Tuesday, October 04, 2011

APE 2011

APE 2011I spent my Saturday at the Alternative Press Expo, a celebration of independent comics, print & the hand-made. Every year the artwork gets slicker & more well-crafted. Big draws this year were appearances by Kate Beaton, Daniel Clowes, Chris Thompson, Adrian Tomine & Shannon Wheeler. Fans lined up in front of various tables throughout the day for signings. I witnessed Mr. Thompson assiduously drawing a portrait of the heroine of Habibi in each book he signed.

Artist Ray Sumser asked passers-by to name their favorite cartoon character, then he pointed it out somewhere in his Comicosm, a 6'x9' painting crowded with 1,500 iconic characters. Los Angeles-based cartoonist Jeff Krell is on a mission to bring the hilariously raunchy work of German cartoonist Ralf König to an American audience. Many of the local creators I had seen at Zine Fest last month were here, including the endearing Jason Martin & the bluff Geoff Vasile, whose old-school attitude belies his youth. I was also accosted most personably by Justin Hall, whose Queer Cartoonists Panel is now a fixture of APE. I later heard another panel discussion in which all the creators dismissed art school as a scam.

This year the expo provided a free shuttle service from Cal Train & BART, but the schedule was infrequent & had an unaccountable gap in the middle of the afternoon. I walked from the Westfield Mall to the expo in about 20 minutes, which was quicker than waiting for the shuttle.

§ APE | Alternative Press Expo 2011
Concourse Exibition Center, San Francisco
October 1 -2

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