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This past weekend I was at the Small Press Expo (SPX) in Maryland, frolicking with my fellow cartoonists and other assorted comics industry folk and their associated people.

It was a dang good time, which I needed very sorely since it has been, shall we say, a challenging six months.  I sold out of books on the afternoon of the first day – and in fact I only have 30-some books left in this printing.

So it’s back at the printers for another round, and I’m keeping those 30 in reserve for APE, where I will be splittin’ my table with Ms. Kate Beaton (history nerds unite).  If you order a book online before Halloween – which is when I’ll start shipping the second printing – I will throw in a snazzy extra Bite Me! print that I am devising this week.

Anyway.  Next week will see a new page of Family Man, but in the meantime, here is my brief and fragmentary convention report for SPX, in cartoon form, drawn 30,000 feet in the air on only three hours of sleep and a cup of airplane tea.  DOES IT SHOW.


Seriously, the Miss Teen Maryland USA pageant orientation, right next door.  Hundreds of long-limbed, insectile lasses with no visible pores and heels higher than the Empire State Building.  The contrast between the pageant girls and the females of SPX was enough to suggest that the human species is actually sexual trimorphic.


I am sure that Kate appreciated my help a whole lot, especially that bit where I frightened all her customers.  Seriously though, she is a classy lady.  Once or twice she was convinced that she had been horrible to somebody when really she had said “thank you” in a gentle voice and then politely excused herself to attend a panel.

We’ll be shackin’ up together at APE, so be sure to come witness the amazing power of the Goofus and Gallant history show. (hint: I am Goofus)


Apparently next door at the beauty pageant they were introducing themselves under hot lights, and the AC had to be cranked up to guarantee that no make-up would run or sweat stains would appear.  The result was several thousand shivering nerds.  I myself resorted to wrapping a pashmina around my head to save my frontal lobe from icing over completely.


The party outside of the Ignatz awards was very enjoyable.  Towards the end of a very strong hotel martini I wound up spending some quality time with Jim Ottaviani.  A few years ago, Jim O saved me from the purgatory of temping at the local hospital by having me draw Wire Mothers for him.

I rewarded him by failing to realize that 9 by 12 inches is not the same proportion as 6 by 9 inches, but luckily he is a forgiving guy.  The conversation then segued into a discussion about how much we like secular humanism.

Pastries:  the Comics Bakery table was overflowing with delicious homemade treats, and still further veggie pastries were fetched from the pastry shop a few blocks from the convention.  Also I stayed at Carla Speed McNeil’s house, and her fabulous husband Mike kept doing things like making biscuits, chocolate cookies (”to go with the sorbet I made”), scones, etc.   The result was that I probably took in a whole stick of butter over the course of the weekend.


Before she took me to the Metro to catch my flight, Carla left me unattended in her studio.  The result is that I now know more about her upcoming projects (Finder and otherwise!) than any of you sorry fools, and she has some inexplicable stains on her penciled pages.  Also I got to see her Eisner award.  You could use it to kill a man no problem.

And that is all I had the energy to draw on the flight home.  It was a really great time – I will be back again next year if it’s up to me.  Thanks to everybody who stopped by or who shared my company over the weekend.  I’ll see some of you in San Francisco in a few weeks!  (with the last copies of the first edition…)

{wp version}


( 40 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 30th, 2009 06:45 pm (UTC)
Ha ha, excellent, I love all of these.

I have plans to go to APE as usual, although possibly only on the Sunday because Saturday is the last day of the big Renaissance Faire and I haven't been in a couple years and it might actually be cool enough to go, and Trina will be there on Sunday (hopefully with her new book) and I haven't seen her in a year or maybe 2 years. So, if you'll be there on Sunday perhaps I'll get a chance to fangirl at you. :D
Sep. 30th, 2009 06:57 pm (UTC)
Yes!! These are great. I'm glad for the explanation of Sunday's frigidness--I knew the convention center was chilly, but that was out-of-control-chilly.
Sep. 30th, 2009 07:06 pm (UTC)
Hey Dylan great to meet you at SPX! See you in San Francisco in a coupla weeks probably!

Sep. 30th, 2009 07:07 pm (UTC)
I read your book on the plane and it was lovely! I have to draw some of your characters now!
Sep. 30th, 2009 10:43 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much!
Sep. 30th, 2009 07:08 pm (UTC)
I like how your impression of yourself is this deranged person spewing random history on people, when in fact, people probably thought you were all awesome and smart and stuff.
Sep. 30th, 2009 07:22 pm (UTC)
I cannot help but perceive myself as an utter loon when I get excited about something near an unsuspecting bystander! I think that I emit a noise only dogs can hear!
Sep. 30th, 2009 08:18 pm (UTC)
it's true it's somehow easy to forget that random bystander doesn't infact know you (and thus doesnt realize how AWESOME YOU ARE),... and perhaps is not quite as excited about random weird thing you are.
my outburst usually involve John Barrowman or croissants, though. <3
Sep. 30th, 2009 10:55 pm (UTC)
Oh, Random Bystanders are just people who haven't had the opportunity for you to share with them the awesome things that you know are awesome.
Sep. 30th, 2009 07:14 pm (UTC)
Awesome. (I love the last one, you are a pro at goony.)
Sep. 30th, 2009 07:15 pm (UTC)
oh god, these are so funny!
Sep. 30th, 2009 07:26 pm (UTC)
These made me laugh pretty hard, ngl. Especially the last one.

Sep. 30th, 2009 07:34 pm (UTC)
It sounds like SPX was so awesome and I am sad I missed it!
Sep. 30th, 2009 07:38 pm (UTC)
Tee hee hee. That's pretty much exactly how I am whenever Carla lets me near her originals. And you got JimO to a T.
Sep. 30th, 2009 08:16 pm (UTC)
That was a completely awesome recounting!
Sep. 30th, 2009 08:25 pm (UTC)
I onw a Carla Speed McNeil original, but I have never licked it. Nope, never. I don't know where all these rumors came from.

Wish I'd been there !
Sep. 30th, 2009 09:10 pm (UTC)
YAY! I'm glad you had such a great time. Love the recap. :D And best of luck at APE!
Sep. 30th, 2009 10:20 pm (UTC)
I am angry with this because Dylan is an absolute charmer who made people come to life if they were around our table
Sep. 30th, 2009 10:21 pm (UTC)
hey that was me, what's going on!
Sep. 30th, 2009 10:53 pm (UTC)
I just cannot stand the sight of a shy nerd at a convention. If I am on the high energy outgoing sales setting by god EVERYBODY HAS TO BE
Sep. 30th, 2009 10:23 pm (UTC)
I was hoping for new Family Man, but this is even better. I'm glad you had a good time. Did you break even with sales?(not including the plane ticket)
Sep. 30th, 2009 10:51 pm (UTC)
Re: Yay!
I did pretty well! I wasn't paying for a hotel room so that helped smoothe things over. All told I probably just about broke even. If I'd had more books to sell I would've done even better!
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 30th, 2009 10:52 pm (UTC)
...very nice.

My brains are too extruded to say anything entertaining.
Oct. 1st, 2009 02:43 am (UTC)
I laughed at that last one. (I would probably do the same thing) It's good to know that artists I admire are fangirlish too- even of people that they have friendships with.
Oct. 1st, 2009 03:40 am (UTC)
I have the great luck to be a stalkerish fangirl mostly of really cool people who for some reason interpret me to be a peer rather than the mindless acolyte I really am.
Oct. 1st, 2009 03:48 pm (UTC)
Ahha! now I have a goal to shoot for!
Oct. 1st, 2009 02:46 am (UTC)
I confess I knew nothing of Family Man, I just waited in line for Ms. Beaton, and there you were when I got close -- and since she's so careful with her sketches I had time to peruse your stuff: I instantly wanted all of it, including the nerdy grammar stickers, all of which rang chords (my job involves some editing ... argh!), but this was the first one of these events for me and I didn't bring enough cash -- but since MsB refused my emphatic offer to overpay her, I had enough pennies left to buy your gorgeous print of a lady surrounded by books, which my wife now loves! Now, I'm reading up on Family Man: bizarre and fun and beautiful.

There, I recommended to you, and I reiterate, you should find a way to watch the 1996 Pride & Prejudice on BluRay -- it's like a brand new movie -- you WILL be amazed. A question randomly occurred to me, which neither I nor my wife (who introduced me to Jane A) can definitively answer: from the book-and-just-the-book, sure Mr Darcy is a great catch, but was he a HUNK before Colin Firth? I suspect not, but a literary genius artist surely knows!

-- Monte
Oct. 1st, 2009 03:36 am (UTC)
Ah yes, Beaton and I appeal to pretty much the same people! That is why sitting near each other is aces. It is like a History Nerd Comics assembly line.

I'm glad you enjoy the print! She shows up in Family Man, keep a weather eye.

I will definitely make a date with P&P on BluRay. Re: Darcy's hotness, I cite the following excerpt:

"Mr. Bingley was good looking and gentlemanlike(...)but his friend Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien(...) The gentlemen pronounced him to be a fine figure of a man, the ladies declared he was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his popularity(...)"

Granted the initial perception of his being handsome is amplified when everybody hears that he's loaded, but he does appear to be a genuine looker in his essential person. So we cannot blame Mr. Firth for all the excitement.

However, the love interest whose hotness HAS been unduly magnified is Rochester from Jane Eyre. Jane describes him:

"I knew my traveller with his broad and jetty eyebrows; his square forehead, made squarer by the horizontal sweep of his black hair. I recognised his decisive nose, more remarkable for character than beauty; his full nostrils, denoting, I thought, choler; his grim mouth, chin, and jaw--yes, all three were very grim, and no mistake. His shape, now divested of cloak, I perceived harmonised in squareness with his physiognomy: I suppose it was a good figure in the athletic sense of the term--broad chested and thin flanked, though neither tall nor graceful."

And yet in adaptations we invariably get this:


Edited at 2009-10-01 03:41 am (UTC)
Oct. 2nd, 2009 11:51 am (UTC)
See, I knew you'd know -- thanks!

(Re JE, I just read this in Roger Ebert's review of Whip It: "Ellen Page, still only 22, is the real thing. To see her in this, "Juno" and "Hard Candy" (2005) is to realize she's fearless, completely in command of her gifts and will be around for a long time. To learn that she will play the lead in a BBC Films production of "Jane Eyre," being produced by Alison Owen ("Elizabeth"), seems only natural.")
Oct. 3rd, 2009 03:44 am (UTC)
OK, I've joined this thing, just to not be creepily anonymous.

I was the one who was olde, with a real beard, cajoling Kate B to do 2 sketches despite the long line because my son really wanted one, and he had 1st introduced me to her comic but got shy when she said the line was too long for her to do 2 sketches, but I loutishly tried to convince her by offering more money -- she did the extra sketch and refused the money, what an insanely class act.

This week's ep of Castle was highly amusing, for grammar geeks, with lectures on who/whom and your/you're -- and as always hunky Nathan F....
Oct. 1st, 2009 03:24 am (UTC)
Looking forward to seeing you guys in a few weeks. Save a copy of Bite Me for me!
Oct. 1st, 2009 03:37 am (UTC)
Yay, I will! ^^
Oct. 3rd, 2009 03:36 am (UTC)
You! You live! I think I need to flail around a bit because I still remember your comic from way back when I was in high school and it served as a gateway drug to Dylan (and a bunch of other really good artists who also seem to have disappeared off the interwebs). It is nice to know that you have not been devoured by large omnivorous mammals of the ursidae variety.

(Sorry, Dylan, I hope you don't mind the fangirling that isn't directed at you. Though I must say you're a lot cuter (in a teddy-bear type way) than what you draw yourself as. You kind of remind me of an octopus I knitted once (knit? knot?)...I should probably mention now that I am not under the influence of any foreign substances in typing this. You just sort of resemble a plush mollusk. A plush mollusk that needed hugs...huh...maybe the flu *is* making me hallucinate...)

Oct. 1st, 2009 03:47 pm (UTC)
yeah, no doubt about it—you're my idol. most particularly for your reaction to carla's originals.
Oct. 1st, 2009 07:16 pm (UTC)
Love the cartoons!
Oct. 1st, 2009 07:57 pm (UTC)
Me too!
Oct. 1st, 2009 11:34 pm (UTC)
great times and great depictions!
Oct. 2nd, 2009 03:31 pm (UTC)
Hi there! It was awesome to briefly meet you! I was the girl with the check from her friend (I'm sure that makes no sense). I also sometimes wore a beard, which is apparently more identifiable than I am!

Anyway, I am totally hooked on your stuff now! Great jorb!
Jul. 19th, 2010 04:26 am (UTC)
This blog was so funny you are doing a great job keep up the good work.

Term papers (http://www.ghostpapers.com/) within deadlines.

( 40 comments — Leave a comment )

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