Small Press Expo

As long time readers may know, I have been a big fan of Ed Piskor since I became aware of his graphic novel in progress, WIZZYWIG. When he wrote about his decision to re-work the three volumes so far and release the completed story as one volume, I determined to contact him for an interview. We corresponded over the Summer and settled on the Small Press Expo as a convenient venue. As much as I would have loved to go to HOPE to interview him there, Dragon*Con pretty much soaked my remaining travel budget for the year. As it happens, the Small Press Expo is literally ten minutes from my house.

After some confusion at the registration line yesterday, I made my way into the ridiculously crowded show floor to find Ed. The exhibit tables were packed into a medium sized ball room but easily could have more comfortably fit into a space twice as large. I made my way through the entire set of tables until I found Ed at pretty much the last table I checked.

We had a fantastic discussion, a solid hour of audio, which I look forward very much to sharing in a couple of weeks. We also got a pretty good stream of folks coming and going from the expo to watch as we chatted. There is a break in the audio that I may leave intact where both of our trains of thought are derailed by a larger group. I have to thank Ed for being so generous with his time especially as he was working at the expo, selling copies of his books.

After I walked back to Ed’s table, I did one more circuit around the show floor looking for artists I know. A couple of the web comics I read had mentioned in the week prior they would be at the show. The only one I found was David Malki of Wondermark. He is an incredibly nice guy and was very indulgent as I gushed about his work. I was instantly taken with the set of books produced by Dark Horse collecting his work. They are absolutely gorgeous and overflowing with extra content and gags in the same vein as the comic itself. I picked up the first hard cover volume, which David signed, along with a few new stickers to adorn my laptop. I will definitely be picking up the other hard cover volumes from his site and look forward to his new book, “Machine of Death“.

The most surprising thing about the book is how much my wife enjoyed it. Malki’s humor can easily be described as surreal though at times that would be an understatement. I thought it might be too much for her sense of humor but seeing the tears streaming down her face from laughter just a few pages in, I knew I had misjudged her appreciation of the absurd. Or underestimated Malki’s ability to appeal more broadly. My desire to acquire his other books is now at least as strongly driven by Andrea’s desire to catch up with the web comic as my own desire to enjoy the extra flourishes he installs in the print version.

I could have spent more time on the show floor or even checked out more of the programming at the Expo but was still feeling burned out from Dragon*Con. If Ed returns to the Expo next year, which seems likely, I may plan a longer day trip to not only catch up with him again but to absorb more of what the world of web comics has to offer.