Organizers have released the programming schedule for the Sept. 10-11 Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland, which includes panels featuring Jessica Abel, Kate Beaton, Roz Chast, Sarah Glidden, Tom Neely, Alex Robinson, Johnny Ryan, Craig Thompson, Jim Woodring and more.
Among the moderators will be Robot 6 contributors Sean T. Collins, talking with Thompson and leading a discussion about drawing the grotesque, and Chris Mautner, interviewing Ryan.
Held at the Bethesda North Marriott Convention Center, SPX includes the presentation of the annual Ignatz Awards, a festival prize that recognizes outstanding achievement in comics and cartooning. See the full programming schedule after the break.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 10
Inside The New Yorker: Roz Chast and Kate Beaton in Conversation12:00 pm | White Flint Amphitheater
Founded in 1925, The New Yorker remains well-known for its lushly drawn covers and its iconic single-panel gag cartoons. Roz Chast has contributed drawings to the magazine since the late 1970s, and Kate Beaton has recently seen publication in the magazine’s pages. In a conversation moderated by Bill Kartalopoulos, the two will discuss the ways in which their cartoons reflect an evolving approach to the magazine’s image of urbane sophistication.
Excruciating Detail: Drawing the Grotesque1:00 pm | White Flint Amphitheater
Historical comics ranging from Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy to the horror comics of the 1950s have specialized in images of the grotesque. Sean T. Collins will speak with cartoonists Lisa Hanawalt (I Want You), Benjamin Marra (Night Business), Tom Neely (The Wolf), and Johnny Ryan (Prison Pit) about the act of drawing horrific, visceral, visual detail in contemporary comics that speak to horrors that are both timeless and contemporary.
The Secret History of Women in Comics1:30 pm | Brookside Conference Room
The increased involvement of women in the comics field over the past several years has been a significant positive change in a historically male-dominated industry. However, just as it’s worth celebrating this progressive revolution, it is also worth noting that today’s women cartoonists are part of a lineage of pioneering women who have made many contributions to the field. Heidi MacDonald will discuss this history with Jessica Abel, Robyn Chapman, Alexa Dickman and Diane Noomin.
Anders Nilsen: Questions and Answers2:00 pm | White Flint Amphitheater
This year Drawn and Quarterly publishes Anders Nilsen’s opus Big Questions. A dozen years in the making, this book sensitively depicts a philosophical crisis in a community of birds whose lives are forever changed by the destructive intervention of human violence. Nilsen has also published books including Dogs and Water, Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow, Monologues for the Coming Plague, and more. Nilsen will discuss his work with moderator Bill Kartalopoulos.
Narrative Logic: Surreal and Obscure2:30 pm | Brookside Conference Room
The entry of comics as “graphic novels” into the publishing landscape has encouraged work that conforms to the narrative biases of conventional literary fiction. Joe “Jog” McCulloch will talk to Marc Bell (Pure Pajamas), Matthew Thurber (1-800-MICE) and Jim Woodring (The Congress of the Animals) about producing graphic narratives that follow less conventional, more associative, and even visually based narrative logics that lend integrity to apparent surreality.
Craig Thompson Q+A3:00 pm | White Flint Amphitheater
Following on the heels of his sensitive tale of departure Good-bye Chunky Rice, Craig Thompson came to national attention in 2003 with his massive, autobiographically-based graphic novel Blankets. Eight years later, Thompson has completed his next graphic novel, Habibi, a love story set in the Middle East and patterned after the visual cadences of Arabic calligraphy and Islamic art. Thompson will discuss his work in a conversation with Sean T. Collins.
Stories of Cultural Identity3:30 pm | Brookside Conference Room
America’s own culture wars are only part of a global struggle with identity, as nations the world over attempt to address the challenges of assimilating multiple cultures within a stable society. Moderator Rob Clough will talk to Jessica Abel (La Perdida), Marguerite Dabaie (The Hookah Girl), Sarah Glidden (How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less) and G. B. Tran (Vietnamerica) about comics that deal with issues of cultural identity.
Cartooning Workshop4:00 pm | White Flint Amphitheater
Comics educators Robyn Chapman and Alec Longstreth from The Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, VT and Tom Hart, founder of the new Sequential Artists Workshop in Gainesville, FL, will guide the audience through a cartooning exercise. Everyone, from experienced cartoonists to those who have never drawn a panel of comics, is welcome to attend this fun, educational, creative workshop. No matter what your experience level, you will leave this workshop having drawn your own comic!
Alex Robinson: Ten Years of Box Office Poison4:30 pm | Brookside Conference Room
Over the last several years, Alex Robinson has produced Tricked, A Kidnapped Santa Claus, and Too Cool to Be Forgotten, among other books, but his first major work was the 600 page graphic novel Box Office Poison, originally serialized in comic book format and collected in 2001. To celebrate the tenth anniversary of his debut book, Robinson will discuss his career with his Ink Panthers podcast co-host, cartoonist Mike Dawson.
Constraint Based Cartooning5:00 pm | White Flint Amphitheater
A blank canvas and an infinite palette can be liberating—and intimidating. Most work ultimately ends up operating according to a set of self-generated rules which govern its scope. Bill Kartalopoulos will talk to David Malki! (Wondermark), Brian Ralph (Daybreak), Karl Stevens (The Lodger) and Daniel Spottswood (Disquietville) about producing comics which operate more explicitly according to a governing set of aesthetic, stylistic and formal principles.
Johnny Ryan Q+A5:30 pm | Brookside Conference Room
As comics have increasingly entered into the worlds of literary publishing and gallery arts, Johnny Ryan has almost single handedly extended comics’ satirical, parodistic, disreputable and scatological traditions in his comic book series Angry Youth Comix. More recently, he has entered the realm of visual pulp with his epic, no-holds-barred, manga-inflected graphic novel series Prison Pit. Ryan will discuss the development of his work with moderator Chris Mautner.
Chester Brown: Talking About It6:00 pm | White Flint Amphitheater
Chester Brown is one of the pioneers of alternative comics, self-publishing his first issue of Yummy Fur in 1983, and producing several book collections and graphic novels since, including The Playboy, I Never Liked You, and Louis Riel. His latest, Paying For It, is an autobiographical account of his experiences choosing the company of prostitutes over the vagaries of romantic love. Brown will discuss his work in this special presentation with moderator Dan Kois.
SUNDAY, SEPT. 11
You Don’t Know Jacques: The Work of Jacques Tardi1:00 pm | White Flint Amphitheater
In a special slideshow presentation, Fantagraphics co-publisher Kim Thompson will discuss the career of seminal French cartoonist Jacques Tardi, whose work Thompson has been translating in a new series of English-language editions. Relatively unknown until recently in the US, Tardi is a giant of French comics publishing. Active for over forty years and the author of dozens of books, Tardi is a foundational figure of auteurial bande dessinée.
Navigating the Contemporary Publishing Landscape1:30 pm | Brookside Conference Room
In the early 2000s, corporate publishers nearly raced to acquire graphic novels. Now, as the mainstream publishing industry faces severe contractions and as online media assumes many traditional functions of publishing, cartoonists face a rapidly changing publishing landscape, one that includes a resurgent small press. Johanna Draper Carlson will speak with Mike Dawson, Meredith Gran, Roger Langridge and Julia Wertz about publishing options today.
Roz Chast: From A to Z2:00 pm | White Flint Amphitheater
Since 1978 Roz Chast has contributed her wry, perceptive cartoons to The New Yorker, revealing the frayed, neurotic edges beneath the magazine’s cosmopolitan surface. She has contributed to many perodicals and published several books including Theories of Everything, Too Busy Marco, and her latest, What I Hate: From A to Z. Chast will discuss her work with Martha Kennedy, Curator for Popular and Applied Graphic Art at the Library of Congress.
Ann Telnaes Q+A2:30 pm | Brookside Conference Room
Ann Telnaes trained in animation at Cal Arts and worked at Disney before turning her attention to politics. Her syndicated political cartoons appear thrice-weekly on the Washington Post’s website and elsewhere, and in 2001 she became only the second woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning. Her pointed cartoons cover politics, war, and international women’s rights, among many other issues. She will discuss her work with journalist Mike Rhode.
Images of the Body3:00 pm | White Flint Amphitheater
Comics have increasingly expressed personal experience, but have focused largely on inner life, depicting the human form via traditional, synthetic cartoon figuration. Moderator Craig Fischer will speak with Robyn Chapman (Hey 4-Eyes!, Make), Jennifer Hayden (Underwire), Gabby Schulz (Monsters), and Jen Vaughn (Don’t Hate, Menstruate!, Heavy Flow) about the ethics, erotics, and extremes involved in representing the external experience of the body.
Comics in the Library3:30 pm | Brookside Conference Room
Librarians have long been on the cutting edge of promoting comics as part of the cultural landscape. But this still new category continues to raise questions of how and what to collect, and how to deal with challenges to individual books as they arise. Gina Gagliano will discuss comics and librarianship with Charles Brownstein (CBLDF), Sara Duke (Library of Congress), Dave Burbank (Takoma Park Public Library), and Annette Klause (Montgomery County Public Library).
Diane Noomin Q+A4:00 pm | White Flint Amphitheater
Pioneering cartoonist Diane Noomin was among the first contributors to Wimmen’s Comix, the all-female underground comix series. With Aline Kominsky-Crumb, she produced the series Twisted Sisters, and later edited two anthology books by the same name that showcased a new generation of women cartoonists. Celebrating a new book collection of her “Didi Glitz” comics from Fantagraphics, Noomin will discuss her career with moderator Heidi MacDonald.
Jim Woodring: Seeing Things5:00 pm | White Flint Amphitheater
Jim Woodring first made his mark with his probing, autobiographically-based series Jim. Since then, he has expansively focused on his character Frank, an anthropomorphic cartoon character moving wordlessly through a hallucinatory world of delight and terror, drawn in both meticulous pen-and-ink and gem-like color. His latest book is the Frank graphic novel Congress of the Animals. He will discuss his career in this spotlight session with moderator Ken Parille.