When: Sat., Oct. 4, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sun., Oct. 5, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. 2014
The Alternative Press Expo (APE) may be hosted by Comic Con, but the two events have completely different vibes. APE is an indie comic nerd’s dream, held, appropriately, in the Bay Area. The initially San Jose-based event was started in 1994 by Dan Vado with the goal of supporting and celebrating small press and self-published comics. The idea was to bring together folks from the DIY comic-making community to celebrate the genre-defying gems and oddities that lurk in the comic book industry’s margins. In APE’s second year, Comic Con jumped on board to help organize, and in 2000 the event moved to San Francisco. This year, for the first time, the expo will be held in the massive Fort Mason Festival Pavilion (2 Marina Blvd., San Francisco). Even as the event grows in size and popularity, it seems to have stayed very much the same in spirit. Rows of booths hosted by eager artists with comic books, graphic novels, zines, posters, prints, and all other things illustrated fill the space. Along with exhibitors, the festival always hosts a lineup of popular writers and authors to sit on panels, give talks, and do signings. This year, illustrative legend and Juxtapoz magazine cofounder Robert Williams, who has been pushing the envelope of odd illustration for decades, will be speaking. Local comic artist Jason Shiga of Empire State, Meanwhile, and Demon will also be speaking on a number of panels. It’s a bit of a trek from the East Bay, but you’ll come back with an eclectic bundle of floppies and a revived hope for the future of small press publishing.