Friday, October 13, 2006

Oh, I Wish I was in D.C. (ICAF and SPX)

What a weekend to be in the Washington, D.C. area! First up: Yesterday saw the start of the 11th annual International Comic Arts Festival, located at the Library of Congress and running through tomorrow. ICAF brings together scholars and cartoonists from the world over, this year featuring cartoonists like Jules Feiffer, Rupert Bazambanza, Ellen Yamshon, Phil Jiminez, and Denny O'Neil, and academic presentations and special events on topics as diverse as Cultural Exchanges in French Comics, Editorial Cartoons by Herb Block, step-by-step production of a mainstream US comic book (Firestorm), comic art concerning the Rawandan genocide, and much more.

I began attending ICAF from its 2nd meeting, joined its Executive Committee, and even Chaired the event in 1999 and 2000. In 2002 I had the great honor of interviewing Art Spiegelman at an evening program (as captured for posterity in The Comics Journal), an interview which will be published next year in a collection edited by Joseph Witek (Comic Book as History). I've not been able to attend the last two ICAFs, so I haven't had the opportunity to experience their new collaborations with the Library of Congress's Prints & Photographics Reading Room and especially its Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon. I miss the presentations, the discussions, and all of my ICAF friends. Next year, though, I hope!

Also in the area - well, actually in Bethesda, MD, but close enough to do both - SPX, the Small Press Expo, runs today and tomorrow. A comics convention for alternative / small-press - self-published comics, SPX offers a one-stop wonderland of print, from the most obscure mini-comics to the latest offerings from publishers like Drawn & Quarterly, Top Shelf, Fantagraphics, and of course many, many more. ICAF and SPX were partners for several years, so I often experienced the sensory overloads, wallet-draining, and Ignatz-Award ceremonies that are SPX. Now on its own again, SPX also offers programming and guests, this year including Megan Kelso, Ted Rall, Scott McCloud, Gabrielle Bell, and lots of others.

It's wonderful that these two events run simultaneously, but think of the tough choices to make! Well, maybe next year I'll have the opportunity to face these difficult decisions...

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Blogger K. A. Laity said...

Next year, for sure! You cannot be kept from ICAF and ICAF cannot be kept from you.

10/13/2006 12:07 PM  

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