Showing posts with label John Kovaleski. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John Kovaleski. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A Big Trip to the Small Press Expo: A Guest Post by Charles Brubaker

John Kovaleski and Charles Brubaker
by Charles Brubaker

One thing that became apparent to me as I became serious about cartooning is that vending in conventions is very important. Not only are comic conventions the best way to network with other comics professionals, but also are a good way of gaining new readers as well.

Figuring out which cons work best for me is a case of trial and error. Even if I focus on cons that are friendly to indie comics, it's still a gamble. I tried everything from a big ones like Baltimore Comic Con to smaller ones like SPACE in Columbus. However, one con I really wanted to go to was Small Press Expo (SPX), which was held this year on September 16 and 17.

Long regarded as the ultimate indie comic convention in the US, I was very curious about what it's like. Getting a booth there wasn't easy, as SPX gets thousands of application every year, while only being able to take a small number (I believe that nearly 600 people exhibited this year), so they choose who gets to have a table by using a raffle system.

To say it took me a while to get a space there is an understatement. In fact, it took me 2 years until luck shined on me. SPX was the fifth con I went to in 2017 (including a free table space I got at a children's book festival in my local library). I normally try to reserve my number of conventions to three due to cost factor, but I decided to take the SPX offer because, well, it took me years to finally get an opportunity.

I would normally fly to conventions, but after several airplane trips and going through TSA, I decided to drive to Bethesda, Maryland with my dad. It was a long trip from western Tennessee; it took two days, with a stop in Huntington, West Virginia.

I arrived with several boxes, containing paperbacks of my "Ask a Cat"  and "The Fuzzy Princess" comics, plus left-over minis and floppies from my other cons. Both of my on-going comics feature cats as leading characters. So naturally, the SPX people saw fit to put me in booth K-9 (har har), where I shared space with Lucy Bellwood, who traveled a lot further than I did, coming from Oregon. I don't know if the SPX people gave me that table number on purpose, but I'd like to think they did. It would fit with their sense of humor.

In previous cons, I would normally only sell floppies and mini-comics. I had my "Fuzzy Princess" stories printed in individual standard-sized issues, and minis collecting "Ask a Cat" strips. However for SPX, I had paperback books, having drawn enough material for both comics. I was worried that I would have harder time selling paperback books over the comparatively cheaper minis, but the opposite was the case. I ended up selling far more paperbacks than minis and floppies. As Lucy told me, "people like books with spines." I especially sold a lot of "The Fuzzy Princess Vol. 1," which is more story-oriented. Graphic novels are popular there, it seems.

While I still plan to continue making mini-comics, since they're easy to make, and also because they make great perks for my Patreon, I've been thinking of phasing out my floppies because of the cost. The cost of printing full-color comic books is about the same as printing up a 150-page black and white paperback book, and people would rather pay for $10 paperbacks with tons of content, even in black and white, over a 30-page color comic books that cost $5.

Of course, with nearly 600 people vending, and over a thousand or so people attending, you are bound to run into familiar faces. Pretty much everyone I worked for was there, but I was meeting them in person for the first time. These include Chris Duffy (editor for SpongeBob Comics), Ryan Flanders (art director for MAD Magazine), and Shena Wolf (editor at Andrews McMeel). Other familiar faces included comic creators. It was nice seeing Keith Knight again; the last time I saw him was over 10 years ago, when I was still in high school. Among people who were near my booth were Sponge Bob-contributor Joey Weiser (Mermin), whom I already met a year before at FLUKE in Athens, GA, Drew Weing, who draws "The Creepy Casefiles of Margo Maloo", and Steve Conley, who draws "The Middle Age" for GoComics. I also ran into John Kovaleski, who drew one of my favorite comic strips, "Bo Nanas", years ago. I had my online readers come visit me, which is always a pleasant experience (and a special mention to Mike Rhode, who suggested I write this post when I saw him).

The second day was a lot slower, selling fewer books, so I took the opportunity to walk around the con more. The thing about cons this big is that there will be creators you admire, but had no idea they were going to be here. That was the case with KC Green and Meredith Gran. It's impossible to keep track of everyone you know who's going to be here.

In spite of the slow second day, my overall experience was very good. It was a jam-packed event, from seeing everyone who is enthusiastic about comics, to the lively Ignatz Awards ceremony, and the legendary chocolate fountain. Here's hoping I can go back in 2018.

Charles Brubaker is a cartoonist based in Martin, TN. He draws Ask a Cat ( and The Fuzzy Princess (, and also contributes to SpongeBob Comics and MAD Magazine. His blog is

Thursday, April 14, 2011

OT: New webcomic by John Kovaleski, MAD Magazine artist

My friend John Kovaleski would like you to know about his new webcomic -

John Kovaleski has launched a new webcomic called "Dadding Badly" - all true tales of a first-time father. Not your typical parenthood stories, "Dadding Badly" has already covered such hot topics as leprechaun impersonations, square cows, and how many times you can hit your father in the head with an empty Kleenex box. Attached is a sample comic.  Please visit the site below for more fathering fun.

John Kovaleski is a cartoonist and humorous illustrator. He is the creator of the comic strip "Bo Nanas," which was syndicated by the Washington Post Writers Group from 2003 to 2007, and collected in the books "Monkey Meets World" (2005) and "APPEELING: The Best of Bo Nanas" (2008). He is also a frequent contributor to MAD Magazine, making him one of the "usual gang of idiots."

You can see more of my work here:

As always you can find  out too much about me on my blog:

Or follow me on Twitter:

Monday, November 09, 2009

John Kovaleski, FOCDC*, interviewed

Nickel, Scott. 2009.
20 Questions with John Kovaleski.
A Nickel's Worth blog Sunday, November 8, 2009

*Friend Of ComicsDC. I'm thinking about having badges made.

Monday, September 28, 2009

More SPX photos

This set's new additions has local DC cartoonists and my friends for the most part. Many of the shots are by my daughter, and these are from Day 2- Sunday, 9/27/09.

Chris Schweizer. I love his Crogan's Revenge pirate story.

100_8158 Scott Rosenberg
Crack ex-DC journalist Scott Rosenberg.

100_8154 Steve Conley
Steve Conley. Steve was selling original strips from Socks and Barney for an insanely low price so I bought 2. (that's one of Rob Ullman's girls behind him)

100_8155 Rob Ullman
Rob Ullman, the sadly-missed Washington City Paper's Savage Love columnist.

100_8153 Carla Speed McNeil
Carla Speed McNeil of Finder

100_8152 Andy Runton
Andy Runton of Owly. Box Brown in the background. Pic by Claire.

100_8150 Jennifer Hachigian
Jennifer Hachigian who does Lore. Pic by Claire.

100_8149 Jim Ottaviani
Jim Ottaviani of GT Labs. Pic by Claire.

100_8143 Doug Bratton and John Kovaleski
Doug "Pop Culture Shock Therapy" Bratton and John "Bo-nanas" Kovaleski. I wasn't familiar with Bratton's work but bought a complete set. I think I've got a full set of John's except for minis.

100_8145 John Kovaleski
John Kovaleski

100_8146 Raina Telgemeier
Raina Telgemeier. Pic by Claire.

100_8160 Ed Piskor
Ed Piskor. Pic by Claire.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

John Kovaleski's Shelf Porn includes Harvey Pekar: Conversations

John and I have communicated back and forth a bit after meeting at SPX. We swapped books, and I see Harvey Pekar: Conversations on his signed book shelf at "Send Us Your Shelf Porn!" by Chris Mautner,* September 9, 2009. Chris notes that John has a new book he'll be selling at SPX, and he's usually got some minicomics too - I'll be stopping by his table.

I love looking at pictures of people's libraries, but this is the first time they've looked back. So to speak.

*I also know Chris from the late, lamented Comix@ mailing list.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Last Chance: Free Bo Nanas Mini-comic for Free Comic Book Day

John Kovaleski writes in to inform us:

Only two more days to get a free copy of the Bo Nanas mini-comic, "TheBlustery Day." It's all in honor of Free Comic Book Day (Saturday. May 2), All you have to do is e-mail me and I'll send you a PDF copy. (There's ateeny bit of assembly required, but I know you can handle it.) So what are you waiting for? Get your copy today! Offer ends tomorrow!

Also, on Free Comic Book Day I'll be at Comix Connection in York, PA, 10:00 to 2:00. I'll have the usual books and fun and FREE signed Bo prints.

As always you can find out too much about me on my blog:

Enjoy Free Comic Book Day - the greatest holiday of them all.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ot: John Kovaleski in Gettysburg

Got this email a few minutes ago, as I'd bought his book and minis at SPX:

Christmas is coming (perhaps you've heard - it's in all the papers) and that means
shopping shopping shopping. So, with that in mind, I'm doing a booking signing at Gallery 30 (30 York St, Gettysburg PA) on Friday, December 5, 5:30-8:00. I'll be signing my new book APPEELING: The Best of Bo Nanas and my not-so-new book Bo Nanas: Monkey Meets World.

At the same time, in the same place, my wife, Jocelyn Swigger, will be having a release shindig for her new CD, "Piano Recital."

I know it's pretty unlikely that you'll all be in southern central Pennsylvania this Friday. So if you feel the need to gift-up, you can find my books here:

And my wife's CD here:

And for more info than you'd ever need/want about me, please visit my blog. I post about 4 times a week about my cartooning life for your time-wasting pleasure.