Oh, I’ve been to every SPX since I think 2007 or 2008? So six or seven years now? Crap…I’m an old-timer. And yep, I’m going again this year too! I’ve been tabling there for so long I’m considered a ‘Legacy’ or whatever under the new system and was invited to table. Yay!
My advice to you: APPLY!
I consider SPX to be THE small press comic show of the year. The only show that might give it a run for it’s money, in my experience, is TCAF. There’s a reason the internet broke in half last year when applications opened: Everyone wants to table there!
There’s just too many good things to say about SPX, but I’ll list some of them. It seems like almost every indie cartoonist in the country goes or tries to go, so you get to see all your old friends and meet lots of new ones. Everyone brings their A-game. There’s so many good comics and new comics debuting that it’ll make you cry. The show tries to put every creator on the same level (why they’ve wanted to stick to the first-come-first-served style of applying for so long), so you could have someone just starting out with their first minicomic ever tabling right next to a comic legend that’s been in the business for 20 years. The folks who run the show know how to run a good show. Every year seems to get better and better. For the last few years the place has been packed with attendees. Even when they doubled the size of the hall last year (the expanded room was HUUUUUGE), it was still packed to the gills. They know how to get folks to show up, and those people spend money. I can’t speak for everyone, but I made mad bank the last two years (well, mad for me anyways) and it seemed like a lot (but not all, every case is different) of other cartoonists make more at SPX then they do at other shows. It all takes place in a hotel that’s not really near the center of town and most of the cartoonists stay at the hotel, so it’s like being stranded on a desert island with all your best comic buddies but in a good way (does that make any sense?). Did I mention the infamous chocolate fountain and free beer tickets and party that takes place after the Ignatz Awards? You haven’t partied until you’ve partied an SPX drunk cartoonist party.
I could go on and on for days. It’s always been one of the highlights of my year. Good people, good comics, good money made.
So apply! I think every small press/indie/whatever cartoonist should do SPX at least once in their lives. It’ll be interesting to see how the new lottery system is going to work out, but if you get a table I think you’re going to have a blast!