SPX Sweden Report

Howdy! I'm back from flitting around the globe again! La dee da!

Here's a sketchbook page from my trip to Sweden's Small Press Expo.  I was brought over by the awesome guys at Galago Magazine and they treated me real nice! Also Stockholm is a design-obsessed magical wonderland and the only thing I regret is not having more time to go to fabric stores, and another ikea-type cheapy store called the Lagerhaus (I think).

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I traveled there with MK Reed and Shannon O'Leary and we stayed in Johannes from Galago's teensy studio apartment.  Mostly we ate pastries and gossiped.  I loved this, because if everything goes well with my pregnancy, I will not have a three-day girl's slumber party situation for another 20 years. We also went to H and M with Mike Diana and we looked at the maternity clothes together.


Alvin Buenaventura, his fantastic assistant Melissa (who runs the girls rock camp in LA when she's not helping to publish awesome things), her pistol of a bandmate Alisia (shit. I am probably spelling it wrong) and I went to this park with a jungle gym that was a series of ropes pulled tight to be like a Buckminster Fuller style spider web.  It had mysterious dog-pig animals with light up eyes, and a circular hammock swing.  We hung out in the jungle gym watching punk kids drink and skate at the other end of the park which was a totally legal skate area.  I hope I will always love watching young people doing stupid crazy shit-though being a parent will probably change that. The boys going round and round the empty swimming pool structures and then popping up to land on a picnic table.  So perfectly zen.  I envy their coordination.

The festival was full of "book-release" parties, where the books were hard to find and the music was loud. They are into Squee there, which I had never heard of, I guess it's like Techno mixed with primitive Atari samples.

The festival was a bit disorganized, on Saturday morning we showed up right as the festival began (our fault), and there were not really any tables reserved or left (weird), so we made our own space in the front room, which was nice, because the Norwegian Dongery guys were late too and they set up across from us.  I also looked on the program and my name wasn't listed anywhere, except to be on a panel with Mike Diana about censorship, which was odd, because I've never had anything censored before.  I asked, and they politely explained that it was a mistake.  Huh.

I thought Shannon did a great job of curating a nice survey of comics, a full selection of Momes and Bottomless Bellybutton for Fantagraphics, many Papercutters and other stuff from Sparkplug, Secret Acres and Bodega presses. People really liked Robyn Chapman's "Hey 4-Eyes" and Theo Ellsworth's "Capacity".


I was thrilled to see a great selection of Finnish comics from their collective Glomp.  I got Anna Sailamaa's "Ollaan nätisti ", which won the Fumetto Prize this year.  I also met Johanna Rojola and Mari Ahokoivu from Finland who have a blog at www.narttu.net, and they were amazingly sweet and knew all about the international scene. I'm a bit obsessed right now with Finnish comics and culture.  I'm going  to read the Kalevala today.


It was very inspiring to meet Anneli Furmark, she's got a really tenuous drawing style, and has had three(oops two) kids and still published four books.   I'm excited to read the piece of her's in the last DQ showacase.  I also met Martin Ernsten who gave me all of his stuff including a stack of english translation print outs of his newest book.


The dudes from Dongery were really nice too, and had some great work.  Bendik Kaltenborn is a comics force to be reckoned with.  He gave me a stack of english stuff. He better get a publishing deal in the states soon. stockholmloot

stockholmloot2The one thing that I really regret was that I didn't bring more Picturebox stuff to sell.  People seemed hungry for substantive, psychedelic madness, and it makes me appreciate the work that Dan does all the more.  All of C. F.'s books sold, and I really thought Cold Heat would kill there. In general the Europeans seem to be much more accepting of eclecticism in comics.  They aren't burdened by having to put everything in a niche, and they don't have the spectre of superheros lurking behind them.  They also can get government grants to help them with their weird projects. It all just makes me want to grab Tim and travel round the globe making comics.

Ta ta for now!  Got to eat more and finish drawing some stuff that's really late.

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