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Columbus expo offers space for indie comic books

Amanda Abney / Lantern reporter

Tables were splayed with colorful books and works of art. People circulated, chatting about their favorite independent comics.

The 13th annual Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo (S.P.A.C.E.) was held Saturday and Sunday at the Ramada Plaza Hotel and Conference Center, located at 4900 Sinclair Road.

There were more than 130 booths of people selling their original comic works.

The mission of S.P.A.C.E. is to give independent comic book writers and artists a chance to mingle and sell their work.

“What you will see is a lot of artists and writers producing their own work,” said S.P.A.C.E. organizer Bob Corby. “Our mission is to try to get the exhibitors a very inexpensive venue to sell their products because there is just a lot of great work out there that doesn’t get seen.”

There were exhibits of original artworks and comics. Members of the Elyria Comic Book Initiative held workshops teaching people how to make their own comics.

Prize presentations were held. First place winners included “Spoilers” by Kevin Czapiewski in Webcomics, Paul Zdepski for “Sing Sing: A One Act Opera” in Mini-Comics and “Diabetes Funnies” by Colin Upton in the General category.

A mix of newcomers and attendees who had been coming to the expo for years flooded the Ramada.

“I didn’t even know it existed until a month ago,” said artist Greg Donchatz, 36, from Houston who works as an artist and freelance tattoo artist in Columbus.

James Maddox, 31, of Marietta, Ohio, said he was attending the expo for his third year. Maddox is editor-in-chief of Broken Icon Comics.

The difference between Comic-Con, the annual comic expo in San Diego, and S.P.A.C.E. has to do with its lack of mainstream comics, Maddox said.

“The people that come here are more interested in finding new and different materials,” Maddox said. “You will find that superhero stories don’t do well here.”

There were a variety of stories at S.P.A.C.E. that ranged from a cat working on Wall Street to hookers gone wild.

Sara Lindo, 27, from Jersey City, N.J., wrote a comic about her cat that is a kind of therapist to traders titled “Ike the Cat in Wall Street Cat: Money Takes Naps.”

“It’s about if my cat had a job,” Lindo said. “He is really emotionally in-tune with people.”

Some at the expo said they thought works shouldn’t be reproduced for the masses and artists should concentrate more on original material in terms of production of comic books.

“I come from a world where I’m only as good as the last painting or drawing I did,” Donchatz said. “So this mass market of, ‘Let’s print something for 25 cents and sell it for $1 and act like we are doing something original and good,’ just isn’t my thing.”

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