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Alternative Press Expo 2007

I hopped onto the train, braved the spring training crowds, and met up with Kathleen, Zed, and K’s friends Scott and Liz at the Alternative Press Expo (APE) this year.

An initial reconnaisance yielded a huge stack of business cards and brochures. I ended up purchasing from less than a quarter of those creators. While I might’ve missed some potentially excellent comics, it’s good news for the most part: Many to investigate further online, many to see again at future conventions…and gentler treatment of my pocketbook. O:-)

First time visiting the Concourse Exhibition Center in San Francisco: In spite of the occasional Hallway Jam of Humans, it was a pleasant venue. Much better access than Fort Mason. Not as convenient as San José, but nicer lighting, with a not unpleasant pseudo-rustic feel: exposed dark wood, or exposed structures painted in a redwood bark tone.

I hadn’t attended APE or any other comic book convention since 2002. (Got back on the wagon this year with WonderCon.) It had been the fifth consecutive APE I visited, and at the time I wasn’t finding new comics which would grab or hold my attention. <rant>It had also included my worst (so far) convention experience: Where a creator pointedly ignored me while attempting to obtain more information about their work. (I think it was the creator himself, unless it was someone else holding the table while he was away, and he just didn’t know how to cope with attendees.) I stood, waiting to ask how much the comic cost (it looked interesting then; I no longer recall the creator’s name). He chatted with someone else behind the table, for several minutes. I waited some more, skimming through the comic. Another person approached the table, so I moved and started to ask the creator during the shift —then he suddenly greeted the other person, turning his body completely away, and started another conversation. Ookaaay, I guess you don’t want to speak to a potential reader of your comic. I put the book down and walked off.</rant>

Fortunately, nothing like that happened this year. Only a brief saddening moment while talking to Jon “Bean” Hastings, author of the awesome Smith Brown Jones. I got the impression that he had become blasé, or, perhaps, not interested in chatting with a comic book reader. >:-| When I first encountered him at APE in 1999, he seemed eager to know what comics I liked to read, to engage the reader, as it were. (Alas, I wasn’t as responsive as I’d wanted to be, coughing and congestion reducing me to a bleary state.) Like any of us, though, he could’ve been having a rough day.

But I must say I did enjoy myself. Having not been to APE for five years, I saw so many interesting comics, most of them new to me. I miss not seeing some of the creators I had seen back during the 1998 to 2002 period. (Such as Greg Beetam and Stephen Geiger-Miller, Ellen Forney, Linda Medley, Jimmie Robinson, Dave Roman and John Green, Ian and Ty Smith, Tara Tallan —not to mention dim sum with Rachel Hartman and Carla Speed McNeil.) On the other hand, many of them have an online presence now (yay!), and some might (ya never know) return again to a Bay Area.

Even though I was overwhelmed by the variety, I’m thankful for the artists and writers (and my companions!) who patiently tolerated my page flipping and half-dazed expression. I’d like to go again next year, considering how I didn’t obtain even a majority of the comics which piqued my curiosity. Maybe I should limit myself to attending every other year, so I don’t become as easily disenchanted with what I see?

Items acquired, alphabetical by creator:


  1. KJ wrote:

    Thanks for inviting me along — I had a grand time. 🙂 I’ve already finished Scott Pilgrim vo1. 1, and it was suitably wacky, and intriguing enough that I think I’ll go get the rest of them.

    You’ll have to let me know how the items in your stash are; we can do some swapping!

    Sunday, 22 April 2007 at 6:08 pm | Permalink
  2. This was my first APE… usually I’m a ComicCon kind of guy. But, wow, good stuff! I did get some pics from today, and they’re on my blog if you want to check them out. Would love to get your feedback.

    Sunday, 22 April 2007 at 7:41 pm | Permalink
  3. Von Allan wrote:

    Y’know, I’m always a bit stunned when someone picks up my stuff. So I really just wanted to say thanks a bunch for doing that and I hope you like “Li’l Kids.” 🙂



    Thursday, 26 April 2007 at 7:53 am | Permalink

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