I attended Alternative Press Expo 2013 in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago and it was a great show. It was my 2nd year attending and I have really been taken in by the charm of this smaller show with it’s non-mainstream (e.g. not super-heroes) publishers and creators who are self-publishing as a side-effect of their passion for comics.
There was a pretty good crowd given that there were no big mainstream publishers or “hot” creators in attendance. We got publishers who specialize in the more eclectic comics fare: Drawn & Quarterly, Fantagraphics, Last Gasp, NBM, Slave Labor Graphics, and Top Shelf as well as many smaller outlets. There were quite a few booths for projects I recognized from Kickstarter (a wonderful mechanism that creators regularly leverage to get their projects out in front of their fans).
It was great fun being able to walk around and talk about comics and creating comics with passionate talented people. My main regret is that I didn’t have the funds to buy one of everything. Given economies of scale, self-published comics are often much more expensive than the books put out by the major publishers, so it’s not exactly cheap to get as many books as I’d like, but I was still able to pick up a decent number of really cool comics, sketchbooks, and collections from a variety of creators whose work can be found on the internet but not necessarily in the majority of comic shops that cater to more mainstream comic book tastes.
If you love comics that you’ll usually find in the back half of the Previews catalog or on Kickstarter, you should seriously consider checking out APE next year. It will be held Oct 4-5 at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco and you can make a nice vacation of it. San Francisco is a wonderful city, and I combined my APE trip this year with a great vacation down California’s Central Coast, which is beautiful. I can assure you, it’s a trip you would not regret.
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