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.

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.


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