In less than 24 hours, the world’s best cartoonists and indie comics makers bring their talents to the DMV (that would be the DC-Maryland-Virginia area of the country, and not, alas, where you get your drivers’ license renewed) at the 21st annual Small Press Expo in Bethesda, MD.

In addition to hosting esteemed guests like Noelle Stevenson, Scott McCloud, and C. Spike Trotman (among many others), SPX is also home to the Ignatz Awards and a venue for fans of the medium to support some of the hardest working artists in all of comics. After the cut, we’re going to highlight a few of the things we’re most excited to see this weekend.

So Many Artists
Click on the map for the full list of exhibitors.

The organizers of SPX deserve a lot of credit for their ability to jam so much talent into such a small space, but that’s exactly what the main ballroom of the Bethesda Marriott contains every September. This year is no different. If you’re at the show, we encourage you to visit each table, buying merch along the way. Some of the artists we’re most excited to see are long time friends of the blog Jeremy Whitley (F9), Wendy Xu (C9), Robin Ha (B5a), Joe Hunter (W89a), and Jamie Noguchi (E8).

Black Art Matters

Like any good comic show, SPX’s panel programming is top notch. But there’s no other panel we’re more excited about than the “Black Art Matters” one featuring Ron Wimberly, Darryl Ayo, C. Spike Trotman, Whit Taylor, and Keith Knight on Saturday in the White Oak room at 2pm.

Ignatz Triple Crown?

Arguably, the highlight of any SPX is the Ignatz Award ceremony on Saturday night. The award — named after the mouse from the influential Krazy Kat comic strip — celebrates the best of indie comics and cartooning, and this year we’re rooting for critically acclaimed graphic novelist Jillian Tamaki — who’s up for three awards.

In addition to nominations for Outstanding Artist and Outstanding Anthology/Collection for Super Mutant Magic Academy, Tamaki is also up for Outstanding Story for her story “Sex Coven” in the quarterly comic and art series Frontier — which, coincidentally is up for Outstanding Series.

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Are you planning to attend SPX this year? What are you looking forward to? Sound off below!

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