Oh, PIX, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…
1) You give me the excuse to go an an excellent road trip with Paul, Max, and Canto! All in all, we spent a total of 24 hours driving to and from Pittsburgh. Canto and I split up the driving, but it was still quite a ways! Driving late at night is generally super-stressful for me, but I have to admit that I loved taking the early-morning shifts and getting to watch the sun rise as I drove. Also, back episodes of This American Life are totally my new favorite thing to listen to as we drive.
2) You let me visit my friends and family while gettin’ my comics on! My excellent grandparents have been crazy supportive of me and my comics endeavors this year, having let me live with them over the summer while I interned at the Pittsburgh ToonSeum, and on top of that they let all four of us descend upon their household this weekend. We also got to meet up with my longtime friend and partner in crime Lauren Chapman. We’re of an eerily similar breed both geographically (we were both born ‘n’ raised near Pittsburgh, went to the same high school in California, and then returned to the East Coast for grad school) and artistically (although she does graphic design and creative writing while I do comics), and it was fantastic to see her again!
3) You put on a hell of a show! The inaugural Pittsburgh Indy Comics Expo was an amazing experience. The show took place on the top floor of the Guardian Storage Facility, which turned out to be a beautiful space with tons of windows, wood floors, and beautiful brick walls. There was tons of space, but we were still close enough to other artists’ tables to be able to talk with them. It was on the smaller side, what with it being the first year and all, but everyone who came was so enthusiastic and interested in seeing (and, y’know, buying!) our work. Also, Bill Boichel (of Copacetic Comics fame, who ran this con) is a stand-up guy. Our table reservation somehow got lost, but Bill was really nice about it. He was super polite, apologized several times to us, and set us up with a new table right across from Canto and Max. The con overall ran really smoothly, but his handling of the situation was so professional and nice that it made me certain I want to come back next year. (It was especially comforting in comparison to how HeroesCon treated us when the exact same thing happened to us earlier this summer–hint: not as well.)
4) You let me meet such a wide variety of awesome people! A ton of talented artists came to exhibit at the con this past weekend. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet all of them because I was behind a table of my own most of the time, but I did get to meet a fair amount. Here’s who we did get to see:
Dan and Kerry Tallarico found a way to combine two of my favorite things: cupcakes and comics! Dan has also inadvertently given me the excellent nickname of ChandROCK! I traded with them for their entire run of Captain Cupcake, and I am a better person for it. So far only one baby has ever thrown up in front of their booth, and that was probably because it couldn’t handle the sheer amount of awesomeness.
Kevin Czapiewski was at the table next to us with his comic Puppyteeth and promoting his webcomic Spoilers. He continually offered us helpful items–scissors, water bottles, excellent comics–throughout the con. I am worried we did not offer him enough in return. Kevin, if you’re reading this, I feel I owe you some snacks or a quest item or something!
I first met Juan Fernandez during my time at the ToonSeum this summer. He was the first person to ever recognize me based on my comics. He is always really positive and enthusiastic about comics, so it’s great to talk to him! I traded with him for his new mini, Une Petite Histoire, which I am excited about reading even though I cannot read any French. He also makes amazing cardboard displays for his work–check them out if you ever get a chance!
I don’t just like Pat Lewis because he has also drawn a yeti comic (called Abominable as well!), but it certainly helps! He was at the table behind ours and had some really excellent books for sale. I picked up a set of buttons (one of which had his yeti on it) and his Girls Gone Mild mini. Pocket-sized comics featuring pretty girls–how could I pass it up?
Joe Medwid and David Rhodenbaugh are two stand-up gentlemen who make a comic called Apartment 4-H. Joe was another of the ToonSeum’s volunteers this summer and befriended me despite my tendency to respond to Facebook messages horribly late. This weekend I traded them for their lovingly-toned Apartment 4-H: The Classics book, which promises to be highly entertaining.
Ed Piskor showed up on the first day of the con with some of the most amazing bling I’ve ever seen. I first met him during my summer at the ToonSeum, and he was crazy friendly and welcoming to me! His current comic project is Wizzywig, the first three volumes of which are available in print and the first two or three chapters of which are available for download (with new pages being added every day).
Alex Ilitchev wasn’t tabling at the con, but he came by and talked shop with us a bit. (Some of it was even in Russian–Paul always seems to find someone to speak Russian with wherever we go, and this time Alex was it! :P) He’s drawn several webcomics, the most recent of which is called Owl House and is pretty fun. (The pixel-art owl in the URL bar is pretty much the cutest thing ever.)
Wayne Wise runs Phantom of the Attic, which is an awesome comics store in Oakland. My dad used to take my sister and me there as a special treat back in the day, and now they stock some of our comics! How cool is that? Wayne himself is also an awesome guy–he co-received the very first Xeric Grant and is still making comics today.
In short, how do I love thee, PIX? A whole hell of a lot. :)