An Ode to Small Press Expo
Milk & Honey Comic Anthology is a celebration. Now coming up on our second anniversary since our first issue, I wanted to give my warmest sentiments to where it all began in Bethesda. Small Press Expo is an amazing annual festival that is a utopia especially for artists, independent cartoonists, and small publishers. The term 'Small Press' means the various forms of graphic art and comics not normally accessible through normal commercial means. It is located in Bethesda, a city outside of Washington DC, and it is pretty easy to say it is one of my most anticipated trips I look forward to all year.
The most memorable time I ever went was in 2015 with my buddy Jesse Mead. Him and I became friends over the last couple years while living and working near each other in Charleston, SC. We met up often for draw-n-drink hang outs, until the drinking eventually over came the drawing. A resent CCS graduate and converted cartooning cult member, Jesse was edger to find a wider audience to share his comics and his continue pursuing his dream. We made our way to Maryland, I think by driving. The picture to the left is of Jesse getting his inventory of comics all prepared the night before. The next morning, one redline train ride later, we arrived. My first time seeing the event left me awestruck. I hadn’t been to many of the usual cons before, but, I had never seen so many people gathered for just especially indie comics. Comics that weren’t the typical superhero or movie adapted plot at least.
I realized in the middle of typing this that I had been here the year before in 2014 as well, also with Jesse, and was pleased to of made many friends and connect with many people instantly. Everyone i’ve meet all are talented and admirable people. Special shoutouts to this fun pic of Micheal Sweater. You’re an inspiration, homie. Both him and Jesse have been key in coming up with Milk & Honey’s original premise, and we wouldn’t be at our third issue without their support. Jesse and Mike are the illustrators to our first and second issue of Milk & Honey. Which you can check out here:
Well, thats a good amount of talking for the first blog post. We will definitely have some more in-depth coverage of Small Press Expo this year, where our third issue will be premiered! There isn’t an official table this year, but so many of our contributors will be there, it will be available on about a dozen tables. Here are some of the few other pictures I took of the previous years.
A picture of my partner, Savannah as a witch, commissioned by Natalie Andrewson in 2015.
The following year was an inspiration, not only on my own work, but for the desire to find a way to captivate the Small Press Expo experience I had in a psychical form. Milk & Honey Comic Anthology came together in my head the months that followed and began to come together that new year. I had some graphic and editing experience, but this first attempt was filled with a sharp learning curve, from coming up with interview questions, to learning a way to manufacture a zine from the ground up. Using a local printer, I made a super limited batch of 150 copies of the 38 page zine. A lot of the contributors this first issue donated their work and time to this issue, so my mission that first year was to get it simply into as many hands as possible for free. Our first issue is still free digitally at our Gumroad. (link above)
(Marketing is always a challenge, but leaving free download codes was a lot of fun that year. I’ll probably be doing something like that again this year too maybe...)
(I love the DC area. The city is beautiful for many reasons, but I have a special fondness for the elaborate Metro and underground public transit system. I use to play a lot of Fallout 3, a post apocalyptic adventure game that takes place in the ruins of DC, has a lot of parallel architectural similarities.)
(Also featured to the right is one photo is a panel with PEOW Studios, where they talk about working with rizograpgh printing. Man, I bought that book on the pic and it was one of the last copies, and I foolishly gave it away to my sister! And she took it to Berlin with her! I’ll Never see it again!)
Anywho <3 See y’all soon!