The Alternative Press Expo, founded by Amaze Ink/Slave Labor Graphics founder DAN VADO (Hi Dan, it's me again!) in 1994 as a showcase for independent and self publishers to display their works and spread the word on works that don't carry a Marvel or DC stamp. In 1995, Comic Con International took over the event. APE started as one day events until 1998, where it gained an extra day and continued the tradition up till now. One question BEGS to be asked here:
What's wrong with this picture?
Comic Con International, to many of us, once represented the mecca of comic conventions in the United States... At least once in your lifetime, you had to make the pilgrimage. Today, it seems like Comic Con is becoming less a comic convention and more like SHOWest, as Hollywood's presence has become the dominant force of the show. Where publisher tables were open and inviting, they seem more like roach motels--- The comic powers-that-be spend more time pandering to the publicity than the public, and the term 'intellectual property' sounds more like an oxymoron than ever before. Even USAToday covered Comic Con as '...the hot spot where you may actually find comics...'
Many of the small press publishers, like Fantagraphics for example, have publicly stated that they're considering moving away from the vibe of Comic Con to shows like APE and SPX in an attempt to bring indy comics (and comics in general) back to the public.
It almost seems systematic, doesn't it? Comic Con, attempting to stave off the implosion of the comic industry, cozies up to the Hollywood machine to bring in new John Q. Public readers who don't normally read comics... John Q. Public, for a larger part, considers the Hollywood presence more viable than the comics that surround them; thinking it's kid stuff... Comic Con buys out shows like APE, so that at least they have somewhere to keep their artist alley, despite the fact that there's no money in it... The face of a dollar bill says more now than an intelligent man with no money, huh? It's almost the Big Boys way of saying, 'you can still have some, just not much of it...'
Truth is, with the business, such as it is, being in such straits, the powers-that-be (all of them!) should know that the industry--- mainstream and indy alike--- should thrive as a whole, not by strangling off its parts. This is why foreign markets that once emulated our industry, now laugh at it. Our market is becoming a VH-1 special, y'all... To all my NEXT 100, I urge you not to lie down on this... Our fight has truly begun.
Support the indy movement and the industry... What's left of it.