Small Press Expo '97

In September 1997 I attended the fourth annual Small Press Expo here in Montgomery County, Maryland; this report was written almost immediately thereafter, though I've revised it slightly for the Web, and there are now a few additions updating it to May, 2000, indicated by this green text. (If it's not green on your browser, I'm afraid there's a compatibility problem.) Further updates in this shade of green are from 2008. And this is 2015. Here's 2020. And 2022.

By the way, if you click on any of the cover images you'll get a larger (and clearer) version.

In 1997 the SPX moved from a grouchy, uncomfortable hotel in Bethesda to a much nicer one in Silver Spring, and the number of exhibitors was noticeably higher. Overall attendance was up, as well, but that was less obvious in the larger, more spread-out facility. SPX 1998 was back in Bethesda and even bigger.

And the Small Press Expo is still going, a regular annual event.

The whole purpose of the SPX is to give readers a chance to see what cool stuff is out there that they hadn't found elsewhere. The web makes this less useful than it used to be. Here's what I found.

First, let me mention two titles that I was already buying, but which definitely deserve notice:

Good stuff, both of 'em. Both come out pretty reliably and are into double digits for number of issues -- WOLFF AND BYRD also has collections of back issues available. Both feature nice, clean black-and-white art, somewhat cartoony without being silly. Lash is a good artist; Walton's better than good. Check 'em out.

Now for the new stuff:

You may notice these reviews are all positive. Well, yeah -- I didn't buy anything unless I was pretty sure I was going to like it. And if I had, I might not mention it here -- why make life difficult for some poor guy who's trying to pursue his dream? Small press comics don't make much money for anyone; they're labors of love. I'm not going to fault someone for doing something he loves, even if it's not to my taste.

So the stuff above is what I considered the cream of the crop. Check 'em out.

Addendum: December 5, 1997:

The above was written shortly after the SPX; in preparing it for this Webpage, though, I came across a few other items that I want to mention:

And that's it for comics reviews; there's a lot of nifty stuff being done in comics these days that's neither the tedious rehashing of super-powered battles nor the lurid absurdity of the old undergrounds, but partaking of the best of both worlds. You can find this stuff at the better comic book shops. There's a lot of information on line, too -- I'm only going to provide one link for now, as a starter, but seek and ye shall find.


For those who somehow stumbled in here by accident -- hi! I'm Lawrence Watt-Evans. I'm the author of more than three dozen novels and over a hundred short stories, as well as innumerable articles, comic scripts, poems, and other miscellany. This is my personal website, the Misenchanted Page; the name is a reference to my bestselling novel The Misenchanted Sword.


That's it; here's your list of handy exits:

The Misenchanted Page
Front Page | Main Site | E-mail me!