Cryptic Press Small Press Expo 2004:

This photo is out of order, but I wanted to start off with one that best represented our table display this year. Since Teen Boat #6 is about running for class president, and the book was up for a "Best Debut at the show" Ignatz Award, and presidential campaigns and debates are on everyone's minds, we decided to really play up the campaign theme.

Thanks to Erin Houlihan, who designed a tie-in website at, and slick looking "vote boat" buttons that we handed out to all the attendees. Marion Vitus (who draws the mini-comic "No in Between" and is pictured here) brought skimmer hats and really had fun with the whole thing.

Close-up of the Cryptic Press/ Take Out comics table. And the buttons!

A close up of boothmate, Raina Telgemeier with Vote Boat buttons in her hair.

Here's Alternative Comics publisher, Jeff Mason and Heidi Macdonald (wearing one of the Friends of Lulu stickers, Raina designed, on her backpack), writer and columnist for The Beat. They both took advantage of the free internet service in the hotel lobby and frequently posted online events from the show as they were happening. In fact, one of Heidi's first posts during the show on Friday was about John Green's new haircut. The shortest it's been since he was in high school!

Here's the picture Heidi took and posted on The Beat along with this quote: "... The VOTE BOAT campaign is going strong, but the real talk of the show is John Green's new haircut!"

Dylan Meconis, who just completed drawing the strip Bite Me stops by the table to show off the power of her palms and take a button.

Here's Erika Moen who draws the comic strip, "Dar", over at , and Gina Biggs from Strawberry Comics who would later join us for dinner.

The dinner in question was a gathering at the California Burrito which allowed us to reorganize their outdoor tables so we could accommodate twenty cartoonist friends. Seen here, the always hilarious and awesome Duane Ballanger of Wide Awake Press taking to the challenge.

Owly creator Andy Runton enjoys a burrito and the anecdotes of the Wide Awake press guys. Not only were we voting boat this weekend, but some of us where voting with out MOUTHS! Raising the question "if you're thinking of voting for John Kerry, but the George Bush Burrito sounds tastier...which do you support?"

Raina Telgemeier, Ed Siemienkowicz, Matt Hawkins all thinking about completely different things...

Todd Webb hadn't slept in two days because he was finishing up his latest "Another Bum Kick" mini comic, and really wanted to get back to the hotel to crash. But as he was walking away, Dave challenged him to draw in his sketch book. Todd proved why he is legend in our circle of friends. We got served!

Back at the hotel we all hung out in the lobby and chatted with all sorts of attendees, like animator/cartoonist/phenom Scott Morse

We talked with the Superstar, himself: James Kochalka about how we were listening to his new RAP album on the drive down Punky Brewskies and especially the song UberNaut which we kept trying to dissect the lyrics and meaning to. We both agreed that Jason Cooley is an amazing rapper and how his background vocals on Ubernaut are hilarious and mindblowing!

Elizabeth from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

Check out this adorable Owly stuffed toy at the Top Shelf Comix table!

Here is a SILLY moment at the Flight Anthology booth. Erika Moen clocks Kean Soo, proving who is the mightiest artist of all. Joel Carrol tries in vain to mediate.

Here is a SERIOUS moment at the Flight comics booth. Or is it another silly moment? Can you ever really be sure with talented CON-artists like Vera Brosgol?

Raina enjoys the free veggie burgers provided by the SPX committee, while Jason Little of Bee Comix checks out her contribution to the upcoming Bizarro World anthology for DC.

Even Vera Brosgol's scary monkey puppet supports the Vote Boat campaign!

Dave draws in someone's sketchbook.

A fan asked John and Dave to do a jam sketch of Teen Boat in his sketch book. The drawing on the left is a tribute to Abby Denson of the band, Let's Audio.

Meathaus artist, Dash Shaw, and Rick Spears who writes, Teenagers From Mars.

Todd Webb and Toby Craig introduce us to their tablemates: James Earl Tiger and Rootbeer Giraffe. Thanks to them the weekend theme was the opening lines of "No.. no.. notorious!" by Duran Duran.

Canadian candy was a big topic of conversation at the show. Here Sara Rosenbaum shows off one of the coolest looking: Tree Stump chocolates!

Joe Flood, who draws Don't Eat the Electric Sheep and used to be Raina's roommate. Seen here weighing the difference between the new Teen Boat and Raina's new Smile collection.

Here is power couple, Bryan Lee O'Malley and Hope Larson. Bryan (or Mal as everyone calls him) is the artistic force behind Scott Pilgram's Precious Little Life which is one of the coolest books of the year. I was totally blown away when he remembered me after I dumped some of my mini-comics on him last year! Because I've been keeping his book out so that it can kick my ass and inspire me to get to work whenever I feel tired.
Hope is an amazing artist in her own right. You should check out her website She and Mal both did some of the best drawings I saw whenever anybody showed me their con sketchbooks.

Raina with Zack Giallongo who draws the comic The Tenth Life of Pishio the Cat.

Sunday morning we went to breakfast with Todd and Toby and felt compelled to draw as we waited for our respective food at the The Original Pancake House, one of the best eateries on this earth.

Usually John and Marion like to order the "Dutch Baby", which is actually much bigger than a human head!

That's one sour lemon!

"Good morning how are you, I'm Doctor Worm" greets a uninvited guest in one of the strawberries in Marion's Strawberry Crepes.




This young fan was carrying a silksreened posters from the Grampa and Julie: Sharkhunters Rock Party, came over to the table and enthusiastically bought a copy of the new Jax Epoch Volume 2 tradepaperback, proclaiming "hey I know this's so good!" In this photo you can see as she explains to her supportive mom, how Teen Boat is made by the same people.

Her younger sister checks out the new book for herself, excited that she gets to read it when her sister is done.

Long lost brother's Matt Hawkins reunites with Alexander Danner editor of The Graphic Novel Review, as well as the Modern Tales Newsletter. He also writes a comic called Picture Story Theater.

Mark Wilcofsky wears his pin with pride.

This picture appeared on The Pulse news site and shows John and Dave at the podium, accepting the Ignatz for best debut book! Even though we spent the whole weekend asking everyone to "vote boat," we never really thought it would work! As John pointed out referencing a quote from the comic, "I guess Democracy isn't a sham!"

Dave and John show off the award, which really is an actual brick on a wooden post, inspired by brick throwing mouse in the the George Hariman comic strip, Krazy Kat.

After the ceremony, we all celebrated a perfect end to a unbelievably fun weekend. We really owe everything to the support and enthusiasm of all our friends. Its sounds sappy but we really wanted to share the award with all of them. The whole thing was such an amazing experience that won't ever be forgotten.

A shot of the award on Dave's kitchen floor. On the way home Dave and John reflected how they first met at a comic convention in 1994, so this year is like the tenth anniversary of Cryptic Press. And since this was also the tenth anniversary of the Small Press Expo it just adds to the feeling of everything coming together.

On the left is the envelope card that Scott Morse read on stage. Supposedly a plaque with our names gets sent to us in the mail! Fancy!

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