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Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo

The Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo, or SPACE or S.P.A.C.E., is an annual convention in Columbus, Ohio, United States, for alternative comics, minicomics, and webcomics. Bob Corby founded the convention as a gathering place for "the comics and the creators with no distractions."[1] The show is sponsored by Corby's Back Porch Comics, a Columbus small press comics publisher.

Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo
GenreAlternative comics
VenueOhio Expo Center (2000–2006)
Aladdin Shrine Center (2007–2009)
Ramada Plaza Hotel & Conference Center (2010–2014))
Northland Performing Arts Center (2015)
Location(s)Columbus, Ohio
CountryUnited States
Organized byBob Corby/Back Porch Comics

Like most comic book conventions, in addition to exhibitor tables, each show features art exhibits, panel discussions, and workshops.[2][3]



Prior to SPACE, there had been a few small small press-themed conventions in Columbus, including segments of the Mid-Ohio Con (dating from the 1980s) and a stop on Dave Sim's 1995 "Spirits of Independents" tour. In 2000, inspired by Spirits of Independence, and with Sim's blessing, Columbus small press comics publisher Bob Corby staged the first SPACE show at the Rhodes Center in the Ohio Expo Center. 49 small press exhibitors — including Matt Feazell, Carla Speed McNeil, Alex Robinson, and William Messner-Loebs[4] — came from as far as Illinois, North Carolina, and Connecticut.[5]

In 2001, Sim collaborated directly with Corby, and SPACE became the home of the inaugural Day Prize, administered in person by Sim. 65 exhibitors came from as far west as Portland, Oregon, and as far east as New York City. Columbus-based Jeff Smith made a surprise appearance.[6]

From 2001–2008, Sim was a special guest at every SPACE show, often with his long-time collaborator Gerhard. In 2004, Sim was awarded the SPACE Lifetime Achievement Award.

In 2007, with SPACE growing in popularity and exhibitors, the show expanded to two days and moved to the Aladdin Shrine Center. The 2008 show, Sim's last appearance, featured 30 of his original drawings, and over 150 creators and publishers.[3] The 2009 show featured an exhibit of original pages from Carol Tyler's new graphic novel, You’ll Never Know, Book One: A Good and Decent Man.

In 2010, the show expanded once again, moving to the Ramada Plaza Hotel & Conference Center. The 2012 show featured creators like Nate Powell, Carol Tyler, John Porcellino, Tom Scioli, and Eric Adams.

Dates and locationsEdit

Dates Location Special guests Notes
April 15, 2000 Ohio Expo Center, Rhodes Center ...
March 31, 2001 Ohio Expo Center, Rhodes Center Dave Sim first presentation of the Day Prize
April 20, 2002 Ohio Expo Center, Rhodes Center Dave Sim and Gerhard
April 5, 2003 Ohio Expo Center, Rhodes Center Dave Sim and Gerhard
April 3, 2004 Holiday Inn, Columbus East Dave Sim and Gerhard Sim awarded the SPACE Lifetime Achievement Award
April 16, 2005 Holiday Inn, Columbus East[2] Dave Sim and Gerhard
May 13, 2006 Aladdin Shrine Center Dave Sim and Gerhard
April 21–22, 2007 Aladdin Shrine Center Dave Sim Event expands to two days
March 1–2, 2008 Aladdin Shrine Center Dave Sim
April 18–19, 2009 Aladdin Shrine Center
April 24–25, 2010 Ramada Plaza Hotel & Conference Center
March 19–20, 2011 Ramada Plaza Hotel & Conference Center
April 21–22, 2012 Ramada Plaza Hotel & Conference Center
April 13–14, 2013 Ramada Plaza Hotel & Conference Center Graphic novel category added to SPACE Price
April 12–13, 2014 Ramada Plaza Hotel & Conference Center
July 18–19, 2015 Northland Performing Arts Center
April 9–10, 2016 Northland Performing Arts Center

The Day Prize / the SPACE PrizeEdit

In 2001, Dave Sim and his collaborator Gerhard founded the Howard E. Day Prize for outstanding achievement in self-publishing, in tribute to Sim's mentor, Gene Day. Bestowed annually at SPACE from 2002 to 2008[7] the prize consisted of a $500 cash award and a commemorative plaque. The recipient was chosen by Sim and Gerhard from a pool of submitted works.

In 2008, Sim announced he was withdrawing from convention appearances (including SPACE) to concentrate on new work.[8] In addition, Sim announced that, beginning in 2009, the Day Prize was going to be folded into the Joe Shuster Canadian Comic Book Creator Awards.[9] SPACE organizer Bob Corby announced the creation of the SPACE Prize beginning at the 2008 show.[8] Entries for the SPACE Prize are submitted by that year's exhibitors, with a list of finalists selected by Corby. The winner is chosen by a group of judges and SPACE exhibitors.[8]

In 2009, the SPACE Prize expanded to include three categories, General, Minicomic/Short story, and Webcomic.

Day Prize/SPACE Prize WinnersEdit

Day PrizeEdit

  • 2001: Faith: A Fable, by Bill Knapp
  • 2002: Misa, by Tom Williams
  • 2003: Askari Hodari #3, by Glen Brewer
  • 2004: Owly: The Way Home, by Andy Runton
  • 2005: The Lone and Level Sands, by A. David Lewis and mpMann (a.k.a. Marvin Perry Mann)
  • 2006: Chemistry-Comic & CD Soundtrack, by Steve Peters
  • 2007: Mr. Big, by Matt & Carol Dembicki

SPACE PrizeEdit

  • 2008: A Thorn in the Side, by Bill Knapp
  • 2009:
    • General: The Dreamer #1–5, by Lora Innes
    • Minicomic/Short story: Aliens Poop on Your Children, by Chris Garrett
    • Webcomic: Introspective Comics, by Ryan Dow
  • 2010:
    • General: (tie) Cragmore Book One, by Pat N. Lewis; and Mirror Mind, by Tory Woollcott
    • Minicomic/Short story: Board of Superheroes #2, by Matt Feazell
    • Webcomic: Champ 2010, by Jed Collins
  • 2011:
    • General: The Collected Diabetes Funnies, by Colin Upton
    • Minicomic/Short story: Sing, Sing, by Paul Zdepski
    • Webcomic: Spoilers, by Kevin Czapiewski
  • 2012:
    • General: (tie) Kiss & Tell A Romantic Resume Ages 0 to 22, by Mari Naomi; and No One is Safe, by Katherine Wirick
    • Minicomic/Short story: And Then One Day #9, by Ryan Claytor
    • Webcomic: Next Year’s Girl, by Katie Valeska
  • 2013:
    • Graphic Novel: Xoc: The Journey of a Great White, by Matt Dembicki
    • General: Ragged Rider: Tales of a Cowboy Mummy, by Andrew Meyerhoefer
    • Minicomic/Short story: Better Together, by Ryan Claytor
    • Webcomic: Little Guardians, by Lee Cherolis and Ed Cho
  • 2014:
    • Graphic Novel: Persia Blues, written by Dara Naraghi, illustrated by Brent Bowman
    • General: Black of Heart, written by Chris Charlton, illustrated by David Hollenbach
    • Minicomic/Short story: (tie) Birds in a Sluddle, by Pam Bliss; and Blindspot #3, by Joseph Remnant; and Limp Wrist, written by Scout Wolfcave, illustrated by Penina Gal
    • Webcomic: Black Rose, by Aaron Minier, Christopher Atudt, and Brandon Peat

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Corby quoted in "What is S.P.A.C.E.," Official website. Accessed June 10, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Convention to Feature Independent Publications," Columbus Dispatch (April 14, 2005).
  3. ^ a b "Event to include writers, artists," Columbus Dispatch (Feb. 28, 2008).
  4. ^ Zabel, Joe. "SPACE Show — Columbus does Indies," Amazing Montage Magazine (May 2000).
  5. ^ "SPACE 2000," Official website. Accessed June 10, 2012.
  6. ^ "SPACE 2001," Official website. Accessed June 10, 2012.
  7. ^ "SPACE". Retrieved 2011-07-18.
  8. ^ a b c "Bill Knapp Wins SPACE Prize," Cosmo's Corner: The Official SPACE blog (January 11, 2009).
  9. ^ "Gene Day Award for Self-Publishing," Joe Shuster Awards official site. Accessed June 12, 2012.

External linksEdit