I will be at SPX 2011 this year. I'll be hosting a panel on 9/10 at 3:30 in the Brookside Conference Room on "Stories Of Cultural Identity". I'll quote the blurb from the website: "America’s own culture wars are only part of a global struggle with identity, as nations the world over attempt to address the challenges of assimilating multiple cultures within a stable society. Moderator Rob Clough will talk to Jessica Abel (La Perdida), Marguerite Dabaie (The Hookah Girl), Sarah Glidden (How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less) and G. B. Tran (Vietnamerica) about comics that deal with issues of cultural identity." I'm looking forward to it.
As always, I'm happy to review whatever comics cartoonists choose to give me.
Here are ten young artists to seek out at SPX, on the basis of their potential and/or significant debuts at the show. A number of them are up for Ignatz awards. In alphabetical order:
1. Darryl Ayo. Ayo is an Ignatz nominee for Promising New Talent and is someone who has been steeped in comics and comics culture for a long time, even for a cartoonist as young as he. He's become a sharp observer of social mores as well as a mark-maker whose style has begun to coalesce.
2. Pat Barrett. This graduate of the Center for Cartoon Studies is one of its best draftsmen and stylists. His Oak & Linden minicomics are well-crafted one-man anthologies, and the actual anthologies he's been a part of (Nymphonomena and Tag Team in particular) are rather good.
3. Marguerite Dabaie. Dabaie is on my panel and has proven to be an interesting young voice with her Hookah Girl comics, which are autobiographical stories about growing up as a Palestinian-American. Dabaie is a fine draftsman with an eye for intricate detail.
4. Mike Dawson. Dawson is one of the more established cartoonists on this list, but his new book Troop 142 debuts at the show and it's his strongest work to date. He'll also be hosting a panel on his Ink Panthers co-host (on ten years since the publication of his first major work, Box Office Poison) that will likely be hilarious. Look for an extensive interview with him (by me) at tcj.com very soon.
5. Lisa Hanawalt. She's one of the top humorists in comics, full stop. I don't know if she'll have anything new, but now is your chance to pick up both issues of her awesomely gross and hilarious series I Want You.
6. Melissa Mendes. This CCS grad has a bright future ahead of her and will get a bit of spotlight with the release of her collected Freddy stories. Mendes' scratchy line and ear for children's dialogue make her comics a wistful pleasure.
7. L.Nichols. Nichols is a talented artist still restlessly searching for her ideal style. Her Jumbly Junkery one-woman anthology comics feature an assortment of diary strips, longer autobio stories, fiction, comics-as-poetry and other experiments. Like the other young cartoonists on this list, she has a relentless work ethic and it shows in her improvement.
8. Laura Terry. Terry's up for an Outstanding Minicomic Ignatz award for Morning Song, a comic I greatly enjoyed. Terry's work has a lyrical quality that complements her interest in formal experimentation quite snugly.
9. Matthew Thurber. Thurber is the genius behind the 1-800-MICE series, which is now done and will debut in its collected form from PictureBox. He'll be on a panel at 1pm on Saturday titled "Drawing The Grotesque".
10. Noah Van Sciver. Van Sciver is another hard-working cartoonist who's gotten better thanks to his willingness to publish everywhere possible. His recent mini The Death of Elijah Lovejoy will likely be one of my top 25 minis of the year. He has a book coming out with Fantagraphics next year, but until then I'd buy up copies of his one-man anthology comic book Blammo.