Tuesday, July 21, 2015

S.P.A.C.E. 2015

Earlier this year, the vendors who had purchased tables for the Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo found out that the regular venue, the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Columbus, Ohio, had closed suddenly and unexpectedly and that S.P.A.C.E. was being rescheduled for summer. That was bad news for some who were planning to go to the show in the spring. It turned out to be good news for others who wouldn't have been able to make it on the original dates. Not having enough time is the way most artists live. Having more than enough time is a new experience. I'm surprised we knew what to do.

A rescheduled show. A new and never-tested venue. A scramble among artists to see whether they could make it or not. Changes to everyone's plans. There were reasons to doubt that S.P.A.C.E. would come off well this year. But it did. Really well by our estimate. And for that, Bob Corby, the organizer, and his staff should be praised and commended. Next year, there might even be a statue of Bob in front of the Northland Performing Arts Center in Columbus, the location of this year's show.

Larry Blake and Terence Hanley were among the artists at this year's S.P.A.C.E., which took place on Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19, 2015. Larry was in the main room, a vast, dark, noisy, and crowded place that used to be a department store. His table sat catacorner from that of Harvey Pekar's widow, Joyce Brabner. Terence was in a kind of annex, a small, brightly colored room off to the side of the main room but on the way to the vending machines and restrooms. For one reason or another, everyone at the show had to go through the small room and past his table. There was also food for sale by outside vendors, and you had to go outside to get it, either in the extreme heat on Saturday or a hurricane-like rainstorm that came through on Sunday afternoon.

Larry is a regular at S.P.A.C.E. and has been since its beginnings in 2000. In 2009, he was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award. (Tim Corrigan, also a contributor to Five Star Comics, won the award in 2006.) Larry's setup at S.P.A.C.E. is familiar to everyone who goes. Terence, on the other hand, hasn't been at S.P.A.C.E. as a vendor since 2013. Both had fun and saw old and new faces, including Michael Neno. Terence also met D. Blake Werts, a writer, editor, publisher, and fan of small press. Blake publishes a mini-comic-sized magazine called Copy This!, available at his website, Midnight Fiction, at:

In Copy This! #15, (May 2015), Blake interviews Billy McKay and includes mention of Larry Blake's Kevin Cool #30, from January/February 2015. Kevin Cool appears in Five Star Comics #3, but his regular venue is his own digest-sized title. You can order copies by contacting:

Larry Blake
69306 State Route 124
Reedsville, OH 45772

Also mentioned in Copy This! is Michael Neno's enigmatic Where Is Document No. 30?, a mini-sized comic that's worth the dollar you have to part with in order to get it.

Speaking of digests, D. Blake Werts is on the staff of a new digest-sized magazine called The Digest Enthusiast. The title is accurate: The Digest Enthusiast includes articles about digest magazines and comic books, plus interviews with and profiles on the people who have worked in these little magazines. In a welcome development, the Enthusiast also publishes illustrated short fiction. And to round things out nicely, Michael Neno has had his work in the two issues published to date. The Digest Enthusiast is available at the website of Larque Press, here.

For Larry and Terence, this year's S.P.A.C.E. ended with quick repairs to their car, made in a deserted parking lot, with a piece of rubber gasket and a hose clamp. Then it was home for a little rest before beginning preparations for the next show.

Copyright 2015 Five Star Comics