It’s APE this weekend, in San Francisco. And, as much as I’m sad that I didn’t make it to New York Comic-Con this past weekend, missing out on APE feels like the bigger loss, from a comics perspective.
Sure, I was trying to pay as much attention to NYCC as I could while traveling around the Pacific Northwest this weekend, checking Twitter and CBR for updates as to what was going on, what news was breaking and any kind of update about whether or not Marvel was actually dropping prices or just pretending that that was the case to steal DC’s thunder (My take, very quickly, is that it’s the latter; even on the off-chance that Marvel had, as Dan Buckley has claimed, been working on it for a long time, the announcement such as it was was clearly a reaction to DC’s news, as is evident if just from the fact that no-one actually knew what Marvel’s plan was for more than a day afterwards. Planned announcements tend to make a little more sense, in my experience). But what I found myself really missing about NYCC was the fact that so many of my friends and people that I’d wanted to meet were there; I found myself missing it more as a social thing than a comic convention. APE is very different.
For those who don’t know what APE actually is: It’s the Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco, CA, and it’s one of the best celebrations of comics that I’ve ever been to in my life. Again, what I’m going to miss about this weekend’s show aren’t the special guests – Although, Tony Millionaire, Dan Clowes and Megan Kelso? That’s a great line-up – but the floor, the amazing collection of exhibitors that are there every year. Like Stumptown – another of my favorite comic shows, but then, I’m biased being a Portland boy now – APE feels like what happens after artists alley takes over an entire con, and the whole show becomes about… maybe not comics, exactly – APE supports a artsy and crafts thing that goes beyond just comics – but creativity, perhaps, in a way that shows like NYCC or Comic-Con just don’t, anymore. It’s almost impossible to go to APE and not discover something new and amazing, if you’re open to it, whether it’s a funny mini-comic or your new favorite creator or just getting a great piece of art to take home and stare at for hours on end (Not that I’m speaking from experience, you understand).
APE is one of the shows that never fail to remind me why I love comics, as opposed to why I love particular comics, or creators, or whatever (Or, in SDCC’s case, why I hate comics and conventions and everyone else in the world ever). It’s completely affirming to anyone who finds themselves in love with the medium and the potential of it, and you find yourself surrounded by hundreds of people who really are like minds, and not just people who’re there to find out about that hot new show on ABC next fall. It’s not the only show like that (Like I said, Stumptown here in Portland is the same, and although I’ve never been, I expect the same of SPX and MoCCA), but it was the first one I discovered, here in America, and it’ll always have a special little place in my special little heart because of that.
So, yeah. I’ll miss APE this year. Everyone that’s going: Have fun, damn your eyes.