Shawn and I drove down to Bethesda on Friday morning. Shawn slept part of the way down, having been up all night trimming pages and sewing books. (Substitute rented silver Ford Focus for burgundy minivan. Also, pour out some motor oil in memory of the minivan, which belonged to Shawn and died on the side of the LIE this summer.)
Once we got there and set up the table, Shawn resumed sewing book bindings. Generally, he remained just ahead of demand, although there was a moment early on when there were no finished copies of "Vengeance at Cackling Mountain." Sew faster, dammit! (This picture works pretty much as-is, although there weren't yellow wristbands with "The Beguiling" printed on them at SPX, for whatever reason.)
Sara arrived by bus and met us at the hotel. When she and Shawn weren't assembling books, they were signing them for customers, so they tended to spend a lot of the festival hunched. (Subtract John Mejias, who unfortunately couldn't make it this year, and substitute hotel walls for tent walls. T. Edward Bak remains in the right foreground, if that's indeed him.)
The crowd was pretty good this year; we did about 20-30 percent more business than we did at the previous SPX; I'm not sure how much of this was a function of location, a more crowded show in general, or our Ignatz nominations. We did have quite a few customers who'd read our books before and were coming back for more. That was gratifying. (As before, swap tent for hotel. Swap any two Canadians for a gentleman in a purple suit and a gentleman in a sailor outfit.)
I didn't have sewing to do, so my duties consisted of A: Wondering if binding my comics with staples makes me some sort of wimp; B: Shit-eating grins.
I don't have good photo stand-ins for a batch of things, though. These are them:
- Sean T. Collins was there, and it was nice to see him in person again, 'cause it had been a while. Also nice: he liked Matt Furie's Boys Club, which was a relief because my entire experience with owning that book has involved me reading it and laughing, then someone seeing this and taking a look at it, followed by them looking at me like I'm crazy. This happened with Kate, John and Shawn at TCAF 07.
- Also there were all of these fine, fine, fine people. Thanks, folks, for talking and saying hi. I like you.
- We went to the Ignatz awards ceremony for the first time in six SPX's. It was brisk and quiet, with the exception of Alec Longstreth and Liz Prince's speed-read of the Debut Award nominees, and of course the monkey thing, which was set off well by all the briskness and quietness that surrounded it.
- The presentation of the minicomics Ignatz was preceded by a reference to "some people" calling the minicomic "an obsolete form," which drew some light boos. But who's been saying these things? Was Heidi MacDonald just referencing this? Did I miss something?
- I ate at the Silver Diner up the street three times. Now I'm full of french fries and I own more comics than I did before. Thanks, SPX.