Small Press Expo Announces 20th Anniversary Guests Jules Feiffer, Lynda Barry and James Sturm in a Tribute to the Comics of the Alt-Weekly Newspapers
For Immediate Release
Contact: Warren Bernard
Bethesda, Maryland; June 12, 2014 – This year is the 20th Anniversary of SPX, which will be held September 13 and 14, 2014 at the North Bethesda Marriott Hotel & Conference Center. For our 20th birthday, we are pleased to announce Jules Feiffer, Lynda Barry and James Strum as the first of a number of guests for a celebration of the rich and vibrant comics world of the alt-weekly newspaper.
Nearly seventy years ago, a teenage Jules Feiffer entered the comics world as an assistant to the famous Will Eisner. He soon made a name for himself via his ground-breaking comic strip Feiffer, which ran weekly in the Village Voice for over forty years. Mr. Feiffer and his eponymous strip is considered the Godfather of the alt-weekly newspaper comic.
Active as a cartoonist, playwright, novelist, children’s book author, screenwriter and professor, Mr. Feiffer’s incredible career has included an Academy Award, a Pulitzer Prize, membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters & the Comic Book Hall of Fame, as well as a lifetime achievement award from the National Cartoonists Society. He will be at SPX 2014 to sign his latest graphic novel, Kill My Mother, which will be released this summer from the Liveright Division of W.W. Norton.
In 1979, Lynda Barry’s seminal Ernie Pook’s Comeek began appearing in the alt-weekly The Chicago Reader. For nearly two decades, her comics — which appeared in over seventy newspapers nationwide — inspired several generations of independent cartoonists who saw themselves in her characters, and recognized their struggles in her stories.
Since retiring the strip in 2008, Ms. Barry has been active as a teacher running workshops for hundreds of students a year and doing her best to show people that everybody can be creative. She is now an assistant professor at the Department of Art at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Advance copies of her book, due out in October of this year from Drawn & Quarterly, Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor about teaching art to all skill levels, will be available at SPX 2014.
Co-founder of the Center for Cartoon Studies James Sturm has an amazing resume. In addition to the ground-breaking school he started, Sturm co-founded The Onion as well as The Stranger, Seattle’s legendary alt-weekly newspaper, where he served as the comics editor. Mr. Sturm worked with Art Spiegleman on ‘Raw’ in the 90’s, and was a professor at the Savannah College of Art and Design.
Mr. Sturm also found time to put out graphic novels such as Market Day from Drawn & Quarterly, and The Golem’s Mighty Swing on his own imprint, Bear Bones Press. A true champion of comics, Mr. Sturm has won both an Eisner Award, and a Xeric grant. In addition, his writings and works have been published in The New York Times and The New Yorker.
Small Press Expo (SPX) is the preeminent showcase for the exhibition of independent comics, graphic novels, and alternative political cartoons. SPX is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit that brings together more than 600 artists and publishers to meet their readers, booksellers, and distributors each year. Graphic novels, mini comics, and alternative comics will all be on display and for sale by their authors and illustrators. SPX also has a two tracks of of panel discussions and interviews with this year’s guests that run through both days of the event.
The Ignatz Award is a festival prize held every year at SPX, with the winners chosen by attendees at the show. All works nominated for Ignatz Awards are donated to the Small Press Expo Collection at the Library of Congress, which is the first institutional collection in the United States dedicated to the indie comics field.
As in previous years, profits from the SPX will go to support the SPX Graphic Novel Gift Program, which funds graphic novel purchases for public and academic libraries, as well as the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF), which protects the First Amendment rights of comic book readers and professionals. For more information on the CBLDF, visit their website at http://www.cbldf.org.