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October 14, 2007

SPX 2007

As was the plan, we set off for DC Friday morning, taking a wild swing through the heart of the city to deliver some art and finding ourselves eventually in Bethesda, where the Small Press Expo has been happening for many years now. We arrived and checked in. We found our table. We started to set up.

SPX was being held, as these things often are, in a hotel ballroom.

Our table covering had grown rather linty. And hairy. Damn cats.

It didn't take too long to set up.

The thing started at 2:00. While waiting for the crowds, we had some lunch.

Eventually, people came to look at our books.

Even Pete came. Pete Everett. Perhaps the nicest guy I know.

The first day of the show was satisfying, but not extraordinary. We sold some books, met some folks, saw some other work we admire. In fact, as soon as I have the time to do some sorting and scanning, I'll do an entry featuring some of our favorite stuff from the show.

After the show ended, we drove back into the city to the house of a friend, Stella, who had prepared some truly excellent crispy toast/tomato/mozzarella/prosciutto/balsamic/olive oil thing.

Living without a kitchen as we do, we sometimes forget that such things can be prepared, and often are, by people not that much different than ourselves. So struck were we with the aesthetics of the treat that for a while we sat, content just to look, unable to actually eat. And then we got over it and ate with enthusiasm. It had been a long day.

After dinner we played with Stella's very small dogs.


And Frank

Combined, the two of them probably weigh the same as one of Iggy's legs, and yet they terrorized her relentlessly. Iggy is a huge wuss. Takes after me.

In the morning, we stopped by a neighborhood farmer's market.

The tomatoes were nice and red. The apples were nice and firm.

Back at SPX, we decided to try a new strategy for day 2. A lot of comics have really colorful, graphical, vivid, exciting-looking covers and are entirely black and white inside. Our covers, on the other hand, are rather spare, employ lots of white space, and are generally less visually arresting than the insides of our books. At a place like SPX, getting people to stop and open the books is the biggest challenge. And so we displayed a number of our books open on the table, that Robbi's illustrations might have a chance to catch some eyes.

The strategy worked. We got a lot more traffic the second day, and a lot more sales. Like this one (actual sale, not simulated).

And look at this happy couple, dreaming of the ways in which their lives will improve as a result of having been introduced to Idiots'Books. It warms the heart.

I had to take a picture of this gentleman, who apparently wears only purple suits.

He wore a different purple suit on Friday. I wish that I had thought to take a picture.

Sales were so lively that we actually sold out of a few titles. Facial Features of French Explorers was the first to go, followed by Understanding Traffic. Ten Thousand Stories was the top seller, however. By the end of the show, people were coming by the table telling us that they had been directed from earlier browsers to check our stuff out. It made us feel good.

Back at Stella's, we took the dogs for a walk.

I decided to do some experiments with the wide-angled lens.

The results were satisfying.

We went to downtown Bethesda for some dinner. On the way back, we came upon this upsetting sticker on the back of a sign.

For those of you who cannot read, the sign says, "I hate Duke." This statement is directed not toward European royalty, but toward my beloved Duke University Blue Devils, and if I may conjecture, most pointedly toward their very fine men's basketball program. As a Duke fan, I found the sticker hurtful. I looked to my companions for support. What I found was Stella, leaping with delight.

Stella is a fan of the Maryland Terrapins. Maryland fans tend not to think much of Duke or Duke fans for that matter. It is amazing that Stella and I are on speaking terms. Or should I say, were on speaking terms. After her latest display, I might have to reconsider.

We headed back over the bridge this morning and stopped on the way back at the outlet malls not far from the 50/301 split. Robbi has begun to feel somewhat confined by her clothing, and the time had come to consider some wardrobe enhancements.

After being turned away by Old Navy, we found our way to Gap, where there was a small, yet serviceable maternity section. At this point we were too caught up in a whirlwind of choosing, trying on, and evaluating to take any photos, a thing that I very much regret. For those of you who have not seen maternity pants, they are demoralizing garments. Though remarkably useful.

As was the case when we returned from the Museum of Comic and Cartoon festival last June, we have an enormous box of books and comics that we acquired at the show to go through. There are a lot of people doing really wonderful things out there. I'll share some of my favorites in days ahead.

Posted by bogenamp at October 14, 2007 11:46 PM