Love With Comics: Small Press Expo
BYT Staff | Sep 14, 2010 | 9:30AM |

All words: Seaton Smith
All photos: Chris Svetlik

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“Sunday mornings are the best time to have a woman.” Jesse says from the back seat.

I agree, “Sometimes I would love to look at a f*ck buddy the next morning and say ‘Let’s have some eggs’.”

Leo smiles, “Absolutely. Not with all women. Some you can’t talk to. Which makes dating hard.”

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Carlos Mencia is undoubtedly one of today’s most popular entertainers and comics. Whether it is man-on-the-street interviews, studio comedy, commercial parodies, nationwide sold-out tours, or films, Mencia demonstrates an extraordinary ability to connect with a wide and diverse audience. Mencia comes from a humble background, born in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, the 17th of 18 children. His parents sent him to the United States when he was about three months old, where he was raised in Maravilla Projects in Los Angeles, California by his aunt and uncle. In his early teens, Mencia moved back to Honduras because his family wanted him to avoid the destructive gang culture of East Los Angeles. When Mencia later returned to Los Angeles, he showed such educational prowess that he was immediately promoted to the tenth grade. Soon after, he successfully graduated from Garfield High School. Mencia began his career doing stand-up on amateur night. After he found success on the L.A comedy circuit, Mencia was named “International Comedy Grand Champion” from Buscando Estrellas (the Latino version of Star Search). This led to appearances on “In Living Color,” “The Arsenio Hall Show,” “Moesha” and “An Evening at the Improv.” In 1994, he hosted the HBO comedy series “Loco Slam” and in 1998 he hosted “Funny is Funny!” on Galavision. Mencia released a comedy album in 2000 called “Take a Joke, America” that showcased his brand of humor. Mencia continued his journey up the comedy ladder by headlining “The Three Amigos” tour with Freddy Soto and Pablo Francisco in 2002, which sold out in record time around the United States. He was also featured in the independent films, “Outta Time” and “29 Palms” and starred in guest spots on “The Shield” and “The Bernie Mac Show,” among others. In 2002, he received a CableACE Award nomination for Best Stand-Up Comedy Special for his HBO special. That same year, Mencia was featured on “Comedy Central Presents.” Mencia remained busy and after the success of his solo dvd, “Carlos Mencia: Not For The Easily Offended,” “Mind of Mencia” went into development. The show was an instant hit and after the first season, Comedy Central signed Mencia back for his own original stand-up special, “Carlos Mencia: No Strings Attached.” The special was the first Comedy Central Stand-up Special DVD to achieve Platinum sales status. “Mind of Mencia” debuted on Comedy Central in early 2005. It became one of the strongest shows in the network’s history, averaging about 1.5 million total viewers. “Mind of Mencia” was executive produced by Carlos Mencia and Robert Morton (“Late Night with David Letterman”). In the summer of 2007, Mencia starred opposite Ben Stiller and Michelle Monaghan in the Farrelly Brothers’ hit feature film, THE HEARTBREAK KID (DreamWorks). In the fall of that year Mencia headlined a nationwide comedy tour titled “Carlos Mencia Live Presented by Bud Light.” The highly anticipated tour brought Mencia face-to-face with his fans from September 2007 through December 2007. Shortly thereafter, Mencia taped a new comedy special for Comedy Central, “Carlos Mencia: Performance Enhanced,” that aired in May 2008. Since 2007, every holiday season Mencia has embarked on a USO Tour to the Persian Gulf to entertain the troops serving overseas. For his 2008 trip, Mencia visited Kuwait to host “Operation MySpace,” an exclusive concert for American Troops in the Middle East alongside Jessica Simpson and The Pussycat Dolls. The special aired on FX in April 2008. Mencia’s 2009 USO tour had stops in Turkey, Kirkuk, Baghdad, Qatar, Afghanistan, and many other countries. In July 2008, Mencia began his tour, “At Close Range” at Red Rock Amphitheatre in Colorado. The tour was sponsored by Bud Light and co-promoted by Icon Entertainment and Live Nation. Larger than all of his previous tours, Mencia performed in 80 cities across the country. In the summer of 2009, he kicked off a nationwide comedy tour entitled “The Administration of Laughter” which brought him to excited audiences all around the country. In March 2010, Mencia starred in the family comedy OUR FAMILY WEDDING (FOX Searchlight) alongside America Ferrara and Forrest Whitaker. In the last couple years, Mencia chose to go back to his comedic roots, performing at a number of comedy stores throughout the country – allowing him to share his newest material with smaller and more intimate audiences.
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Jesse: Oh my god. Dates are the worst. It’s such a commitment. Cause even if it’s a bad date you have to call them to follow up like “Yeah that WAS a bad date, right?

Me: It’s like you’re pitching yourself in a business proposal. If you fuck me you’ll get these benefits. I might as well bring a power point presentation of my dick.”

We laugh. It’s weird. I met these dudes five minutes ago to drive to Small Press Expo (SPX) comic book convention. Had my regular partner, Chris Svetlik, by my side, and he did his usual cowboy grunt agreements, and suddenly I’m rolling with a group of dudes that have these heavy souls that need to be released. It’s like Yaya Sisterhood, except with beer.

Jesse: Hanging out is a lot better.

Leo: But then you end up dating girls in your circle. And when things end it makes hanging out so awkward.

Jesse: I tried to date outside of my circle once. She was in New York. She turned out to be crazy.

Leo: Well you’re going to get that with any girl.

I don’t know why we’re talking about women. More importantly I don’t know why we can’t STOP talking about women. Nothing is more sad than four guys talking about chicks when driving to a comic book convention. Nothing. Unless if it was a shuttle of dudes driving to a Harry Potter convention talking about women they WOULD bang if they had the TIME.

I just broke up with my girlfriend. I’m in the weird aftermath spot where your emotions go extreme highs and lows and you look for any thing to fill the void left. And since I don’t eat much or do drugs or go to church I’m relying a lot on every new person I meet. I’m THAT guy now. My conversations are going WAY too long with people. Like, “Hey what’s your soul doing right now?” type shit.

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We pull up to the expo. Look for parking. And as we get out of the car, we’re real cool. Well I mean I’m acting cool. But it IS comic books. I love comic books. It’s one the few things I do that actually threaten my ability to get woman. Like drinking and driving. It’s a stupid thing to try to combine.

Jesse: Think this place has food?

Leo: If it doesn’t it will be lame.

Me: We’re not staying longer than an hour if there’s no food.

Leo: Come on, there’s no way we have to stay longer than an hour for this story.

We’re all trying to hide our cards here. We’re WAY to cool for this: we like vagina, dammit!

The only crack in this aura could be noticed when Jesse leans into me, “Did you ever collect?” I whisper back, “Yes. Years back. Now I get collections.” Jesse nods, “Me too.”

And then we walk in!

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I felt like I was in a strip club, and I was trying NOT to get a boner. But I had one, I almost knocked over a stack of posters. Yes, I admit, I like comic books so much I want to fuck them.

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I don’t know how to choose a comic to be focus on. Comics are the only legitimate argument against “You can’t judge a book but it’s cover”. Of course you judge a book by its cover. But all the covers were cool as fuck. And the titles! These comic titles were so interesting. Seriously, if you’re a band looking for a name, go to a comic book convention.

Potential Bands Names:

Sequential Suicide

Big Dummy

Space Jail

Alien Loves Predator

Invisible Empire

Rice Boy

Umbrella Academy

Young Lions

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Chris walks up to me holding the camera in a way that speaks to a side of desperation: “This is supposed to be like comic con. I’m looking to get a shot of somebody absurd.” Only as we looked around everyone was not out of the normal.

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I would have coffee with all of these people. Then I see my reflection in the new laminated poster I just bought! “I’m the absurd one! Have you seen my poster? Let’s take a picture of it!”

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But now it’s time to focus on what’s important. I turn to Jesse

Me: See any hot girls?

Jesse: A few.

Me: If I see a hot girl here I’m going to have her children. I don’t know how. But I will bear them.

Jesse: Well I’ll keep looking for you.

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I see a booth of pin-up girls! Women drawn naked in a great position. And by great I mean every position is great when you’re naked, ladies! I’ve always wanted a dirty comic! Then I see a book where they have hot naked girls reading comic books (i.e. women whom you want to marry).

Jesse pointed out to me that some of these titles should be used for Albums titles instead.

Milk Cartons and Dog Biscuits

Seduction of the Innocent

A Above, So Below

You’ll never know

We will bury you

From shadow to light

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I saw a poster of a comic strip. It was a monster going through a cave, talking to himself about a love lost. The last frame is of him coming out of the cave into the light and him telling himself that “He’s found a way to live without her.” Fucking sick. Love and monsters. Hell yeah!

The author was right next to the poster. Dean Haspiel. I geeked out. “Anything you’ve written I want to buy. Now. AND HURRY THE FUCK UP!” He said, “I’m doing a reading of one of my stories.” Never been to a live comic book reading. I gather the troops. We’re going.

This is the room where all the hot girls gathered. Jesse and I turn in our swivel chairs and look at them all. Leo chimes in, “I could fall in love with everyone of these girls.”

Me: Look at that girl. She’s cute out of context. (ie even if she wasn’t at a comic book convention she would be hot) She’s laughing and being jovial at a comic book convention. That’s beautiful in itself. I had problems bringing a girl to a comic book shop for fifteen minutes let alone three hours at a convention!

Jesse looks at the same girl and says, “That girl IS hot. Good sense of humor, but she looks like she won’t laugh at the crap.”

Me: Yeah she’s not an annoying giggler.

One of the best nights I ever spent with a woman was when we spent five hours together (awake) drinking from a bottle of whiskey and vodka.

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It was amazing. The thing about liquor, is that you can fall in love and wake up out of love just as easily. (And I think I’m in love with actually FALLING in love. BEING in love is really annoying.) But if I had the chance to rewrite that day, the combination of drinking, sex AND comic books, would of made me hyperventilate. Imagine laying in bed drunk and sexed and the girl turned to look at me and say, “You want me to read a comic book to you?” I think I would giggle and have sex again, then answer, “Yes. Read the comic. I also love you.”

Leo: You ever watch Californication?

Me: See. I can’t watch shit like that without thinking that I can pull hot girls that easily too.

Jesse: Yeah it’s painful cause it’s not my life.

Leo: But there’s something to be said about living vicariously through that dude. Like, “Oh he did it again.”

We see there is an older man wearing all black and sunglasses inside. Jesse asks a philosophical question.

Jesse: How old do you have to be to wear sun glasses inside and it’s cool?

Me: I don’t know. This guy is killing it though.

Jesse: He’s badass!

The host takes the stage, calls the next writer to the podium. IT’S THE GIRL WE JUST WERE TALKING ABOUT!

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This is the point where I fell in love. When Lizzy Hickey took the podium to read from a comic book she’d written! This is a girl I would like to spend Sunday afternoons with. It’s crazy, just moments ago my standard for a woman was “please let me go to the comic book shop for 15 minutes please,” But NOW there is a hot girl right in front of me reading from the comic book she wrote and published! My god that’s not even fair. She had cut off jean shorts AND hipster thick glasses and giggled at her own comics. And the crowd giggled with her. I giggled with her. Yes, like a punk.

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Groupie effect. I’ve never been on this side. I don’t want to sound bad, but I know for a FACT I’m more attractive onstage than I am off stage. Maybe it’s control. Maybe it’s presence. But it’s just better. I’m looking at this hot girl now, thinking, okay, I’m a groupie now. The way people are just giggling as she describes her comic’s characters, frame by frame, I want to throw my panties on the stage (aka conference table)

I’m sitting there thinking. Lizzy, holla at me! I can’t promise you eternal love. But what I can promise is the creepiest date that you’ll ever have. Let’s make it happen. I’m announcing a campaign right now. “MAKE LIZZY GO ON A DATE WITH SEATON SMITH.” I think I’ll start a facebook group.

Another promise: on the follow up call, I will giggle like crazy.

But in the pathetic fashion of life, I had to leave, cause I had to make it to my own show. We all pile into the car.

Me: This was great.

Leo/Jesse/Chris: Yes.

We linger together a little longer. We stop at McDonald’s. Leo suggests to sit and eat, and even though I’m in a hurry I agree. We talk more about random shit, like the fact that Jesse has a scooter that is from 1984, and when he gets rich he’s gonna buy a station wagon to match his scooter and maybe have it transform together so it can split, like in the Dark Knight.

Leo: It would so cool to take a girl on that scooter.

Me: What would be really cool is if the girl had any regret of the one night stand you can say to her in the morning, “You want to ride my scooter? “ And all her regret will disappear.

I drop them off and go to my gig in bumble fuck Virginia. All throughout the 3 hour drive I felt like I should have been playing some hipster love song. I don’t really have much hipster love music (except for my BFF Matthew Hemerlein’s super secret new album tracks he’s sending me) so I had to settle for Otis Redding. It was an introspective ride.

And in the hotel room that night, I read my new comic books.

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Comments:
Recent Comments:
  • Comic books suck says:

    A) There hasn’t been a good comic book written/drawn since the 70’s. I’m sick of all these half-ass kids who graduated from art school just shitting out some ‘graphic novel’ and then crawling back into whatever bike messenger bag they came from. Nobody cares about your female ninja grade-school assassin. What we need are some real heroes again. Give me Flash any day.

    B) Who are these guys? Is Seaton the guy with the giant moustache?

    C) Is this part of ComicCon?

  • ALISON says:

    This was stupid to the point of frustration.

  • Eden says:

    I realize that most people probably can’t tell from this article, but I would like to say to everyone that Small Press Expo is incredibly welcoming to women. I haven’t done a count, but there are plenty of women who attend and exhibit. Please don’t let this post mislead you into thinking it’s just a bunch of dudes because it’s not.

  • Seaton says:

    That’s an amazing title! that damn near brightened my morning knowing something like that exists.

  • Logan Logan says:

    speaking of awesome comic titles, did you know that the guys that did the original TMNT comics had a spinoff series called Fully Adult Thermonuclear Samurai Elephants. Furreal.
    loved the writeup + photos. good job guys.

  • yup says:

    So none of you actually talked to the girls you saw at SPX?

    • Susannah says:

      Reading this makes my deonsicis easier than taking candy from a baby.

    • Nduttchubby says:

      Yes, he’s pretty spiacel! This link is actually to my new blog: life in Northern Colorado. Like you, I couldn’t contain my blogging to just one platform! Let me know what you think! Love and hugs, dear friend. Cathy

  • evan says:

    I thought I saw Seaton cruise past my table. I should have yelled out.

  • Sepie says:

    “Yes, I admit, I like comic books so much I want to fuck them”.