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Archived Smirk

This past Saturday we made our annual trek down to San Jose to go to the APE — the Alternative Press Expo. Last year was the first time we had ever gone, as it was around the time when we were first starting to get into comics, and realized that we were buying mostly the alternative ones (as opposed to Superman, X-Men, etc.&#41 like Johnny the Homicidal Maniac and Milk & Cheese. We had a good time last year, so we decided to go again. Some highlights (and lowlights&#41:

  • The Slave Labor Graphics booth: Yay, Slave Labor! They publish some of the best comics in the alternative comic universe, in my opinion. Highlight: Seeing Ariel Schrag (Awkward, Definition, Potential&#41 in person, after reading each and every one of her books. Meeting Roman Dirge, who does Lenore and who also drew me a picture of Lenore right on the spot while sucking on a lollipop. Lots of tattoos, lots of piercings, and younger-looking than I pictured him. He thanked me for buying the Lenore T-shirt. Lenore appeals to a lot of goths, as does Jhonen Vasquez's Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, but Jhonen is definitely the king of That Kind of Art. Lowlight: The fact that Jhonen hadn't gotten there by the time we left on Saturday (much like last year.&#41 Me, to Avery: "Why does Jhonen Vasquez always get here late?" Avery, to Me: "Because he can." He's like the star of Slave Labor. Last year when we saw him speak he had blue hair and was extremely funny.
  • The Oni Press booth: Highlight: meeting Judd Winick; you know…of the Real World: San Francisco. And he still lives here, too, except now he's a terrific and successful comic book creator (or whatever they're technically called when they both write and draw&#41 and a seemingly very nice person who, in a recent interview, claimed to hate being around people. I share his pain.
  • The Giant Robot booth: Not only do they showcase alternative comics at the APE, they also showcase zines (after all, it is the Alternative Press Expo.&#41 Highlight: I finally got that Giant Robot T-shirt I've wanted for the past year. Now I have my eye on the Giant Robot hoodie sweatshirt.
  • The Fantagraphics booth: Highlight: talking to Daniel Clowes (of Eightball&#41 himself, if only to ask if he had any back issues of Eightball for sale, since I've been looking for issues 1 through 12 for the past year and a half. Lowlight: The fact that he didn't bring any back issues at all, not even his most current ones. Not only that, he couldn't even provide us with a Fantagraphics catalogue to order them from, because they forgot to pack them, or something. Tsk.
  • The Smith Brown Jones: Alien Accountant table: Highlight: the cat toy in the shape of one of his characters, "P.O.P.S" that we bought. Also, the picture that Jon Hastings drew for Avery (since Avery is a huge fan&#41 on a piece of notebook paper; a picture of P.O.P.S. saying "Hey! I'm on crappy paper!" Cute. He and his wife were very funny.
  • The Fairmont Hotel, where we stay whenever we're in San Jose: Unfortunately, all lowlights, starting with somehow being stuck with the handicapped-accessible room, with the silver bars all over the bathroom to hold on to, and the crappy, crappy handheld shower thing, and no little vanity area with the flattering light that makes your skin look good. I woke up with a pounding head- and neckache, which I attributed to the desert-like dryness in the room. After taking two hot showers to try to force my neck to relax, I sat down in front of a big, beautiful, yummy room service breakfast (which is our favorite part of staying at the Fairmont, by the way&#41 and tried to eat: first some dry toast, then some juice, but continued to feel sick. We thought it was just me being overly tense or overtired….until I threw up. Biggest lowlight of them all: The bathroom was occupado at the time. At least I missed the rug.
  • The final highlight: In-N-Out Burger on the way home, which is a large part of the reason that we rented a car to get down there instead of taking the train. By then my stomach was pretty much back to normal, so yay! Yum!

Posted in Smirks.

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