This summer I went with my friend, cartoonist Steve Peters, to the two day festival, the Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo in Columbus, Ohio. This is the Midwest’s longest running small press festival. We were joined by Steve’s collaborator on the comic The Comicverse, Bianca Alu-Marr.
This year S.P.A.C.E. was held at a different time of year and a new location due to a major setback when the hotel they usually use closed unexpectedly, leaving the event’s organizer Bob Corby to scramble for a new venue.
The festival’s pre-party took place at Laughing Ogre Comics. We caught the tail end of the party after our long journey, where we got to meet fellow exhibitors before the big two days.
During the first day official day of S.P.A.C.E, I took a great liking to the new venue, the Northland Performing Arts Center. It was kept nice and cool during the heat wave that happened that weekend. Along with tabling with my friends Steve and Bianca, I met and tabled with a friend I knew from online who goes by the moniker Evette Makes Things, and her boyfriend Bobby. There were a lot of exhibitors there, but not an overwhelming amount of foot traffic.
There was an official after-party at the Kafe Kerouac organized by librarian Caitlin McGurk of The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, which included readings by Nate Powell, Lauren McCallister, Tom Hart, Adam Buttrick, Sophie Goldstein, Stu Rase, Noah Van Sciver, Eric Blair, and the people behind the Columbus College of Art and Design Spitball Anthology. After the readings everyone hung out and enjoyed the band Mummula. While everyone was mingling I had my fortune read by way of a mismatch collection of superhero trading cards by another exhibitor, Joseph.
The second day of the event was busier than the first and it was nice way to end the event. There is a S.P.A.C.E prize in multiple categories for comics exhibitors which includes cash and a plaque. I entered for the mini comics prize and I’m keeping my fingers crossed. They announce the winners the following year at S.P.A.C.E. This is a great way to stimulate and give encouragement to comics creators and get them to come back. I am thinking of being a part of the festival again and the next time I am in Columbus, I would like to visit the The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, which I hear so many many great updates about their exhibits.