SPX 2013 – the numbers and the people

This is a slightly blurry picture of my half table before the floor opened at the SPX on the second day, September 15th. My display was pretty bare bones, but I was in a rush (I was offered a table a week before the show) and I was limited by what I could carry with me to and from the airport.

Still, I made more money at the SPX than at any APE. Now, it was not a lot more, but I did break the $200 mark and I’ve never done that before. Still, I didn’t move that many books. I have bigger, more expensive books, so I don’t need to make as many sales to make money, but at the end of the day I care more about getting my books out there. I did run out of my mini business cards, so maybe people will find my work on-line.

But part of my point here is that the SPX isn’t really that much different in terms of sales than the APE. Yes, I made slightly more, but I didn’t have more transactions. So if we overlook what I said below, my numbers don’t set the SPX apart from the APE.

Yet while the reality of this capitalist system makes looking at the numbers important, they aren’t the only things that make a con important and definitely aren’t the most important things. I got to meet people whose work I’ve seen on-line. I talked with Sam Bosma a bit about his process. Got to touch Sam Alden’s Ignatz brick and get a sketch from him. I also finally got to meet Tom Spurgeon after all these years. I also got to see Jeff Smith, who was catty-corner to me, sign a bunch of books (he was signing for two days straight at various booths) and make a few kids really excited. And since I was across from the Drawn & Quarterly booth, I got to see Seth, Rutu Modan, Adrian Tomine, Brian Ralph, and Anders Nilsen do signings. And at the very send, I saw all of them chatting together and Jeff Smith joined them, and I saw Tomine and Smith exchange signed books with each other. I shouldn’t have been surprised that they respect each other’s work, but I have to say I was. Oh, and I saw my friend Gene Yang signing at the CBLDF booth and got to catch up with him Sunday morning (he has four kids now!). And it was just fun to see so much work out there and so many younger people getting into it. I still feel like I exist on the outside of everything, but cons make me see the actual people out there instead of the void that welcomes me as I work at home by myself. More connection is always a good thing.

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