Friday, April 30, 2010

SPACE 2010

A friendlier entity I've never encountered.

Have you ever set out on a journey with one goal in mind only to reach the intended destination and discover something entirely different, but even more satisfying than anything you could have ever imagined possible? Such was the case when I spent a delightful Sunday afternoon at SPACE (Small Press & Alternative Comics Expo) 2010 in Columbus, Ohio. Now, the tale of how I came to be at this event is worth recounting so bear with me for a moment or two. Like any good story, this one begins with a woman...

My wife is worth any sacrifice. Even when that sacrifice is missing C2E2 in Chicago, Illinois. Yes, I wanted to go so bad I could taste it, but my wife had the opportunity to attend an event in Indianapolis that was equally important to her and since she is always the most important part of my life I made the decision to stay home. Now, she tried to compromise and find a way for both of us to make our trips, but no matter how many obstacles we overcame another would come along to take it's place. The universe just refused to give me a break...

Knowing how disappointed I was at missing C2E2, Jason Young, a friend from Mavericks Comics and Cards in Dayton, Ohio informed me that Guy Davis (B.P.R.D. artist extraordinaire) was going to be at an event I'd never heard of before in Columbus, Ohio called SPACE. Just as my spirits lifted at the prospect of meeting one of my favorite comic book artists, they were brought crashing back to Earth when he told me the dates of the show, April 24th & 25th. My son's birthday is April 24th and I just can't put anything before his happiness any more than I can his mother's happiness. Again, it just seemed as if the universe was actively conspiring to make this one of the worst comic book convention seasons of my entire life.

That night, after all the remnants of my son's birthday celebration had been picked up and taken out to the trash, the dishes done, dried and put away I sat down to rest for a minute. It came to me that I'd fulfilled my obligations to my wife and son and I had earned at least a taste of the convention season in full swing around me. If nothing else, I would have my signed book from Guy Davis and a photo of our moment together. I simply would not be denied. At that moment it became a quest. Together my wife and I began Googling and Map Questing. I threw together a bag, filled my wallet with my available cash reserves and made sure there were fresh batteries in the digital camera and made ready for my journey the following morning.

So I've already blogged about my moments with Guy Davis here and I've also blogged about one of my favorite encounters at SPACE here. (As I continue reading through the pile of comic books I brought home from SPACE there will be be more reviews.) Now I'd like to say a few words about SPACE 2010. First, it doesn't matter how many plasma screen televisions or eight thousand dollar booths or celebrities or movie and television premiers you have, if you don't have a passionate love for comic books you don't have what SPACE has to offer to those who make the annual pilgrimage to Columbus, Ohio.

SPACE is love made visible. It is a fellowship between those who create comic books because they love them, not for the riches they can reap from them. Those who have been in the business take those who are new to the business under veteran wings to offer guidance and encouragement. It is a communion of souls who just want to share their craft. SPACE is a charging of batteries and the opportunity to reinvigorate the creative drive. The energy of the event engulfs you the moment you step into the room and you can't help but be swept up and carried away.

This is one of those events that those in charge of D.C., Marvel and other such giants of the industry need to attend and rediscover what comic books are really all about. For those who have lost their way (and perhaps their creative integrity) among the marinas of San Diego and the bright lights of Hollywood SPACE could serve as a wake up call to what really matters to the viability of the industry, the every day working people who love comic books. Too many creators these days are far more interested in making comic books geared towards the pockets of the shareholder than they are the reader. Too many of these same creators are also more interested in celebrity adulation than customer appreciation. Whereas most comic book conventions have become little more than Hollywood parties and self aggrandizement, SPACE is all about the joy of making and reading comic books.

This was my first year attending SPACE, but it certainly won't be my last. Next year I hope to spend some time with Bob Corby and learn more about the guy who has been putting this show together for eleven years now. I don't know the man yet, but judging from the gathering I witnessed last weekend he's got to be a pretty special kind of person. This event is a labor of love on the part of every single individual who participates in it from the top down. Bob, you're an inspiration. I look forward to meeting you and attending Space again next year.

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