So here's a tale that I had blocked out from my memory of my trip to SPX that came flooding back last night for some reason. What follows is a true story, recounted as best as I can remember it.
The 2008 Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland. The convention hall is packed with people moving among many tables where comic book creators sell their wares. Our hero, SANDY, approaches the table for Top Shelf Productions. SANDY eyes one of the books on the table.
Out from behind the table pops ENTHUSIASTIC MAN.
ENTHUSIASTIC MAN (enthusiastically): I see you're looking at this book! Have you heard about it before? It's by Jeffrey Brown! It's called Incredible Change-Bots! [Note: Amazingly, his speech contained working hyperlinks.] It's like Transformers, only really funny!
SANDY: Yes. I've been thinking about picking this up for a while.
ENTHUSIASTIC MAN: YES! You absolutely should. It is HILARIOUS. Great stuff!
SANDY: Yeah - I saw a few pages of it in a review I read online, I think. Or maybe on Top Shelf's website.
ENTHUSIASTIC MAN: YES! You mean this preview?
SANDY: Yeah - I remember that preview. But there was another part that I read somewhere that was really, really funny.
ENTHUSIASTIC MAN: ALL RIGHT!
SANDY: It was this great bit where the transformer robot is a pick-up truck with a refrigerator in the back, and it's being driven by a guy, and then the robot transforms and the driver gets smushed. It was so funny!
NOT-SO-ENTHUSIASTIC MAN (face crumbling): No, that wasn't in Incredible Change-Bots.
SANDY (remembering now): Oh --
NOT-SO-ENTHUSIASTIC MAN: You're thinking of a comic strip from Perry Bible Fellowship, by Nicholas Gurewitch.
SANDY (mortified): Right --
NOT-SO-ENTHUSIASTIC MAN: Luckily he didn't make many strips about transforming robots.
SANDY: Of course! I knew that! I'm so sorry! I knew that!
Six members of the SPX Enforcement Squad encircle SANDY.
SPX ENFORCEMENT SQUAD LEADER: Excuse me, sir. You'll have to turn over your visitor's badge immediately. And any mini-comics you may have purchased. And your password to your comic book blog; you no longer deserve to write about comics. You disgust me.
SANDY is thrown out of the convention.
SANDY (screaming): I didn't mean it! Of course I knew the difference between the two comics! Please! Please!
Ok, maybe that last part didn't happen, but everything else was true. I felt like such an ass. That guy was so excited to show me this great comic -- that I really did know about -- and I felt like I had taken it and ripped it up in front of him. Such a schmuck. So, here's another apology to you, ENTHUSIASTIC GUY, wherever you are.
That’s a wrap.
2 years ago