The Alternative Press Expo has come and gone for yet another year. APE is part of the holy trinity of Comic Cons Convention Clusterfuck. It’s the little hipster sister to San Diego Comic Cons big brother and Wondercons aspergian second cousin. APE is the time for small press publishers and independent creators to shine being focused entirely on people who don’t play mad scientists on the TV or aren’t Frank Miller. The exhibitors list at APE features deep, thoughtful people who make art and create books about the human condition and failed relationships and maybe sprinkled in there somewhere is a zine about a squid eating a sandwich.
Because I don’t get enough of hotelry in my day to day life I generally open my home to visiting cartoonists. To my considerable delight I had Erika Moen and Dylan Meconis Come to lodge with me this time. They are sassy and very skinny which means they are remarkably easy to store in close fitting spaces.
They are also really super good cartoonists and when I am around them it makes me feel like a worthwhile person.
Friday, The day before the official start of the convention I made the effort of washing all the towels and sheets and vacuuming all the surfaces that had dust or tortilla chips on them, which was all of the surfaces. Then opened every single window and hosed every household item with Fresh Linen Glade including my hair.
I wanted to be an impressive and gracious host so I went to the market to get fancy things for dinner that would look fashionable and slimming on my mismatched silverware. The local Cala Foods was unfortunately short on what I needed so I was forced to abandon my original menu of “Fresh Coelacanth Stuffed with 24 Carat Diamonds and Braised in White Truffle Oil, Deep Fried Panda Fetus wrapped with arugula & prosciutto Starters” and settled instead for “Chicken baked with a Buncha Condiments and maybe some Kinda Salad?”
Then I was tired and took a nap on top of the pile of warm towels I put in the bathtub.
Dylan and Erika rang my phone at about six and I frantically folded the towels in a way that hid the drool from my nap and hurried downstairs to let them in.
They were kind enough to have brought wine which is the customary sacrifice in my temple. I enthused that the vintage they had purchased would pair magnificently with the mayo based dressing that would be on and in everything we’d be eating. Then I gracefully burned my hand on the skillet.
Bam. In your face, Barefoot Contessa.
While the Chicken simmered in it’s mayo and mustard gravy we had out bottle of wine and chatted. Mostly about “doin’ anal” and “fartin'” and next thing we knew all the wine was gone. There was concern about buying another bottle as the first one was a bit costly.
“Wait. How much was the one we just drank?” I asked.
“I think it was like thirteen or so…” Said Erika.
I was agape. “I don’t know what kind of classy broad you think I am but no. No, no, no. You go up to that Cala Foods find the ones with the yellow tag on em’. Nothing over five dollars! This is California, the plonk won’t make you blind here.”
Things got progressively fuzzy after that.
In the morning we made it to the con about an hour(…half hour?) late. The floor plan at the Concourse has been changed for the better. The venue has been enlarged with a patio area and a better looking entrance. On the upside it’s less like spending a weekend in the cattle pen of a slaughter house on the down side I had no idea where our fucking table was.
I looped around the hall for a good twenty minutes during which I found everyone else except for my cohorts at CousCous Collective . I found Barry Deutsch who does the comic Hereville. I went in to give him a big ol’ fatty hug only to realize as I pulled away he had no idea who the fuck I was. I found Spike who does Templar, AZ , I found Evan Dahm the creator of Overside, I found all and sundry save for Couscous. I passed by the Top Shelf where Leigh Walton lurks behind his orange shag covered table and the Writers Old Fashioned table that seems to become more elaborate with every convention.
I mean six foot high vinyl banners. That’s just hubris.
It took a few more circuits around the hall to find my table. Pancha and the rest had already set up the wares (which included our new anthology FOREST and Shaenon Garritys’ second volume of Skinhorse) so I immediately made myself useful by laying down behind a stack of boxes and taking a nap.
I awoke a few hours later to find Mark standing over me. I walked him around for a little bit. Mark eventually took off and I spent the rest of Saturday standing in front of various tables shoving after dinner mints into my mouth and generally looking like a rapist. All of the chairs at my table had asses in them for most of the day so it was alternating between the minty sexual offender thing and being a distraction at Erika and Dylans table. I had the pleasure of meeting Trixie Biltmore who I liked instantly because she made a joke about her vagina being like a windsock in one of her comics. And then I liked her even more because some dude told her that made her a bad feminist. But then I liked her a little less because she wouldn’t put after dinner mints in her take away burrito…
Sunday? I couldn’t even tell you about Sunday because I started drinking pretty early. After a couple days of not explaining why I don’t have my graphic novel done and being cripplingly embarrassed of the way my word balloons look in the anthology I was ready to just blot everything out.
Monday my esteemed house guests departed me and I sank into the usual flu ridden ennui that follows any convention.
(This post was mostly to link to a bunch of people I think are snazzy. I’ll…I don’t know… be funny again at some point.)