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More from the 2004 SPXPo - the Dumbrella Update

I never manage to "be" at SPXPo as much as I plan. It's a double-edged sword being the local convention. It's easier for me to get there and easier for me to get pulled away.. Still I managed to put in a solid 4 hours plus on Saturday and had a great time. I've been going since 2002 and I think this year was the best in terms of amazing comics and just the sheer number of people I wanted to see there. I missed several folks that in years past I would have had sufficient time to stalk...

I spent some time chatting with the Dumbrella folks - Jon and Phillip, R and Jeff. It's a hard thing to describe - these guys are kind of like webcomic rock stars except well it's still comics, right? So I'm not sure what the correct phraseology should be. They were all in great spirits and it's obvious friendship helps to drive the Dumbrella train.

Jeff mentioned something about a second comic he was starting up but, duh!, I forgot to write it down and now I can't remember. I bought both volumes of WIGU from Jeff and look forward to checking them out. I got my very own sketch of Sheriff Pony in one and a giraff (?) in the other. I also asked for a sketch of When I Grow Up characters Neil and Roger and I got one - Jeff put it as "Neil and Roger several years later. What can I say - When I Grow Up was one of my early favorites.

R and Jon gave me a bunch of heck about the slowed pace of daily updates on Comixpedia and also muttered darkly and secretly about various new webcomic projects they will be hatching but I think one of them did a mind-wipe on me so I may have dreamed that part.

I ran into two uber-journal comic icons at SPXPo as well. I've seen James Kochalka at this every year I've been I think (definitely last year...). I bought the mondo 5 year Sketchbook Diaries collection this year. Softcover was 25 or 35 bucks - can't recall now. Hardcover may have been 50 (maybe 40?). Anyhow I bought the softcover and I'm reading it and it really is an immense work to hold five years of strips in your hands.

I caught Kochalka selling a copy to a teenage girl and mother before me which seemed vintage Kochalka (alright I'm extrapolating a lot to say "vintage" since I don't have a huge frame of reference with him personally but I think I'm probably right about this given the "Kochalka" portrayed in the diaries). He cheerfully conducted the transaction with her, but felt compelled to add something to the mom like - "it's got some, um, stuff in it because it's just my life and sometimes..." I didn't catch it all but it didn't seem to deter the purchase.

I also found Drew. I missed him last year and I chalked it up to me looking for the "Drew" as portrayed in the comic. The real Drew is a little different in appearance. He's extremely modest, and seemed taken aback by all of the attention he got in 2004. I bought a book copy of the Journal Comic archives and a great sketch in it. He's not a quick artist - but I certainly appreciate getting the sketch :) He also mentioned that he's going to do more Little Trees soon.

At the very end of my day there I met Rob Balder - I had met his table mate earlier - Barbara Fisher (I hope my memory is right!) who is actually fairly frequent Comixpedia poster, KittyKatya (she has her own webcomic Fragile Gravity) but Rob wasn't there until I came back. Balder does PartiallyClips which is a funny strip that uses clip art. We interviewed Balder sometime ago and I wish I had more time to ask Balder about how he was doing but I had to get to the circus (literally!) so I couldn't stay for long. We did talk a bunch about Comixpedia and a bit about the Most Read List. Balder actually pointed out to me one more problem/obstacle to more accurate counting that I had never thought of.

I'll try to post more on SPXPo tomorrow.