This weekend I attended APE, the hip self-publishing expo. It's gotten so large that I soon realized I would not be able to see everything. APE is known for its zines & independent comics, & there's tons of illustration & graphic arts. Zombies were especially popular imagery this year. I also saw figurines & stuffed dolls for sale, & some tables resembled toy stores.
It's always fun to chat with the creators, most of whom are young & overwhelmingly eager. It was good to get the latest issue of Trackrabbit from Geoff Vasile, who personalized my copy with extra dinosaurs. I'm glad I encountered Andy Warner again, who had a lot of crisp-looking stories to choose from. I was totally skeptical when the writers of Jack & Voytek told me about the real-life Jack Churchill, who fought in World War II with a longbow & broadsword, but their story checks out. Ruji C. created a Linux distribution for her webcomic character, which she sold on fancy USB thumb drives. The expo layout has lots of aisles but no clear path for circulating through the hall, so some exhibitors complained that they were not getting enough foot traffic.
For his spotlight presentation, illustrator Eric Drooker played the harmonica to accompany a slideshow of his work. He had a banjo slung around his neck, but he did not play it. He showed us rejected & nearly rejected New Yorker covers, described his collaboration with Allen Ginbserg, & channeled the progressive poltics of the 1930s. During the Queer Cartoonists Panel, Tony Breed explained that he added penguins to the cover of his latest collection because "penguins can desexualize anything." I took the expo's free shuttle to the Powell St. BART station on Saturday. The ride was comfortable, but the downtown traffic made it take almost as long as walking.
Amid the bustle was an unmanned booth containing low benches & small piles of whimsical zines. A sign read, "Please come in and have a look around. If something speaks to you, please take it with you as a token of your time here."
§ APE 2012
Alternative Press Expo
Saturday, October 13, 11am - 7pm
Sunday, October 14, 11am - 6pm
Concourse Exhibition Center, San Francisco