SPX 2015 is described, by many, as the best con in the country. Each year, indie presses, creators, writers, artists, and more descend on the Washington, DC, area for this two-day convention. This year, I was blown away by the talent, variety of comics, and utter enthusiasm present at SPX. Anyone who thinks comics is in trouble should have seen the sheer creativity at this con. It’s the future of comics, to be sure.
One thing I love about SPX is discovering new-to-me comics. This year, I actually made it a point not to give the attendee list more than a cursory glance. I didn’t bring a bunch of comics with me to get signed. I wanted to walk around the space and find new comics to read, from small presses I’d never heard of. And I succeeded; I’m not going to even talk about how much money I ended up spending at SPX. But I will talk about 5 of the most interesting comics I discovered; hopefully you’ll be moved to pick up one or two of these yourself.
Baker’s Dozen by Aatmaja Pandya
I’ll admit it–I hadn’t heard of Aatmaja Pandya before SPX, and I sought her out especially because of her South Asian name. I had so much fun chatting with her about Indian people in comics and picked up this excellent floppie, which is described as a coming-of-age comic set in a South Asian fantasy world. SOLD.
Baddawi by Leila Abdelrazaq
Leila Abdelrazaq was at SPX on behalf of her publisher, Just World Books, and also to talk about her own graphic novel, Baddawi. Baddawi is a coming-of-age story set in a Palestinian refugee camp, and is based on the experiences of Abdelrazaq’s own father. Those of you who know me know that I tripped over myself in my hurry to buy this.
Witches Who Sing by Molly Ostertag
I am a huge, huge, huge fan of Molly’s. I think her art is breathtaking. If you haven’t checked out her webcomic with Brennan Lee Mulligan, Strong Female Protagonist, apparently I have failed you. Witches Who Sing, with illustrations about female musicians, will have its pages debut online at Autostraddle initially, but eventually this will be for sale online as well.
Years of the Elephant by Wally Linthout
I enjoyed speaking with the rep from Potent Mon and mentioned that, for some reason, I’m drawn to graphic memoirs with really sad subjects. He pointed me to Years of the Elephant, which is by a Belgian cartoonist who arrived home one day to discover a chalk body outline outside his building. He discovers that it’s that of his son, who committed suicide. Talk about depressing, yet I am eager to read it.
Ikebana by Yumi Sakugawa
I love what the people at Retrofit/Big Planet Comics are doing, and Big Planet Comics is my LCS, so I always love poking through the new floppies and graphic novels. This gorgeous, spare floppie is about a Japanese girl doing a piece of performance art, lonely, wandering through a city where no one is aware of what she’s doing. I can already tell from the cover that this is going to be powerful.