX along with some of the creative team behind it and giving away printed copies to attendees. They’re also sponsoring portions of the convention.

Some feared when comiXology was acquired Amazon they would flex their market dominance putting pressure on publishers and brick and mortar stores. In the years since the focus has been more on experimentation and slowly integrating the service into the Amazon family such as Amazon Prime and Kindle. Even before Amazon, comiXology was the 800lb gorilla in the digital comics market and at any time could have easily become a tyrant with their exclusive contracts and market dominance. Though there were alternatives earlier and after, they remain the gold standard service by which all others will be measured. None have come close to matching what comiXology delivers.

While it is understandable to be nervous about Amazon’s entrance into the comics market and apprehensive due to their questionable treatment of employees, reality is their store had already been in the comic market for years selling individual comics and graphic novels and accounting for an unknown, but vital, amount of sales. Well before comiXology, Amazon had a section dedicated to comics with regular promotion and since the acquisition, those promotions have become better focused and better curated running appropriate sales during events such as San Diego Comic-Con and Small Press Expo raising awareness. ComiXology Originals are free to read for Amazon Prime a service millions are already paying for.

While the TCJ article spends a decent amount of time advocating for the rights of Amazon employees, its actual focus on the comics aspect seems to fall short in both facts and conclusions.

The fear seems to be, Amazon sponsorship of Small Press Expo is a trojan horse to take over independent comics as if there is one publisher by which that can be accomplished. The article and those concerned supporting it make indie and small press comics out to be both on the edge of collapse, easily broken, and also so lucrative that Amazon of course would want to snatch it up. It’s Schroedinger’s business. Both fragile and also immensely successful as is.

What the article fails to mention is that Amazon is already in the small press comic game and has been for years as both a platform and a publisher. Not only can creators self publish through their many services but the company also has Jet City Comics launched in 2013. They were already in the original comics publishing game well before the comiXology acquisition and that included distribution through comic stores. For a behemoth that is portrayed as so focused on closing brick and mortar stores, it’s strange that in their business model of their own comic line would include brick and mortar stores.

The article claims that Amazon wants to be “your printer, distributor, and most likely, publisher and editor.” As stated by Bedside Press‘ founder Hope Nicholson, Hit Reblog is published and owned by Bedside Press, not comiXology and not Amazon. An attack on the comic is an attack on a small press comic company. Similarly, Savage Game, the first comiXology Original comic to be printed, is owned by Cryptozoic.

Amazon and comiXology are the distributor and printer at most, very different than other comic publishers and more akin to a combination of Diamond Comic Distributors, the monopoly that currently is the major comic distribution service, and a possible printing company. Honestly in a way they’re like Image, a brand that comes with some benefits but in the end are creator owned. comiXology Originals sound more like paid for exclusives, a value added for comiXology and Amazon Prime customers and subscribers. They’re also willing to sink money into promoting comic projects featuring varied subjects and different creative voices that we don’t normally hear from other publishers.

The article also mentions a hit on “artistic freedom and intent” with a focus on the paper on which the comics are printed. While different printings can create a different reading experience, the focus on this, much as the article as a whole, screams of elitist gatekeeping as if there is one way to print a comic. ComiXology is providing these creators, and all of those that participate in comiXology Submit, a creator owned platform and the ability to do as they please with a possible visibility that can’t be replicated by any current comic publisher or distribution system. Amazon for years has provided print on demand services and it’s only natural that this be incorporated into this latest experiment of theirs.

As C. Spike Trotman emphasized in the comiXology Originals San Diego Comic-Con announcement panel, the ability to work with comiXology and Amazon is a value added and provides an opportunity to open doors. These are opportunities that might not exist to her as an already successful independent comic publisher (one who has been a regular at SPX for years). This is a comic creator who has raised over $1 million on Kickstarter. Trotman pointed out despite that success some doors are still closed to her. Amazon and comiXology are partners to possibly help open some and explore others neither have ever imagined.

With those incorrect conclusions and facts, the TCJ article warns of dire times when Amazon will force indie creators to print through them and undercuts creators through their platform. As if there’s not other on demand printing options and also downplays the do-it-youself nature of indie comics.

The reality is, a sale on Amazon because an individual saw the comic at a convention is still a sale. Yes, the creator will make less, but they’re still making money that most likely will have never been made otherwise. Conventions like SPX are as much about visibility and advertising as they’re about direct sales to the consumer. Conventions are about raising awareness and getting on attendees’ radars. That fee for the table, that’s the advertising fee. What you make there is some of which you make back immediately from that advertising. And Amazon’s cut of the sales through their platform? That’s no different than selling through Diamond or to comic shops directly or through Kickstarter or Etsy or Indiegogo which all take their piece of the pie. Amazon and comiXology are the technology platform through which these individuals can sell their wares globally and if done right get their creations before an audience that might not otherwise see them. That’s something TCJ’s parent Fantagraphics should be well aware as they use both Amazon and comiXology as two of their sales channels. It’s not an either or, it’s an all of the above to sell comics.

But where the article absolutely fails is its advocacy for attendees to throw copies of Hit Reblog in the trash. As if that comic is less worthy to be at the show than any other. TCJ seems to forget that the beauty of small press and indie comics is that anyone can make them. The paper it’s printed on, the format it comes in, and the ability of the creators are varied. Indie comics and small press are all an experiment. None of it is right, none of it is wrong. No one can “own” small press and indie comics because anyone can create them. Walk up and down the aisles at Small Press Expo and you can see that from the high quality books published by the likes of Fantagraphics, Drawn & Quarterly, and Top Shelf, to the comics xeroxed, stapled, and folded by the attendees themselves. RJ Casey, TCJ, and Fantagraphics has seem to have forgotten this and are becoming the gatekeepers they themselves would have decried years ago.

Rebecca Sugar is Coming to the Small Press Expo

The Small Press Expo is VERY excited to have Rebecca Sugar at this years show. Given her stature in the world of TV animation, to accommodate the expected interest in her panel at this years show,admission to The Universes of Rebecca Sugar panel on Saturday at 3pm in the White Oak Room will require a pink wristband for entry.

  • Wristbands are free with admission and available first come, first served when picking up your admission badge on Saturday morning, until they are gone
  • When picking up your admission badge, you must ask for a pink wristband
  • Wristbands are limited to one per person
  • You must be present to get a wristband, someone else cannot get a pink wristband for you.

Lines for admission badges will form in the exhibit hall foyer beginning at 10:00am Saturday morning. This applies to both e-ticket admission redemption or admission purchased at the door; you must be in the admissions line to request a wristband.

E-ticket holders who do not want a pink wristband will have the opportunity to be checked in from their place in line by floating volunteers to avoid long wait times for admission.

Exhibitors/volunteers/VIPs and members of the Press that have already registered may queue in the admissions line beginning at 10:00AM to pick up a wristband.

The line to enter the panel will form downstairs outside of the Linden Oak Room beginning at 2pm. Volunteers with signs will guide you into the line.

All panels are recorded and available on the SPX youtube channel a few days following the show.

Rebecca will also be doing two books signings, Saturday from 1:00PM-2:00PM and Sunday from 1:00PM-2:00PM. The signings will be at table W85, with a line forming outside the doors to the ballroom closest to her tables.

Review: All the Sad Songs

With Small Press Expo coming up, we’re reviewing some of the comics that’ll be debuting at this year’s show!

Published by Retrofit Comics, All the Sad Songs is the first full-length graphic memoir from Summer Pierre that takes us on a journey through the soundtracks that shaped her and remind us of the power of music.

What do we think? Find out!

You can purchase your own copy directly from Retrofit!

ComiXology Originals sponsors SPX 2018 & Spotlights Hit Reblog Print-on-Demand

ComiXology has announced that they will be featuring comiXology Originals’ new Print-on-Demand edition of Hit Reblog: Comics That Caught Fire at Small Press Expo 2018. Megan Kearney, writer and artist of Hit Reblog will be signing FREE copies of the Print-on-Demand edition and a limited edition poster, on a first come, first served basis, Saturday 9/15, and Sunday 9/16, from 1-2pm ET at SPX table # J7A. There will also be a special Hit Reblog signing with Megan Kearny and Shen TFriday 9/14 at 7pm exclusively for SPX exhibitors, special guests, and volunteers. Megan Kearney will be tabling at #J7A all weekend long.

Fans not in attendance at the Small Press Expo can still order the Print-on-Demand edition of Hit Reblog: Comics That Caught Fire, available Wednesday 9/12, exclusively on Amazon.com.

This year, comiXology Originals is the proud sponsor of this year’s Small Press Expo, which includes sponsorship of Programming PanelsComics Workbook Workshops, and more. Small Press Expo takes place September 15, from 11am-7pm ET and September 16, from Noon-6pm ET in Bethesda, Maryland at the Marriott North Bethesda Hotel & Conference Center.

Hit Reblog: Comics That Caught Fire
Written and illustrated by Megan Kearney, edited by Hope Nicholson

Hit Reblog: Comics That Caught Fire showcases the viral sensations of the webcomics world and the true stories behind their creators. Follow the ups and downs of internet fame, from IP theft to book deals, and all the trials of becoming an overnight sensation after gaining 10,000 reblogs in a single night. Learn about the origins behind the hit comic strips “This is Fine”, “All Houses Matter”, “No Take, Only Throw”, and frequently-viral webcomics such as Owlturd, Cyanide and Happiness, False Knees, and Poorly Drawn Lines. Each of the twenty artists featured includes a biographical intro by award-winning comic artist Megan Kearney (Disney Princess, The Secret Loves of Geek Girls).

Hit Reblog: Comics That Caught Fire includes comics by webcomic superstars: Anelien, Joshua Barkman, Rob Denbleyker, Adam Ellis, Reza Farazmand, Nick Franco, Craig Froehle, KC Green, Ryan Harby, Maya Kern, Fran Krause, Dami Lee, David Malki!, Dave Mcelfatrick, Alex Norris, Branson Reese, Nick Seluk, Katie Shanahan, Brandon Sheffield, Shen, Kris Straub, and Zach Weinersmith, Kris Wilson. Edited by Hope Nicholson of the multi Eisner-award nominated publisher Bedside Press.

  • Collection 120pg – $6.99 on Kindle and comiXology
  • Free to read for members of Amazon Prime, Kindle Unlimited and comiXology Unlimited
  • Available in print September 12th for $9.99 as a Print-on-Demand graphic novel exclusively on Amazon.com

Small Press Expo Announces the Debut Comics Making Their Way to the Show

Small Press Expo has announced that nearly 200 books and comics will debut at the 2018 festival. The festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday, September 15-16, at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center and will have over 650 creators, 280 exhibitor tables and 22 programming slots to introduce attendees to the amazing world of independent and small press comics.

A complete list of debuts, including cover images and publishing information, can be found on the SPX web site.

SPX 2018 is proud to list a highlighted selection of books debuting this year:

Bastard

After taking part in a historic heist — 52 simultaneous robberies at the same time, in the same city — May and Eugene are now on the run not only from the law and double-crossed former accomplices, but also their violent past. In a surprising twist, these criminals are the unlikely pairing of a young mother and her preteen son. Thus begins the intense, yet touching, Bastard, Max de RadiguèsFantagraphics debut.

The Nib Magazine #1

Acclaimed daily comic publisher focusing on current events, The Nib is launching their first ever printed works. With brand-new, original comics from over 20 top-notch artists, the Death issue shares intimate personal stories, dark humor and thought-provoking reporting on the facts of life and death. Compiled and edited by The Nib‘s Matt Bors

Space Academy 123

Surviving school is tough; now imagine peer pressure and midterms while hurtling through the vacuum of space. Mickey Zacchilli blends Starfleet with Degrassi to make a classroom saga that recalls manga, Sunday funnies and composition book epics scrawled while ignoring the periodic table.

Blame This on the Boogie

Blame this on the Boogie chronicles the adventures of a Filipino American girl born in the decade of disco who escapes life’s hardships and mundanity through the genre’s feel good song and dance numbers. Rina Ayuyang explores how the glowing charm of the silver screen can transform one’s reality, shaping their approach to childhood, relationships, sports, reality TV, and eventually politics, parenthood, and mortality.

120 Project Anthology

A collection of short stories by writers and artists from across the country, this timely and punchy anthology explores contemporary issues, conflicts, and dialogues about race, gender, politics, diversity, discrimination, equality, activism, police brutality, free speech, family values, protest, immigration, bans, legislation, fear, hope, dreams, and current American reality. All contributors lent their time and artistry to this endeavor, and all proceeds will go to the ACLU. Edited by Oliver Mertz and Sarah Beth Oppenheim.

Homebody

New from Ignatz-nominated cartoonist, Richie Pope. A recluse takes a tour of brand new luxury apartments with the help of The Manager to escape her monotonous life and the disturbing memory of a recent event that happened in her own apartment complex.

The Secret Voice Vol. 1

The first chapter in a grand fantasy epic filled with psychic warrior monks, magic battles, monsters, and romance from the mind of Zack Soto. Doctor Galapagos, famed warrior-monk and agent of the ineffable Red College, is on a desperate mission to unite the realms of magic and man in a last-ditch effort to stop the seemingly invincible forces of the Smog Emperor.

The Small Press Expo Establishes a Legal Aid Fund for Cartoonists With $20,000 Donation

Small Press Expo has announced that it will immediately make available $20,000 and also launch a legal aid fundraising vehicle to support members of the SPX community who are currently facing a defamation lawsuit. The fundraising vehicle, administered by SPX, and created in consultation with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, will be established for the purposes of defraying the cost of legal representation for the eleven members of the independent comics community named as defendants in the ongoing lawsuit.

SPX is seeding the immediately needed monies with a $10,000 donation. Additionally, SPX will forego its annual $10,000 donation it had planned to give to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund for 2018, instead redirecting those resources–with the full encouragement of the CBLDF Board of Directors–to serve the legal defense of our community members in their moment of need. SPX has already made this initial $20,000 available to the defendants, to ensure their access to appropriate legal counsel as quickly as possible.

In the next few weeks, SPX will establish the ongoing legal aid fundraising vehicle for the public to help cover the costs of the defendants in this case. The CBLDF will continue to provide legal and fundraising consulting to the defendants in this case, as they have since becoming aware of the lawsuit.

The group of 11 defendants has put together a statement for this announcement:

“As artists, writers, art educators, comics critics, and small independent publishers, many of whom rely on freelance work to pay our bills, a lawsuit like this is going to put an enormous financial strain on all of us. Simply put, we can’t afford to fight this without help. We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from our community, and are especially grateful for the generosity of SPX to provide us with financial assistance. We also appreciate efforts by the CBLDF and other institutions and individuals who have provided additional fundraising support and legal advice.”

“For many years, SPX has quietly extended financial support to cartoonists in need, but there is no being quiet about this case,” said Warren Bernard, Executive Director of the Small Press Expo. “Our community must come together in support of its members who are facing unprecedented challenges—and to defend the kind of community we wish to be. From the very beginning, our two organizations agreed that we must do whatever we can to help.”

“We came together on a solution that makes the best use of the strengths of each of our organizations to support the members of our community in fighting this lawsuit. The SPX special fund will help by providing immediate cash, a structure for raising more money if required, and continuing access to experts that will help those in need,” said Christina Merkler, President, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

« Older Entries