August 26, 1999

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (Northampton, MA) -- The EXPO-SPX99 (, the nation's premiere showcase for alternative, small press, and creator-owned comics, will be held September 17-19 at the Holiday Inn in Bethesda, MD, just over a mile from Washington, DC. Now in its sixth year, the event celebrates the enormous diversity and potential of comics and cartooning. Proceeds from the show benefit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit organization protecting the First Amendment rights of the comics community.

Exhibiting artists at this year's expo include Charles Burns ("Black Hole"), Eddie Campbell ("Bacchus," "From Hell"), Jeff Smith ("Bone"), Jason Lutes ("Berlin"), James Kochalka ("Kissers"), and dozens more. Altogether, nearly 200 artists and publishers, including Drawn & Quarterly, Fantagraphics, Oni Press, and Slave Labor, will be in attendance. While the Expo's focus is firmly on small press comics, the show draws fans and professionals from all parts of the comics community. Comic Book Legal Defense Fund board member Frank Miller ("Sin City") will take time out from his visit to sign at the CBLDF Booth. Acclaimed comics and fantasy author Neil Gaiman ("Sandman," "Neverwhere") will also make an appearance at the show before his 1999 Guardian Angel Tour kicks off with a reading on September 21 at the Bethesda Theatre Cafe.

The EXPO-SPX99 is to host the third annual Ignatz Awards to recognize outstanding achievements in comics and cartooning. Named after George Herriman's brick-wielding mouse, this festival prize is determined by ballot at the Expo. The awards themselves will be presented at a gala Ignatz Awards ceremony on Saturday night (September 18). For a list of this year's nominees, visit

This year's Expo will be held in conjunction with ICAF, the fifth annual International Comic Arts Festival ( ICAF is one of the few academic convocations in this country devoted to comics, bringing together artists, scholars, and critics from around the world. Held on September 16 - 18, this event is sponsored by Georgetown University and the embassies of France and Belgium. ICAF's focus this year is on culture, industry, and discourse. Papers to be presented at ICAF include "On Byron, Shelley, and Crazy Jane: Romanticism and Modernity in the Comics of Grant Morrison," "The High Cost of Fandom: The American Comic Book Industry from Mass Medium to Niche Medium," and many more.

The Expo is also proud to host the annual trade show of PACER, the Professional Association of Comics Entertainment Retailers ( on September 16-19. This trade event allows retailers to meet with publishers and distributors on issues that affect the comics industry. PACER also includes educational seminars, roundtable discussions, and publisher presentations.

All this takes place at the Holiday Inn in downtown Bethesda, MD. With easy access from Washington, DC, northern Virginia, and I-95, the area also sports more than 170 restaurants. Rooms are still available at the Holiday Inn at special discount rates through the end of August. Contact the hotel at 301-652-2000 for details and reservations, and be sure to mention that you're with The Expo.

For more information about The EXPO-SPX99, visit the show's web-site at In addition to providing event, travel, and lodging information, the site features spotlights on the work of attending creators. It also provides a list of comic and book stores around the country which carry and support independent comics.

The EXPO also sponsors an annual anthology comic featuring new stories and strips from many of the attending creators. "SPX 99: The Comic" sports 200 pages of cutting-edge comics, wrapped in a "Jay and Silent Bob" cover by Matt Wagner. This hefty package retails for only $5, and all proceeds support the CBLDF. "SPX 99: The Comic" is available from your local comic shop, or directly from the CBLDF by calling 1-800-99-CBLDF or visiting the CBLDF web-site at

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization preserving the First Amendment rights of the comics community. Donations and inquiries can always be sent directly to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund at P.O. Box 693, Northampton, MA 01061. Be sure to check out "Busted!," the CBLDF's quarterly newsletter or for more CBLDF news.

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For additional information contact Chris Bleistein at (413) 586-6967 or

Chris Bleistein - Assistant Director
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
P.O. Box 693,
Northampton, MA 01061
413-586-6967 Voice
413-582-9046 Fax

Source: Press Release