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

All words: Seaton Smith
All photos: Chris Svetlik


“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.”

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!


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.


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!”


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.


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.


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!


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.