WHAT IS S.P.A.C.E.?

"SPACE is about the comics and the creators with no distractions. I've always felt a great creative buzz during the show."

In 1988, Bob put together the first Oh, Comics! an annual anthology title and sold it at the Mid-Ohio Con here in Columbus. There was only one table and about 13 small press publishers showed up, but that planted a seed in Bob’s head. He continued with Oh, Comics! and then in 1995 Dave Sim announced his "Spirits of Indendents" tour. The very first one was here in Columbus. The following year though the Spirits show disappeared he continued exhibiting at regular conventions. But all of the sudden, all of the regular conventions became "Pop-Culture" conventions in an attempt to bring more people though the door. The net result is that the small press folks seemed to be selling less. At that point Bob decided to bring the "Spirits" show back. He wrote a letter to Dave Sim and asked if he could continue the Columbus Spirits show. Dave answered back and said to go for it but he wouldn't be able to attend because he was concentrating on keeping Cerebus on schedule. Without Dave's involvement, Bob didn't feel that he should continue with the Spirits name so he came up with the Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo or SPACE.

The show hit a rough patch starting out.

In 2001, Bob was putting the second show together kind of going through the motions half expecting it to bomb again when he got a phone call from Dave. Dave had decided to start up the Day Prize and wanted to do it at SPACE. Bob quickly accepted his offer. The Day Prize or more formally The Howard Eugene Day Memorial Award is named in honor of Gene Day, Sim’s mentor during his early years in comics. Entries are submitted by the exhibitors of SPACE with the nominees and winner chosen by Dave Sim and Gerhard. (before his departure from Aadvark-Vaniheim) With Dave's help, attendance improved and things began to smooth out.

Part of the fun of the show is watching exhibitor's work blossom over the years. Some continue on with cartooning. Some move on to gallery work. Some go to work for the 'mainstream' crowd. Some of these include folks like Jim Rugg, Paul Hornschemier, Andy Runton, Alex Robinson, Mike Dawson, Farel Darymple, Esao Andrews, Kevin Huizenga, Nate Powell and John Porcellino.

You never know what you'll find at S.P.A.C.E. A new favorite. An old one. Multiple genres represented. People from the webcomics world. People who just do mini-comics. The show has creators just starting out. As well as creators who have been working on their craft for quite some time. Pro... amateur... the common thread is they're all creating their own thing.

Since 2008, the Day Prize has been merged with the Joe Shuster awards, but in 2009, Bob began the SPACE Prize. A juried festival award given to the best small press comics at the show. Entries are culled from submitted works at the show.