CASUAL SPX: The Afterglow



Started my journey to SPX on Thursday morning, stopping in Pittsburgh for the night where I thought I’d be meeting up with fellow comic-person and awesome friend Dan the following morning. After a quick exchange on Twitter, I had found that I had somehow screwed up my dates horribly and had come a day early. I am a moron.

This is Dan. For reasons unknown he doesn’t photograph well. I think he’s magic. He’d almost have to be in order to put up with me, I guess.


Met up with Dan the following day and stayed at his apartment for the night. I ended up doodling and watching all of Stella while he tried to get some comics together. Went to bed at 3 am.


OH GOD DRIVING FOREVER. Left P-burgh at 8:30ish and listened to all three Scott Pilgrim soundtracks on the drive down to Maryland. Finally after equal amounts of conversation and awkward silence, we arrived at the hotel.:

It’s actually off to the left there…

We get into the hotel and the first person we see Dan’s friendperson Mike, who was also awesome. The second person I see is PEN FREAKING WARD. YOU KNOW, THE ADVENTURE TIME GUY? OH SHIT. At this point, my brain pretty much shut down and all hopes for meaningful conversation with me were pretty much dashed.

We entered the exhibition hall and walked around and looked at stuff and said hi to people. It’s funny because Dan would introduce me to people that  I knew from the internet, I’d shake their hand, and I could see the realization dawn on their faces and watch that turn to abject horror. First met with superawesome internet bestie Garrett and his room mate… and then he took my picture or something and I felt really awkward.  Met friends L. Nichols (nicest person in the world!) and BT Livermore (he published Bear Fight, the book I was in a while back!):

BT and L. This be they.

We made a circuit around the hall and then I spotted what appeared to be a bearded 15-year old with unibrow dancing maniacally behind his table… but it wasn’t much to my dismay:
Can YOU guess which one had an unrequited gay crush on me?

I was crushed to discover it was only Gavin Schmitt and his brother Owen from Robot Martini. Perhaps I’ll see one next year… Also kinda-sorta met-ish Box Brown who was at the table next to the Robot Martini peoples. At some point in here we also met up with our room mate, also named Joe, who is doing what appears to be a totally fucking sweet-looking video game as a thesis project at Parsons in New York. Other Highlights from Saturday afternoon included:

-Buying the Johnny Wander book. I spazzed and nearly walked off without paying Yuko, who then thanked me for paying exact change because all people had been giving her were 20s and breakage was no longer possible. I am such a frigging doofus.

Watching this.

-Stealing a bottle of water from a Korean wedding reception being hosted at the same hotel.

-Dan introducing me to Anthony Clark who had no idea who I was and looked mildly frightened, and Josh Frees who knew who I was and looked mildly frightened.

-Seeing Pen Ward and/or Natasha Allegri every five minutes.

-Getting the hotel to send two engineers up to our room to hook up a Wii to the giant sexy TV in the room. Fucking cartoonists…

-Overpriced bar food.

Went down to the Ignatz Awards afterparty later in the evening:

Where I met these two:

Madeleine: Naughty Boozehound

Angela Dunn and Madéleine Flores, who went looking for me… for some reason. Met Flynn Nicholls, who does really awesome comics and I’m pretty sure I creeped out as well. Briefly spotted Chris Haley, who looked at me funny. Ran into L and BT again, who introduced me to another internet friendperson, Daryll Ayo, whose picture I regrettably didn’t get because I think he hates me now. The night ended back in the room where Flynn, L, and BT came up and we all played the vidya gaems and Joe (the one who makes the vidya gaems) kicked everyone’s asses at Smash Bros. Really, really hard.


Woke at 10 am feeling very much the opposite of P. Diddy (Howie Mandel?). Changed clothes in a closet. Had a godawful sinus headache that thankfully cleared up after a ridiculously spicy vegetarian quesadila at the awesome diner down the way from the hotel (STOOD THREE FEET FROM PEN WARD. HE WAS BEHIND ME IN LINE.)

Went back to wander around the exhibition hall again. Briefly spotted internet comicfriend Eric, who I didn’t quite recognize until I saw him putting his sketchbook away and saw his art style. We stopped at Jim Rugg‘s table and he seemed really nice and I ended up wussing out on thanking him for doing Street Angel, one of the comics that helped shake me out of a terrible bout of weeabooness. I ran two blocks to an ATM to get money to purchase Life Meter 3. Ended up weirding out Dave Roman and Raina Telgemeier when I came back for it sweaty and out of breath.

Said goodbyes. Went home. Went home for TEN HOURS. Urgh.

tl;dr- It was so, so cool. It’s actually been sort of hard readjusting to normal life after a weekend where I didn’t feel like a complete freak and people knew what I was talking about on the rare occasion I actually spoke. Hoping I can get a table next year and kinda sorta actually talk to people more.

And thanks again to Dan for putting me up and putting up with me. I was totally clueless and I’m sure I was a definite style-cramp and I’m just glad you didn’t ditch my ass somewhere. I’m freaking lucky to have you as a friend.

I’m inspired. I want to write. I want to draw. I need to draw and be proactive. I don’t want to languish in obscurity in Ohio forever.

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38 Responses to CASUAL SPX: The Afterglow

  1. Mr. Edens says:

    Awesome man, thanks for sharing!

  2. MeisterJ says:

    Very cool. The ending sounds very poignant, seriously. I’m starting to feel that way, except I’m languishing in Virgin-ah [apparently that’s amusing to me at 7.34am] and people keep telling me my stuff is good, for some strange reason…I think I’m starting to believe that they’re not being nice, but being honest…They also think I know what I’m doing

    Anywho, it sounds like you had a great weekend, and jealous that you have the JW book! One day we’ll both be on the other side of the table with nervous 21 year-olds asking to buy our shit…that kind of seems horrifying…

    Here’s to making it in comix!

  3. Garrett Perrella says:

    Dude! So glad you had a fantastic SPX weekend. (really sorry for awkward photo moment). I’m happy you’ve found some inspiration/learned something from this/and now have a drive to succeed. Looking forward to what you put forth from here on.

  4. Eric Kubli says:

    NEXT TIME, JOE. I still can’t believe I missed Madeleine and also like a bunch of other people I wanted to see holy shit.

    • Joe says:

      I was trying to find my friend Jessi on Saturday but the spot where the map-thingy said her table was located was NOT THERE.

  5. Anii says:

    wow! sounds like a fantastic time!! i’m gonna go next year with kings! >w<~~ the johnny wanderer crew are so nice! i've met them at a few cons.

    you're inspired.. now DRAW!!!! like..a fiend~~!!!


  6. Brittany Dye says:

    “Woke at 10 am feeling very much the opposite of P. Diddy (Howie Mandel?)”
    That made me giggle hysterically. Well done sir.

    Also, I’m glad that you had such a good time!

  7. Dude?!? Fifteen? I’m almost 30 😛

  8. Kate Burck says:

    I doubt everyone was mildly terrified. :b
    The first time you go to a big thing like that is always scary and overwhelming and way to awesome. I remember the first time I went to OIAF I was probably mildly brain damaged.

  9. Tara says:

    Awesome! Sounds like you had a blast, I’m so effing jealoussssss. Gotta go next year. Just gotta!

    Did you do your sketch business cards?? :]

  10. Jim says:

    Dude, you were there anf you didn’t say “hi”!?! Oh man, I can’t believe we didn’t run into one another.

    Anyway, glad you had an awesome time. The bar food was overpriced…

  11. Sayward says:

    I’m quite sure that NO ONE stared at you with abject horror, and why the H did you change in a closet?

    I’m glad you had such a good time. It sounds like you went on some sort of coming of age bromance journey to manhood or something. Awesome. I’m trying to make funner friends so next time we can have our clandestine rondezvous and awkward hugging.

  12. Josh! says:

    SOOOO Going next year! Especially after reading this! By then I’ll have at least a few comics to bring/trade (hopefully!!). I definitely won’t get a table considering it will probably be my first con… unless I find one to go to between now and then… Anyway, I’ll see you up there in one year!!

    P.S. I was happily wearing my while reading this.

  13. Johan Yortsed says:

    Sounds like a good weekend indeed! Wish I could get to the cons on the west side of washingmachine! Glad it added to your fire! Excited to see where it goes!

  14. Meaghan Macey says:

    Hahahahahaha Garrett makes people feel awkward frequently. You’re not alone, my friend.

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