Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo

Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo
Photo: backporchcomics.com
The Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo (S.P.A.C.E. or SPACE) is an annual comic book convention held in Columbus, Ohio. It focuses on alternative comics, webcomics and minicomics. According to its founder, SPACE is about the comics and the creators with no distractions.

Prior to the Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo, there had been a few comic conventions focusing on small publishers in Columbus, but none of them had become a regular or at least semi-regular affair. The first edition of SPACE was organized by small press comics publisher Bob Corby in 2000. It featured nearly 50 small press exhibitors from several states including Ohio, Connecticut, North Carolina, and Illinois.

Like most other comic book conventions, SPACE is built around an exhibition of comic books and graphic novels. The convention focuses on small press, creator owned and art comics. The program also includes an exhibition of drawings and illustrations as well as panel discussions and workshops carried out by industry professionals.

In 2001, Ben Corby and Canadian cartoonist and publisher David Sim founded the Day Prize. The award was named in honor of Howard E. Day, commonly known as Gene Day, a well-known Canadian comic book artist. It was awarded every year between 2001 in 2007 for outstanding achievement in self-publishing. After Sim withdrew from SPACE in 2008, Corby replaced the Day Prize with the SPACE Prize. The SPACE Prize is awarded by a group of judges and exhibitors in several categories: General Category, Graphic Novel Category, Webcomic Category, and Minicomic / Short Story Category.

One of the main goals of SPACE is to help independent comic book authors find their audience. Many former exhibitors have become popular outside the narrow circle of indie comics lovers and have started to collaborate with more mainstream publishers. Others have remained loyal to independent publishing which hasn’t prevented them from growing professionally and gaining a following of devoted fans. According to Corby, watching exhibitors’ work blossom over the years is one of the best things about the show.

SPACE

Photo: backporchcomics.com



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